One of western Japan's best-kept secrets, awe-inspiring Mt. Daisen evokes comparisons with Mt. Fuji. With far fewer visitors, and pristine forests supporting a rich environment, the mountain provides fantastic hiking throughout the year, and some of the best skiing on the west coast in the winter.
Mt. Daisen is accessible by bus from Yonago Station.
Local buses operate around 5 times a day between Yonago Station and Mt. Daisen. A loop bus runs from Yonago Station to Daisen's main tourism spots during peak season, weekends and holidays.
The mountain has an elevation of 1709 meters
Its name means “Great Mountain”
Considered one of Japan's top three peaks
In a survey conducted by NHK, the national public broadcasting organization, Mt. Daisen ranked third in its “Japan's Greatest Summits' rankings, behind Mt. Fuji and Mt. Yari.
However, with far fewer visitors than Mt Fuji, rich history and vegetation stretching to its peak, this ‘mini-Fuji' Mt. Daisen is, for many visitors, a more rewarding and personally enriching trip.
The mountain is crisscrossed by a network of hiking trails that vary greatly in length, and technicality. You can find basic maps and instructions at the Daisen Information Center for the most popular and easily navigated courses.
Local guides are highly recommended for the more adventurous and remote courses. Daisen's highest peak has become unstable following earthquakes in recent years and access to it is dangerous and thus forbidden.
The Natsuyama hiking course is a good choice for a first climb of the mountain. Head across the Daisen-ji Bridge (next to the Montbell store), then follow the road around as it curves around to the left. The Natusyama Climbing Course will be on your left and starts up a short path and then some steep stone stones past a temple.
The course continues through beech forest and patches of yew until you reach the tree line. From here continue up steep rocky paths until you reach a series of boardwalks which take you to Misen Peak. From here, enjoy views of the Sea of Japan and Miho Bay to the north and the peaks of the Chugoku mountain range to the south.
The journey down can be customized, a loop route leading across a beautiful stony river plain, through the woods to Ogamiyama Shrine, and down a cobbled and ancient road to Daisen-ji Temple.
Allow around 3-5 hours for the return journey, with extra time needed for the loop route.
Mt. Daisen is Western Japan's number one ski destination and a popular playground for locals and Osaka's cool kids alike. The spectacular views across the ocean, several miles of manicured slopes and abundance of powdery snow make Daisen a winter wonderland.
Based around the Daisen White Resort, the mountain has everything from black diamond ski runs to small practice slopes. In recent years, a number of companies have begun offering snowshoeing tours through the forest and along ridges. For more information call in at the information center.
Mt. Daisen, or “Great Mountain,” has been worshipped for millennia. Formerly known as Ogamiyama, or “Mountain of the Great God”, the god in question is Kagutsuchi-no-mikoto, the god of fire.
The holy mountain was an important training site for mountain ascetics and public access was strictly prohibited until the late 19th century. As a result, the beech forests were able to flourish. These forests act as an important filter for the mountain's famous water supply which is bottled and sold all over Japan.