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  4. Summit Day Trip: Azaleas, Shrines, Light Hiking

Summit Day Trip: Azaleas, Shrines, Light Hiking

Jun 8, 2018 [Report]

Today we made another trip to Mt. Akagi in Meabashi City, Gunma Prefecture.
We talked about the “1,000 Cherry Blossom Trees” before, but there are a lot of other things to enjoy on Mt. Akagi, including excellent hiking courses, the beautiful Akagi Shrine, and the 2 lakes, Konuma and Onuma. And just look at
the breathtaking view from Jizodake Peak!

Our day started with a bus ride from Maebashi Station. If you catch a bullet train (or shinkansen) from Tokyo it’s only about an hour to Takasaki City, which is just a few stops away from Maebashi.
Once we got to the station we had to find bus stop #6, which is on the north side of Maebashi Station. The first bus we took went to Fujimi, where we got on another bus that departed for Mt. Akagi just a few minutes later. There is also a less frequent line that takes you directly to the Mt. Akagi Tourism Center.

Catching the bus is a cinch. Just hop on and grab a ticket from this machine. It serves as proof of the station you got on at. When you get off, all you have to do it go to the front of the bus and drop your ticket and money into the box located next to the driver.

We got off at the Shinzakadaira bus stop, located in front of the Mt. Akagi Tourism Center. From early June you can see the beautiful red hues of azaleas adding to the early-summer atmosphere. Since the flowers were so gorgeous, we
decided to take the Azalea Tour (Tsutsuji Tour, in Japanese).

The tour takes you through a special area that is normally completely off limits to the public, so it’s a rare treat, even to the locals. The light 2-hour hike was the perfect way to take in the natural beauty of Gunma and Mt. Akagi, known for its long, sweeping slopes.

The tour is roughly 2 hours of hiking, but with a 15-minute break in the middle, it’s a light hike that allows you to go at your own pace and really take in the various views afforded by the slopes of Akagi.

After the tour, the group is treated to a light pasta lunch to recharge before finishing. The “Trekker’s Café” was a quaint little restaurant and the perfect place to take a short break.

In the afternoon we decided to drop by Akagi Shrine, just a short walk or a couple minutes’ drive from Trekker’s Café. In fact, you can see the iconic red bridge from the café!

After Akagi Shrine, we took a short drive to Haccho Pass. There is a small
parking area for those who want to climb up to Jizodake Peak.

The peak is only 0.6 kilometers (or a third of a mile) and though it’s a little steep,the hike only takes about 30 minutes. Most of the path is paved with wooden steps and/or planks, making the hike even easier. I definitely recommend this hiking path! Even if you aren’t in the best shape, the view from the top is gorgeous, and well worth the climb.

Since Jizodake is located right between the two lakes, Onuma and Konuma, you get an amazing view of both from the top!

We had an amazing time today on Mt. Akagi in Gunma Prefecture, Japan! If you’re thinking of visiting Gunma in the summer, or you live here and haven’t checked out Mt. Akagi, I definitely recommend it! Taking the Azalea Tour in the morning, stopping off at the shrine for some pictures after lunch, then stretching your legs with a light hike to Jizodake makes for the perfect day on Akagi.