If you’re staying in the Hida area for a couple of days, a hike up to the top of Mount Anbou is well recommended. Suitable for hikers of all levels, the summit can be reached in about 1–1.5 hours and is a fairly leisurely climb, with plenty of nature to admire along the way.
The trailhead is a short 10-min walk from the car park here (Google Maps) — just follow the road past the cemetery and through the gate, continuing along the forested path.
You’ll soon reach the trailhead entrance – indicated by a turn off the road, flanked by a black monolith and illustrative route map. From here the hike begins proper, with a gentle climb through the forest undergrowth shielded by the canopy.
After twenty mins or so, the dense forest will start to open up to reveal glimpses of Hida and its rolling landscape over your shoulder.
Along the way, look out for cherry blossom if here in late March/April, or the yellow flowers of the fragrant Japanese spicebush (Lindera obtusiloba, or ‘kuromoji’ locally) — the latter used to flavor the organic tea over FabCafe Hida.
Once you reach the top, it’s time for a well-deserved break. But before you have a chance to rest your feet under the perfectly placed azumaya-style gazebo, you’ll probably be marching out onto the observation deck to soak in the panoramic view.
You did it — and you’ve earnt this. Take a moment to admire the sprawling landscape of Hida from above, with the already-picturesque Hida Furukawa now even more so thanks to a backdrop of snow-capped Hakusan mountain peaks.
Try spotting the distinctive silhouettes of the riverside Honkoji- or Shinshuji Temples to get your bearings, or walk over to the clearing on the eastern side to admire views of the Northern Alps.
Make the most of your time at the top with a fresh cup of coffee—go local with a blend pack from Asunaro—or tea. If the idea of a portable gas burner sounds impractical, a thermos will of course do. On this trip, we brought extra fuel too in the name of Tempura Manju, a delectable delight from local shop confectioner, Shinmeiya (just a few minutes walk from Hida-Furukawa Station). It hit the spot and helped us get ready for the journey back down.
The descent will take about 30 minutes and is as predictably gentle as the way up was. Whie you don’t need any specialist hiking equipment for Mount Anbou, trekking poles will give you extra stability on the way down.
And finally: Mount Anbou is also known for its asagiri (morning fog) phenomenon — consider trekking up here early in the autumn months to get a glimpse of the surrounding mountains, from Ontake to the Northern Alps, enveloped in white fog as far as the eye can see. If the temperature of a morning autumnal hike, know that it’s actually possible to drive up here via a turn off on Route 75. If time is truly of the essence, or the weather is touch and go, it can be a good alternative to the hike, especially for those already travelling by car. For everyone else, it’s ok, we won’t judge you.
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