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Mt. Hakusan Hiking 白山登山

Scale the region’s tallest mountain, considered sacred for over a millennium

Mt. Hakusan is one of Japan's “Three Holy Mountains,” along with Mt. Fuji and Mt. Tateyama. It has been the focus of local esoteric mountain worship for centuries. According to legend, a Buddhist monk named Taicho (682–767) was the first to climb Mt. Hakusan in 717, starting the tradition of climbing the mountain as a pilgrimage.

Today, Mt. Hakusan is a UNESCO Biosphere Reserve, and hikers enjoy a wealth of alpine plants and flowers blooming from mid-July to mid-September, volcanic lakes, virgin beech forests, hot springs, and colorful fall foliage. Mt. Hakusan is still classified as an active volcano, though the last time it erupted was in 1659. Mt. Hakusan's three peaks rise to altitudes of about 2,700 meters, and hikers may encounter snow on the peaks even in summer. Hakusan Okumiya Shrine at the top of Gozengamine, the highest peak, offers views of a sea of clouds and the Japanese Alps.

There are 10 main hiking routes to the top of Mt. Hakusan. The most popular route starts at the Bettodeai trailhead, and the hike to the summit takes around 8–10 hours. There are campgrounds and lodging facilities on the mountain, which must be booked in advance and are often fully reserved on weekends. The Hakusan Murodo Visitor's Center serves as a base for climbing the mountain, with toilets and a drying room for drying wet equipment. Visitor centers on the mountain offer guided walks, nature observation trails, sightseeing telescopes, and hiking information.

Dogs and other pets are not allowed on the mountain, and it is suggested to wear bear bells and make noise if you are hiking alone. Hiking season is from July to October, and the trails become especially crowded with hikers between July and mid-August.

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