Fall is perhaps the best time to climb Mt. Ontake. The hillsides begin to turn a dazzling array of colors, and the weather tends to be stable. Clear skies offer other-worldly views of the North, Central, and South Japanese Alps, as well as Mt. Fuji, Yatsu-ga-dake and beyond.
Staying in a mountain hut at the summit is an extra treat. The cost is reasonable (about 9,000 yen with dinner and breakfast included) and the accomodations nicer than one might think. Step outside on a clear night and it looks as if you could run your fingers through the Milky Way. The lights of Nagoya are also visible at night and seem close enough to step into.
The mountain huts are beginning to shut down for the season and the snows will be coming soon, so come while you still have the chance. The long weekend (October 10-12) may be the best opportunity to climb before the snows come.
When we truly enter the mountains,
birds, bugs, beasts and blossoms
radiate supernatural excellence
and take great delight in our presence.
Buses to Ta-no-hara 田の原 (where the Otaki route begins) run from Kisofukushima station 木曽福島駅. The cost is 1,500 yen one way. Extra days have been added for the fall. Find the complete schedule here.
Web page and phone number for the mountain hut at the summit of Mt. Ontake (ken-ga-mine 剣ヶ峰) here.