About Mount Kurikoma
Mount Kurikoma-栗駒山(kurikomayama) also known as The Carpet of God is one of the 100 famous mountains in Japan. Mount Kurikoma located in the Tohoku region with an elevation of 1626 meter. This mountain is center on the border between Miyagi, Iwate, and Akita prefectures. Every year in peak season thousands of people come to hike. When spring season is famous for the beeches, summer are alpine plant and yellow-red leaves in autumn. The best time is in autumn season between mid-September-mid-October. In this season people come hike to see the red leaves.
How to get there
From Tokyo by the Shinkansen train about 2 hours to the Kurikoma-kogen Station (くりこま高原駅). Then continue by car 60 minutes. Otherwise, you can take a taxi for 12000-15000 yen all the way to Iwakagamidaira (いわかがみ平). At the end of September to mid-October there is a special bus managed by Miyako Bus. The fare is around 1600 yen one way. For more details please click here Miyako Bus.
From Tokyo by the Shinkansen train about 2 hours to Ichinoseki station (一ノ関駅). Take a taxi about 1 hour more fares 12000-15000. Or you can take a bus to Sukawa Hot Spring (須川高原温泉) about 90 minutes fare 1500 yen one way. For bus schedule please see here Iwateken Kotsu Bus.
From Sendai by the Shinkansen train about 30 minutes to the Kurikoma-kogen Station or Ichinoseki Station. Because I live in Sendai, I take the train (densha) Tohoku line from Sendai Station to Ichinoseki Station about 50 minutes and then continue by the bus to Sukawa Hot Spring.
Mount Kurikoma hiking trail course
There are 9 hiking trails with different levels of difficulty. The populer hikimg trail are:
- East Kurikoma Course (Higashi Kurikoma Course-東栗駒コース) 4km about 2,5 hours. East Kurikoma Course start from Iwakagamidaira which is recomended for beginner and intermediate.
- Sukawa Course (須川コース) 4 km about 2 hours. Sukawa Course start from Sukawa Kogen Onsen (須川高原温泉). It recommend for beginner and families.
Note*: Part of the Sukawa Course is currently closed, but there is a detour that will still take you to the summit through Ubunuma (産沼)
There are also hikers going up from the East Kurikoma Course and down to the Sukawa Course. I recommend it because hikers can enjoy the hot spring (onsen) at Sukawa Kogen Onsen.
What can you bring
Because this is a type of mountain that is not too high, it can be done daily hike. You can bring lunch and one bottle of drink is enough to reach the summit. Make sure the weather when climbing, if it will rain prepare a raincoat. if it’s windy, prepare a windbreaker jacket. Hikers come to enjoy the view of the autumn leaves, so I suggest bringing any camera, be it a cellphone, DSLR, or pocket camera. Use light shoes because it will make it easier for us to pass through the ups and downs. Also I recommend to use trekking pole to enjoy the hike.
Mount Kurikoma floral species
There are many floral species in Mount Kurikoma. in May-June are Heloniopsis orientalis, loxalis acetosella, Giaucidium palmatum, In June-July are Primula nipponica, Cotton grass, Adenophora azalea, Schizocodon soldanelloides, Kalmia procumbens, Bugbane, Dactylorhiza, Diapensia lapponica, In July-Agustus are Viola brevistipulata, Cassiope lycopodioides, Fauria crista-galli, Menyanthes trifoliata, Spiraea betulifolia, sanguisorba albiflora, Narthecium Asiaticum, Parnassia palustris.
My experience hike Mount Kurikoma
In the end, I had the chance to hike Mount Kurikoma on 19th September 2021. I hike via Sukawa Course. I arrived at Ichinoseki Station at 08.30 am and waited for the bus that left at 09.00 am to go to Sukawa Kogen Onsen. Then got there at 11.00 am as per the bus schedule for 90 minutes. Before hiking I checked my supplies and luggage again and prayed for smoothness and ease during the hike.
11.30 am I start to hike. At the beginning of the trail is a staircase with a stream of hot springs beside it. Then pass the incline with trees on the left and right. After that the track starts to climb a bit. After walking for almost 20 minutes arrived at Nagorigahara Swamp (なごりがはら沼). Here is a horizontal ramp with the savanna on the left and right. Resumed walking, I then crossed a small river. This section is dominated by slightly uphill and slightly sloping tracks.
20 minutes walk I arrived at Ubunuma. Here I take a short break for a drink because I was a bit tired at that time. While looking at the map I got at the Sukawa Kogen Onsen Tourist Information Center, I started walking again. In this part I enjoy the uphill track with views of red leaves along the way. After almost walking for more than two hours finally arrived at the top of Mount Kurikoma. Reach the top 01.40 pm. I rest for a while and then go down again to Sukawa Kogen Onsen because the bus I will be taking leaves at 04.30 pm.
According to my plan, I got off at 02.15 pm and arrived at Sukawa Kogen Onsen at 04.00 pm. After that wait for the bus and finally go home. Thanks for reading hope it helps. Enjoy Mount Kurikoma.