鏡台山の頂上からの眺めがこんなに綺麗だったんだ! The View From Kyoudai-san's Summit Was This Outstanding!

2011.06.06: 信州の山 Nagano’s Mountains

Our 2 sons and friend Rintaro at Kyoudai-san's summit

戸倉上山田温泉の周辺の山の一つ、鏡台山を登ってみました。姨捨の「田毎の月」の伝説に出てくる山: 満月が鏡台山の上から出てくれば、姨捨の棚田に田んぼ毎に映る。姨捨から鏡台山は何百回見ていますが、今日は初めて姨捨山を鏡台山から見ました。







One of the mountains that overlooks Togura Kamiyamada is Kyoudai-san. A 'kyoudai' is a traditional Japanese interior furnishing. It's basically a low vanity table with a mirror attached. Most of our guest rooms here at Kamesei Ryokan have one and our female guests often sit in front of it, lay out their cosmetics on the top, and apply their makeup using the mirror. So, why a mountain named after a piece of furniture? It is a reference to the Obasute 'tagoto no tsuki' legend about the moon reflecting in the individual rice paddies. When the moon raises over Kyoudai-san mountain, it is in the perfect position and angle to reflect in Obasute terraced rice fields.

Anyways, I've seen Kyoudai-san from Obasute hundreds of times, but today I hiked up Kyoudai-san and saw Obasute from the summit for the first time. Our sons were off from school, so I piled them in the car and headed over to the trailhead. The road had a barrier blocking it with a sign about being washed out. But other cars had apparently been travelling on it, so we gave it a go. There were rocks and debris in places washed down over the road by the recent rain, but using a bit of caution it was all passable.

The sign at the trailhead says 120 minutes to the top. Even with stopping liberally for breaks and a 3rd grader in tow, we made it in just 1-1/2 hours. The first 10 minutes climbs up a slope through a pine tree forest, then you follow a forest road for the next 10 minutes. The rest is back to a true hiking path, and goes through more pine forests, 'sasa' bamboo grass groves, passing birch trees and wild azaleas -- a real variety of terrain and flora.

You reach the north peak first, where there is a sign saying the local schools used to use the opening there for athletic competitions (seems like a long haul to go just to play tug-of-war), and there was an elephant-shaped bell (don't ask). From there, you push on another 10 minutes and finally reach the main peak with its outstanding view of the Chikuma River valley down below. There is a bell there, too, and I rang it as hard as I could. But since it's at the top of a mountain, I doubt anyone below could hear.

To be honest, I had an ulterior motive for climbing Kyoudai-san. This week, a hiking / climbing map of Togura Kamiyada Onsen and Chikuma City that I've been working on will be released. Kyoudai-san is one of the mountains featured, and I wanted to hike it once with my own feet. After doing so, I am confident that locals and visitors alike will be able to use the map and enjoy the hike.

One last comment -- after reaching the car and starting to drive back down, there is a natural spring. We stopped for a drink and to splash water on our faces and heads. Instant chill satisfaction! I highly recommend it!

The main peak

View from the peak

Andy filling out the book

north peak

wild azaleas


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