Main content starts here.

A great part of the Kiyosato highlands is its vast amount of trekking courses that one can choose from, all of which provide a great opportunity to bathe in the immense beauty of Kiyosato’s nature.

Within that group of trekking courses, one with few ups and downs and even the most inexperienced trekkers can enjoy is the 2.5hr one way trek from Utsukushi to the Yamanashi Prefectural ranch at Yatsugatake. Today we challenged that course and we hope we can inspire you to do the same!

kiyosato trekking 201907-07
▲ Today we went together with the Trekking Guide Mr. Nakamura from the Yatsugatake Outdoor Activities Office.
kiyosato trekking 201907-01
▲ This is the Utsukushi Tourism Information Center. Here you can park your car’s and buy souvenirs after your trip. This is also the starting point for the course.

kiyosato trekking 201907-02
▲ Located behind the Tourism Information Center is a wooden step of stairs that guides you on your path to the Utsukushi Observation Deck.

kiyosato trekking 201907-20

▲Following this path in June one can see the blooming of hundreds of beautiful Japanese azaleas. In fact, this area is actually famous for them!

kiyosato trekking 201907-04

kiyosato trekking 201907-06
▲ If you turn around briefly right before reaching the observation desk, you’ll be able to see this beautiful view! It’s almost like a sea of trees. 
kiyosato trekking 201907-05 kiyosato trekking 201907-08
▲ After climbing up from the Tourist information center for about 15 minutes, you can reach the Utsukushi Observation desk. There are also many souvenirs you can buy here as well as the area’s “Highlands Ice Cream” so don’t forget to give it a try!

kiyosato trekking 201907-09
▲ Here is an information board written about the origin of Utsukushi Forest.
It is said that long ago the God’s from all across Japan gathered once a year to decide how they were going to rule the land for the next year. The name of the place they gathered was Itsuki-no-mori (The Itsuki Grove), and the name Utsukushi Forest (Utsukushi-no-mori) is said to be the result of mispronouncing the name after all those years! When we read this, we couldn’t help but think that this area really does seem to have something divine about it. 

 kiyosato trekking 201907-11
▲ Next stop is Hagoromo Pond. From here on out we begin some real mountain climbing!
kiyosato trekking 201907-10
▲ The slightly long hike up continues.

kiyosato trekking 201907-12
▲ Arrival at Hagoromo Pond.
This is where after the gods met at Utsukushi Forest, they had female servants who lived in Tenyouyama dance for them. Before they performed their dances, the female servants washed and purified their clothing in the water of Hagoromo Pond.

kiyosato trekking 201907-13
▲ Unlike the past, now most of the water has dried up from the pond and it’s become a marshland.

kiyosato trekking 201907-14
▲ Proceeding a little further in, you can see the lots of Kumazasa bamboo grass that’s growing in the area. 
kiyosato trekking 201907-15

▲ Guide Mr.Nakamura even explained to us why it’s called Kumazasa. I always thought it was called Kumazasa because it was often eaten by bears (Kuma), however the actual reason is quite different. The leaves of Kumazasa look similar to the unique type of makeup warn in Kabuki plays, called Kumadori and so they took the name from there.

kiyosato trekking 201907-16

▲ This area has many Japanese larch trees which is said to be the only deciduous tree in Japan. The green leaves are already quite beautiful but when they turn colors in the fall they are said to be even more breathtaking!

kiyosato trekking 201907-17 
▲There are red flowers blooming in the forest. This flower is called a Japanese primrose (Kurinsou). Kurin which is the word for spires at the top of Japans famous pagodas and the word sou meaning grass were combined to create the name Kurinsou.

kiyosato trekking 201907-18
▲This part of the trail had become a small river. The amount of rain over the last few days has changed the topography slightly. Ah the wonders of nature!

kiyosato trekking 201907-19 
▲Here you can see a small waterfall. It is apparently a part of the Kawamata River.
kiyosato trekking 201907-21 
▲ The water flowing down from the water was very clean and clear. Running our hands through it felt wonderful!
kiyosato trekking 201907-22 
▲ When crossing the river, we skillfully walked over the rocks and made sure not to slip and fall.
kiyosato trekking 201907-23 
▲ About a 20 minute walk past the small waterfall, the scenery really starts to open up. We have arrived at the Yamanashi Prefectural ranch at Yatsugatake. 

kiyosato trekking 201907-24 
▲ On clear and sunny days you can see a wonderful view of Mt.Fuji from here.

kiyosato trekking 201907-25 kiyosato trekking 201907-26
▲ This tree is called Yamanashi in Japanese. In the spring it sprouts white flowers. It’s an image you’ll even see on posters made by the Yamanashi Prefectural government!

kiyosato trekking 201907-27 
▲ While walking across the ranch and looking at the cows we finally reached our goal!

From the picturesque scenery of the Utsukushi forest, to the Yatsugatake ranch this through this trekking course we were really able to feel and understand the beauty of Kiyosato.
Other than the first slope there were few ups and downs so it’s definitely a course we recommend to beginners. And there are so many unique things about the course that you can’t understand unless you actually take the trek so it’s all the more worth it. It was truly an experience where using all five senses we could take it the true beauty and wonder that is Kiyosato.
Another thing we definitely recommend is traveling with a guide of you are a beginner. Trekking along the trail while listening to the guides expiations really help deepen your knowledge of the area.
For more information on trekking guides, please contact the Yatsugatake Outdoor Activities Office!

Yatsugatake Outdoor Activities Office

3545 Takanechō Kiyosato, Hokuto, Yamanashi Moegi-no-Mura 407-0301
HOURS/8:30~16:30 CLOSED/WED・THRU (July-Sept no days off)
※CALLING HOURS 8:30〜16:30 External link )

Utsukushi Forest Travel Information Center

Address:8240-1 Ōizumichō Nishiide Hokuto, Yamanashi 407-0311
ACCESS:JR Koume line 10 mins by Taxi from Kiyosato Sta.
     JR Koume line 7 mins by bus from Kiyosato Sta.
( External link )

 Parking Lot:Regular-sized Cars Capacity:50, large sized buses also allowed
HOURS:9:00 - 17:00

Published on

  • August 23, 2019


Home > Staff Journal > Trekking through the nature of Kiyosato