Akita is a mountainous prefecture in the north of Japan, offering lots of opportunities for outdoor activities in every season. The highest mountain in Akita is Mount Akita-Komagatake, part of the sprawling Towada Hachimantai National Park which straddles the border between Akita, Aomori and Iwate.
Between June and October, to access the trailhead you must take a bus to the eighth station, at 1305 metres. An easy hiking trail leads you through eerie moonlike scenery and past the volcanic Amida Pond. Climb the wooden steps to the summit, and on a clear day you’ll be rewarded with stunning panoramas of the surrounding mountains and Lake Tazawa, the deepest lake in Japan.
The hike from the bus station to the summit and back can be done in just a couple of hours, with the option to join onto other trails.
From June to August, the mountain is covered in beautiful alpine flowers. It is arguably in late autumn, however, that the scenery is at its most breathtaking. The walking trail rises above the tree line, offering spectacular views of colourful foliage blanketing the lower slopes.
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I spent three years living in Japan as an Assistant Language Teacher on the JET Programme, not knowing what to expect but with images of Tokyo, geisha and Mount Fuji in my mind. I was placed in Yamagata prefecture in a small rural town that I couldn't find in any guidebook. I learnt to snowboard, climbed mountains, tried my hand at ikebana and kyuudo and koto, dressed up as a samurai, karaoked til the early hours, become obsessed with onsen, and had countless other adventures and experiences. For a relatively small country, Japan has so much to offer, and I love nothing better than exploring - particularly heading off the beaten track and into the beautiful countryside. I set myself a personal challenge to visit each of the 47 prefectures, which gave me a great excuse to do a lot of travelling. Although I've now ticked them all off, there's still so much I want to see. Japan will always be my second home and and I'm looking forward to discovering and learning more for a long time to come.