- 3 min read


The original Brokeback Mountain in Matsuyama

Koshi-ore-yama is a humpbacked mountain that stands on the northern boundary of Matsuyama City, long after the city has become countryside. Next to it is another peak, Eryo-san with its distinctive shark’s fin shape. These two mountains and a third, smaller peak make a highly recognizable landmark, visible from many parts of Matsuyama. The adventurous will want to climb one or all of them. Koshi-ore is the easier, so for the less adventurous, this is the one for you. It’s only 214 m high. There’s a story behind Koshi-ore-yama – Brokeback Mountain in English. The story goes that the mountain was competing with the much larger Ishizuchi-san to be the tallest mountain in Shikoku. Ishizuchi-san won, knocking down Koshi-ore-yama which fell in pieces, one part of which fell into the sea to form the island of Kashima which lies just off the coast across a short strip of water.

The path is accessed from the road that runs between the lower peaks. Two signs posted by the Matsuyama Board of Education offer information about the somewhat rare flora on the hill. Unlike its near neighbor Eryo-san which is heavily wooded all the way up, Koshi-ore has a long bare slope that affords amazing vertiginous views to the farmland below, and to the far distance over the Seto Inland Sea. From here you can clearly see Kashima off Hojo, and Gogoshima near Takahama in Matsuyama. To the southeast is Mt. Takanawa, a mountain that’s better appreciated from afar (it’s an unrewarding slog to the top, and the views aren’t nearly so good as from Koshi-ore or Eryo-san).

Beyond this slope, the track passes through mixed forest and sasa bamboo grass. Along this part, you can enjoy birdsong at any time of year. As I stood catching my breath, a little green bird with a white ring around its eyes, a mejiro, flitted from stem to stem a few feet away. You’re also sure to hear the ‘song’ of the ubiquitous crows who are always flapping around between these hills.

A few cautions are in order. People with vertigo won’t much enjoy the bald part of the hill. The steep path can be slippery with fallen leaves. There’s also a tree that grows prickles like nails, which seems to favor those corners of footpaths where walkers are likely to slip. Grab hold of one of the savagely prickled stems by accident and you’ll be a very unhappy person for days. I can tell you this for a fact because I did it myself – once. There are paths leading to the cliffs – don’t go down them too far. Wear appropriate clothing and footwear, and take something to drink. If you have them, binoculars and a telephoto lens are nice.

Koshi-ore-yama is within walking distance of the nearest station, Oura. You can be up and down the mountain itself in about an hour.

Was this article helpful?
Help us improve the site
Give Feedback

Leave a comment

Thank you for your support!

Your feedback has been sent.