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Mount Kannan

Enjoy views from up above, or relax down below

Mount Kannan is the towering centerpiece of Ikazaki, Uchiko, and Ōzu. You can hike to the top to enjoy views of the towns below, or you can enjoy a stroll and a relaxing picnic at the Mt Kannan Furusato no Mori Park. If you’re me, you tackle these activities with your bicycle!

At 710 meters, Mt Kannan's highest peak—also known as Onago Kannan or Female Kannan—may sound daunting to some, but after cycling up its lower slopes I managed to walk the steeper parts in cycling shoes. I also walked because the tarred road eventually turns to rough gravel and that didn’t quite suit my not-quite-mountain bike. It however poses no challenge to an SUV or a Kei truck, as I discovered when some came past just before I arrived at the peak. It turned out that these visitors were paragliders, and Mt Kannan has two cleared spots to launch from. These are also the best places to get clear views of  Ikazaki, Uchiko, and parts of Ōzu.

I estimate that a hike from the base to the peak and back down again would take about six hours. Naturally my descent on wheels was somewhat quicker, albeit a bit bumpy initially. Though I don’t own a mountain bike—or possess legs of steel—I have a strong suspicion that this trail would be mountain biking paradise. Also do note that a number of pathways lead up the mountain from all around it, so it may be possible to plan different ascent and descent routes.

An alternative to challenging the mountain’s highest points would be to visit the Furusato no Mori Park located on its lower slopes. It has ample parking, public bathrooms, and benches convenient for having a picnic. A network of pathways meanders up and down the slope, making this a good setting for enjoying spring blooms or fall foliage colors.

If you're not traveling by car, Uchiko is about 25 minutes south of Matsuyama on the express train bound for Uwajima. You could rent a bicycle from the Uchiko station gift shop. Alternatively, covering the four kilometers from the station on foot should take just under an hour.

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