By Nicole Bauer
Staying in a place like the Kurodake Ishimuro Mountain Hut is absolutely an unforgettable experience. Watching the sunset over the stunning landscapes of Daisetsuzan National Park is wonderful. After dark countless stars shine over the deep dark blue of the night. The Milky Way crosses the sky leaving you speechless with its beauty. The connection with nature is very strong and the feeling of inner peace will leave you with a gentle smile on your face.
Daisetsuzan is the largest national park in Japan. The trail network is well developed and extensive with the hiking season being from June to September. With its variety of trails, you can easily hike in the park for one week. Multi-day trips are actually a great way to explore the place so staying overnight without having to go back down is an excellent option.
The refuge is barely ten minutes away from the summit of Mount Kurodake. Located in a broad highland, it's a great base for many awesome walks that starts nearby. The building itself is very basic. It has rocky walls and a metal covered wooden roof. The dormitory has wide wooden bunk beds without mattresses so bring a foldable one if you need. From the small windows you can even see the starry sky at night. The reception room is very small but it boasts a very warm and welcoming atmosphere. Here you'll find the check in counter, you will find some books and a table where you can relax or have dinner if the weather is bad outside.
Outside a couple of tables and benches will be your "dining room with a view". It's undoubtedly the perfect place where to read, eat or just have a chat while enjoying the incredible view on the surrounding mountains. The best way to cook is to bring your own kitchen tools (gas burner, pots and cutlery) as they don’t have any. There is free rainwater being collected in a huge bucket but you will need to filter or boil it. In any case, if you need, they actually sell some easy food like cup-ramen and snacks and even cold beers and soft drinks.
The rate for one night is ¥2000, including a blanket and the toilet fee. The toilet is also a funny experience. Recently built, it's a wood chips composting toilet; if you are guessing, it doesn't smell bad at all. After you have done your business, you'll have to ride a bike powered machine to activate the mixing system that will ease the composting cycle.
Spending a night in such a wonderful place will undoubtedly change your way to view the mountains.
The easiest way to reach the hut is to get the ropeway and chairlift from Sounkyo Onsen and then walk up to the top of Kurodake Mountain (about 1 hour). The refuge is another 10 minutes away from the summit.
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Born on a cold day in December 1984, I am a computer engineer in Verona. I love martial arts, travel, Japan, food and of course photography. Photography is not only looking for beautiful pictures, it's more, much more; It means keeping memories, details, and moments that will inevitably become more and more blurred in our memory; it means waking up when everyone is sleeping; getting excited at the frost or under a thunderstorm when everyone is running away; learning to wait and knowing the surrounding environment; looking for new places and exploring forgotten ones, it means being able to see and enjoy what is surrounding us learning to observe with different eyes.