Photo: Kenjiro Egashira

Odai-ga-hara Hiking Trail

Virgin forest, wild animals and ocean view

By Paul Hackshaw    - 2 min read

Odai-ga-hara is a plateau-shaped mountain located on the border of Nara and Mie Prefectures. There you will find one of the most famous hiking routes in Japan.

Due to its high precipitation - 5,000 mm of rainfall a year - hikers can expect to see mossy forests. There is also beech forest and the best example of virgin forest that Japan has to offer. This is very different from the ubiquitous sugi (cedar) that can be seen all over Japan.

Because of its generally remote location the Odai-ga-hara-Osugi area has escaped much of the destruction seen in other parts of Japan. Limited logging and damming has taken place here so you can enjoy the area in its most natural and pristine state.

Known as the “roof” of the Kinki Region, Odai-ga-hara is 1,300 meters to 1,600 meters above sea level.

There are many wild animals, such as Japanese deer, wild boar and foxes, that can be seen there.

There are in fact two parts to the Odai-ga-hara hiking trail: "east" Odai and "west" Odai. Each trail extends for about 9 km. Access has been restricted on the western side in order to protect the natural resources in the area.

The Odai-ga-hara plateau extends 4 km from east to west and 2 to 3 km north to south. On a clear day it is possible to see the Kumano Nada (Kumano Sea) from the plateau.

It is a good idea to wear warm clothes as well as to bring a parka or a raincoat when visiting there, as the weather is very changeable.

Due to heavy rainfall and the heavy foot traffic from the large number of tourists visiting the area, erosion of the walking trails is always a problem. Hikers are advised to take extreme care when traversing the paths. Good footwear is a must. Common sense should prevail when walking along these mountain trails as help can be a long way away if disaster strikes.

Please note also that all warning signs are in Japanese.

At Odai-ga-hara there is a small research center as well as a lodge where it is possible to stay overnight.

The following is a suggested route of the "east" Odai-ga-hara walking trail: Car park-->Hide-ga-dake-->Masaki-ga-hara-->Owase-tsuji-->Ushiishi-ga-hara--> Daija-gura--> car park.

This course takes about 4 hours to complete and it covers about 9 km.

Getting there

To get to Odai-ga-hara requires you get to Yamato-kami-ichi Station on the Kintetsu Yoshino Line. From there it is a two hours bus ride to Odai-ga-hara. There are only two buses per day, so you need to get there early to meet up with the bus. Buses only run during the hiking season from April until November after which you need your own transport to reach the beginning of the trail.

Was this article helpful?

Suggest an edit

0
0
Paul Hackshaw

Paul Hackshaw @paul.hackshaw

I'm 49 years young and come from Auckland, New Zealand. I have now lived in Japan about 25 years, almost the entire time has been spent in the Kansai area. I originally lived in Takamatsu, Kagawa prefecture in 1987 and then moved to Osaka. Spending a few years in Osaka and when I married I moved to South Kyoto/Nara. I have been teaching English at several universities for a few years and since 2007 have been living in Nara. I realised after living here a while that I didn't really know much about the area I have been living in. My usual routine was to go in a straight line between home and work, and a beer on the way home. I have found some great little drinking spots and bars in my travels. Getting involved with Japan Tourist it has offered me the opportunity to go out and explore my neigborhood and to share my adventures as someone who has made Japan my home for 25 years. I hope that through Japan Tourist people will come to see the real Japan and learn a little more about the Nara I have come to know that you won't really learn about in guide books.

Leave a comment