July 3-5th Fri-Sun: Tadami Blessed Forest (恵みの森,会津,福島県), Onsen, Sunday Hike


July 3-5th Fri-Sun: Tadami Blessed Forest (恵みの森,会津,福島県), Onsen, Sunday Hike

Post by Adam »


We are going with plan B in Tadami, Forest of Grace loop and Sunday hike up Asakusadake, hidden lakes, or hidden waterfall

1) Adam
2) Kushal
3) Asuka
4) Aki

cancelled: Ian, Justin

**No more space available. I hope to see you on our next grand adventure.

Title & Date

July 3-5th Fri-Sun: Nagano Super Volcano, Free-flowing Hot Spring, Sapphire Swimming Pools & Campground


Friday I will rent a vehicle and drive us (3-4 hours from Takao Station) to the base of Ontake (Nagano Super Volcano) and pitch tent(s) in parking lot near trailhead.

Saturday morning alpine start (up at dawn, walking by sun up), reach summit (+3000m) and return to car (7 to 9 hours map time), visit free-flowing onsen, drive to Sapphire Pools and Campground, mini celebration.

Sunday, explore pools, easy walking, swimming, diving (I have researched two areas), secret onsen, restaurant, on the road by 3PM, Takao Station by 8pm.

1. Ontake-san 御嶽山 (3067m)
Second highest volcano in Japan after Mount Fuji. Dramatically erupted in 2014, tragically killed about 60 hikers. There are currently no warnings applied to Ontake. It is not technical, and is considered to be OK for beginners with good fitness. At the top there is a big crater, fumaroles, and a blue alpine lake. Hikers often wear a helmets in the event of another unforeseen eruption. Regulations on hiking activity around the summit are being relaxed from July 1.


2. Nijikawa onsen (recently reopened)
At west trailhead is an outdoor onsen with 源泉かけ流し (Gensen Kakenagashi), or Free-flowing Spring.


3. Sapphire Swimming Pools
Less than 2 hours drive from the onsen, in the direction of Tokyo, is an area with many sapphire swimming pools and pots that are great for swimming and jumping. Even if it's not hot, the pools are still easy to access and beautiful to look at. I have already made a reservation for one campsite along the Sapphire road in the Atera Valley.


Course Options

We have two options to climb Ontake. Both have their advantages. Let's decide as a group on which option to take.

<Red Course>

Fitness Grade 7 - Severe
9:05 map time, 13.3km, 1300m altitude climb
Technical 2 EASY - Beginner
no ropes, or caution symbols

Advantages of Red Course:
+ overall better views of Ontake
+ view of blue alpine lake
+ open air, free-flowing onsen at trailhead, special

Disadvantages of Red Course:
- might feel rushed, it's a lot of action time
- requires more time walking (not necessarily a disadvantage), red course = 9:05, blue course = 6:45
- requires more driving time, adds 1 hour more total in the car (30 min on Friday, and 30 min on Saturday)
- no toilet at trailhead/camp 1

Red course trailhead location: https://www.google.com/maps/place/%E5%B ... 37.4505553

<Blue Course>

Fitness Grade 5 - Hard
6:45 walking time, 9km, 1200m altitude climb
Technical 2 EASY - Beginner
no ropes, or caution symbols

Advantages of Blue Course:
+ more relaxed pace
+ toilet at trailhead/camp 1

Disadvantages of Blue Course:
- no view of blue alpine lake or rugged side of mountain
- no onsen at trailhead, but, we may find another elsewhere

Blue Course trailhead location: https://www.google.com/maps/place/%E5%B ... 7.4505553


Event Grade (イベント等級)

Red course is fitness 7 - Severe
Blue course is Fitness 5 - hard
Both Technical 2 - EASY, no ropes, chains or dangerous sections

Sunday's sapphire swimming pools will all be Fitness 2 - Easy / Technical 2 - EASY

Sign Up Conditions, Contact Details

Reply to this event post to sign up. Last chance to sign up is before 10am, Wednesday, July 1st.

Things to Bring (持参もの)
  • hiking boots or shoes (no sneakers)
  • warm and wind proof hiking layers (be prepared for 3,000m, it could be cold and windy up there)
  • warm sleeping bag (we will camp at 1,800m)
  • sleeping pad
  • tent (optional)
  • day pack
  • 2L of water
  • trail lunch
  • trail food
  • cup, bowl, spoon
  • headlamp w/ spare batteries
  • trekking poles (optional)
  • gloves
  • hat
  • helmet (optional)
  • sunscreen
  • sunglasses
  • onsen town
  • swimwear
  • sandals

Travel Details, Meeting Time & Place (旅行の詳細, 集合時間と場所)

7pm, Friday July 3rd, Asakadai Station (North Exit)/Kita-Asaka Station (East Exit) at McDonald's


8:30pm, Friday July 3rd, Takao Station (South Exit) at McDonald's

**Please indicate where you wished to be picked up in your response.


total transportation - 8000 ~ 10,000 yen/person
camp fee - 1800 yen/person
2 onsens - 1600 yen/person
bbq - 1500 yen/person
restaurant - 1200 yen/person
OCJ fee - 500yen/person
grand total - 17,000 yen/person

map painted with times.jpg
fumaroles closeup painted.jpg
20.06.21 blue lake painted.jpg
crater edge painted.jpg
crater painted.jpg
gero onsen painted.jpg
precipitates painted.jpg
river side camp site painted.jpg
blue steel painted.jpg
dog frog painted.jpg
Sunday walk painted.jpg
kamoshika hidden rotenburo painted.jpg
Last edited by Adam on Fri Jul 03, 2020 2:43 pm, edited 27 times in total.

Post by Kushal »

Okay, this looks exciting!! I'll have to rush from work on Friday, but I don't want to miss this. I'm all in thumbsup

Post by Asuka »

I wanna join this too! this area looks attractive:)

Post by Justink »

Yep. I’m in. Looks awesome mix of sights. Cheers
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Posts: 5
Joined: Fri Jun 12, 2020 10:06 pm
Nationality (国籍): French
Gender: Male
Hiking Level: Intermediate (中級)

Post by lancos »

I'm in. I'll meet you at Takao station.

Post by Adam »

Hello all,

I'm very excited to have your interest in this trip. Please stick with me.

So far, the weather forecast for this weekend is looking rainy over almost all of Japan. Lots of rain on Saturday. Sunday is not so bad however. But, Saturday's bad weather is going to throw a wrench in our Ontake plans as long as the forecast remains the same.

I am considering to postpone this plan for the following weekend. But, I'll wait another day to decide. I am thinking of a possible alternatives.

Plan B

One area I have in mind is up in the Aizu area of Fukushima. In Tadamimachi there is a forest preserve called Grace Forest <恵みの森> https://www.tadami-net.com/enjoy/field/20170310/6903. It's a protected area buried deep in the interior of Honshu. Kushal and I have explored the region together this past winter but never entered the preserve. We did find some other cool treasures like a naturally carbonated spring water for drinking, a naturally carbonated onsen, and the Matterhorn of Aizu. Looking over the map, I thought of an adventure that might satisfy the burning desire of this intrepid group of explorers. It's a loop with 3 stages: Stage 1- water walking in a shallow stream with small 1-2m waterfalls (3-4 hours), Stage 2 - bushwhacking/route-finding in a low angle, not steep or treacherous forest (2-3 hours), and Stage 3 - normal maintained trail hiking (1:30).

About a 7-9 hour wilderness loop adventure.

The general plan would remain the same. We'll still leave Tokyo around 8pm Friday night, stealth camp at the trailhead. Hike all day Saturday (most likely in the rain). Return to the car, hit up one of the many amazing onsens, and head to a nearby commercial campground for our mini celebration. Sunday is a little uncertain. There is an unknown waterfall I spotted on a map that requires a 1km hike up a stream, but I couldn't find much information on it. There is a nearby Matterhorn to climb if we are so inclined. Kushal and I climbed it last winter. As well as a few other half day mountain hikes. I also found a nice field to table soba restaurant nearby. I'll try to think of some more ideas and we can decide as a group around the campfire if we ultimately decide to take this route (hopefully rain will be over by Saturday night).

Since we will do water walking, you will need to bring an extra pair of shoes that can get wet. Sawanobori shoes are not necessary for this stream. It's not steep and doesn't have so much water. It's not the kind that flash floods. Based on photos I've seen of other people walking the stream, special shoes are not necessary, unless you want to, of course. You will want a second pair of shoes for hiking stages 2 and 3. With the bad forecast and bushwhacking, we're bound to have the forest all to ourselves. So let your freak flag fly if you want!

I understand that this possible change in plans may alter your decision. I encourage you to remain on board, but if you'd rather not, then just let me know.

Plan C

Finally, a third alternative would be to take Andy's latest suggestion for the Rocky Ridge Hike and do that as a group. We can leave later on Saturday, drive, hang out, camp, and do the rocky hike in the morning.

Tadami map painted.jpg
showanomori CG.jpg
Showanomori car camping.jpg
Showanomori CG map.jpg

Post by Kushal »

Thanks for the update Adam. I'm in board either way. If it's absolutely not necessary to leave Friday night (if we are not doing Ondake), I would prefer to leave on Saturday. But I can still do Friday.

Post by Adam »

Hello all,

Kushal, thank you for your interest. Let's keep our momentum and not let the rain spoil our weekend plans. I've been watching the forecast, and it's not all that terrible... We can make something out of it.

Below are three forecasts for the three options.

Ontake Tuesday forecast.jpg
Tadami Tuesday forecast.jpg
Iwayama Tuesday forecast.jpg

Ontake is an awesome trip, but I think we need to wait until we have a good forecast in order to fully enjoy it. So, let's scratch that one off the list...

I am partial to plan B, Tadami. I am drawn to the romance of its wilderness. There are also several unique onsens to visit, a very cozy campground for Saturday night, and I have two wild and cool options in mind for Sunday. Finally, a place that has special soba. We will have to break our routine of revolving sushi... We should also think of something special to cook for Saturday night. I can't seem to get enough of your rice biryani Kushal!

I am still open to plan C, Iwayama. Andy suggested an option (Nemotoyama) for the wetter day of the two, and we can do Iwayama (easy rocky ridge) on the dry day. Since we have a car, we can camp any place that looks suitable. In addition to Andy's suggestions, I know of a really good and authentic Peruvian restaurant in the vicinity that is not to be missed when travelling in that direction. For plan C, we can leave Tokyo around 9am Saturday morning. And I think we'll all save about 2 or 3,000 yen with this option. On the other hand, I think it's a nice trip to save for the future when we all want to do something on short notice. It can be done by train. I appreciate the suggestion Andy. I've attached some photos from the plan C area below. You can also get more information on Andy's most recent post about this option.

Justin & Ian, please let me know before 10am Wednesday if you are interested in plan B or C. And cast a vote if you have an opinion. I spoke with Asuka and she is still on board for plan B, but not C.

Nemoto ravine 1.jpg
nemoto ravine 2.jpg
nemoto ravine 3.jpg
iwayama 1.jpg
iwayama 2.jpg
Last edited by Adam on Tue Jun 30, 2020 11:10 pm, edited 2 times in total.
Free Member
Posts: 5
Joined: Fri Jun 12, 2020 10:06 pm
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Gender: Male
Hiking Level: Intermediate (中級)

Post by lancos »

I would prefer the Ontake-san plan. Therefore I'll wait for better weather condition.

Post by Tamara »

Hi Adam,
I would love to join the Ontake Climb ( Nagano Super Volcano, Free-flowing Hot Spring, Sapphire Swimming Pools & Campground) but is it possible by July 23-26 all red calendar. My shift work is until 9 pm, I just cannot ask to leave work early with a week's notice if Ontake will push through Friday, July 3 :(

Although I can join Plan B or Plan C Iwayama is seems more exciting if climbing down is included i guess, anyway either or as long the outdoor is Saturday-Sunday thumbsup I'm okay overnight camp from Saturday morning and I don't mind if it is raining or sunny day, or either just a one Day Hike.

Post by Nozomi »

Hi Adam,

I’m interested in Iwayama option. If you and others decide to do Iwayama by any chance, I want to join.

Let me know if you need any help booking campsite, call tourist center etc.


Post by Kushal »

Biryani is on the menu then!

I can do Tadami or Iwayama. I won't be disappointed either way. But as I said, I would prefer making it only Saturday and Sunday.

Post by Justink »

Hi Adam, thanks for the research to plan B/C. I’d prefer to wait out for clear weather and take a crack at original trip

Post by Adam »

I've decided to go with Plan B, Tadami. I understood the current members were leaning towards C, Iwayama. However, I had another look at the weather forecast and saw that it looks noticeably nicer in Tohoku than in in Kanto. Sunny on Sunday even!

Justin, Ian, and Tammy - Thank you for your interest in Ontake. I can sense that you all have the burning desire necessary to take this trip. I, myself, am also eager to see the crater and jump into the sapphire pools. There is a chance I can do it some time during the long holiday weekend of July 23-26. However, I cannot guarantee, since it may interfere with some other plans I have (which always depend on the weather). For now, we can pencil it into our calendars. If I see an opportunity, I will post the trip again. I will make it another 3-day trip.

Nozomi and Tammy. I notice your enthusiasm for getting out and tackling Iwayama. However, I am basing this decision on the weather forecast, and it favors Tohoku by a enough to persuade me to choose Tadami. I think Iwayama can easily be done from Tokyo, so I think that it's a great option for a future trip. I'll be keeping it in mind. I am sad that it could not work out for us this time. I am hoping we can all do another trip together soon. You both contribute much to these trips.

Kushal, sorry to rush you Friday, but by Sunday, you will see that it will be well worth the extra effort. I should be able to pick you up at your station on Friday, since it's not far out of the way. Thank you for your flexibility as well as your offer to cook a meal. Please prepare the all the necessary ingredients. We can discuss more meals later.

Tadami Wednesday forecast.jpg
Iwayama Wednseday forecast.jpg
Last edited by Adam on Wed Jul 01, 2020 5:42 pm, edited 5 times in total.
aki weston

Post by aki weston »

I’d like to join this trip if it’s still possible

Post by Adam »

Hi Aki. 久しぶり

Smooth move sir. You got the last spot in the car. I think this trip will be up your alley.

Post by Adam »


Our minds are made up we are now ready to move on to phase 2, preparation.

Title & Date:

July 3-5th Sat-Sun: Tadami Forest of Grace, Carbonated Onsen, and Sunday Hike

Mountain Plan:

Friday, July 3rd:
7pm Asakadai Station, or 8pm, meet at Soka Station.
12am, arrival at Grace Forest Parking lot

Saturday, July 4th:
Oatmeal breakfast at camp
Forest of Grace hike (7-9 hours)
Pack lunch in forest
Carbonated Onsen
Showanomori Campground
Rice biryana and lamb burger dinner

Sunday, July 5th:
American breakfast
3 Options: We should plan to leave the CG by 8:30am
Asakusadake loop (6:10 total map time)
Hidden lakes (requires about 5 hours hiking)
Hidden waterfall (maybe 3 hours hiking, not certain)
Home by 9pm


Forest of Grace

Carbonated Onsen
<〒968-0013 福島県大沼郡金山町大字八町居平619>

Showanomori CG

asakusadake map painted.jpg

Things to Bring (持参もの):

  • 2 pair of shoes, 1 for water (Cros/Keens/sawa shoes all OK) and 1 pair for hiking (trail shoes OK)
  • rain gear (jacket, pants, pack liner or plastic bag)
  • fleece/jumper
  • summer sleeping bag
  • sleeping pad
  • day pack
  • 1L of water
  • trail lunch (for Saturday and Sunday)
  • trail food
  • cup, bowl, spoon
  • headlamp w/ spare batteries
  • trekking poles (optional)
  • hat
  • sunscreen
  • sunglasses
  • onsen town
  • swimwear
  • tent (Adam)
  • grill (Adam)
  • Dutch oven (Asuka)
  • kettle for tea (Adam)
  • thermos (Adam)
  • camping stove (Adam)

Meal Plan:

one convenience store stop

breakfast - oatmeal (Adam)
trail lunch - (yourself)
dinner 1 - rice biryanai (Kushal)
dinner 2 - lamb burger (Asuka)
chai tea (Kushal)

breakfast - American breakfast (Adam)
coffee - (Aki)
lunch - (yourself)
dinner - restaurant

Travel Details, Meeting Time & Place (旅行の詳細, 集合時間と場所):

7pm, Friday July 3rd, Asakadai Station (North Exit)/Kita-Asaka Station (East Exit) at McDonald's


8pm Soka Station (North Exit)

Cost: (per person)

transportation (rental, tolls, gas) - 7,500 yen
camp fee - 350 yen
OCJ fee - 500 yen
food - TBD

Post by Adam »

Here is the latest weather forecast. It's a little worse than the last forecast I posted (no more sun). The new forecast predicts nothing extreme, but poor visibility may rule Asakusadake out for Sunday. That's a little bit of a disappointment to me, but there will be some other options for us. The hidden waterfall could be our best option. Simply driving around the countryside supporting the local economy is a nice experience as well. Prepare to hike Sunday and have an awesome time everyone. I am fired up!

Tadami Friday forecast.jpg