Mt Arashima (荒島岳)

09 June 2024
Mt Arashima (荒島岳)

Mt Arashima (荒島岳, arashima-dake) is a Hundred Famous Mountain located in Fukui prefecture. After climbing Mt Ibuki the day before, I made the drive over to Fukui and stayed the night at Michi-no-Eki Katsuyama (道の駅かつやま).

michi no eki katsuyama
The dinosaur slide at Michi-no-eki Katsuyama

Michi-no-eki are roadside stations found across Japan where you can park your car to take a break from a long drive. Some are more elaborately themed than others, and since Fukui is famous for its dinosaur museum, this one had dinosaurs.

michi no eki morning
All the other cars that had spent the night

It was my first night sleeping in my car, and I surprisingly slept really well! I used the same mat and sleeping bag that I use when I go camping, so in that sense it wasn't anything new, although it did feel slightly more cramped.

After waking up and grabbing some breakfast and food for the hike at a convenience store, I arrived at the trailhead for Mt Arashima around 5am.

kadohara trailhead
Kadohara trailhead, just after 5am
The trail starts off up a long road
Weigela flowers (タニウツぎ属)
morning fog
A bit of morning fog

Near the start of the trail there was a section on the map marked “former lift terminus” (元リフト終点) with a rusted metal thing. Apparently there used to be a ski area here that closed in 2010.

lift terminus
Where the ski lift ended

As you climb there's a couple of landmarks that have been signposted by the group that maintains the trail. One of them was called “Totoro's tree” (トトロの木), which was just a stump.

totoros tree
Totoro's tree had become Totoro's stump

This was kind of puzzling to read at the time and I wasn't sure if this was intentional (did Totoro like stumps?) but upon a Google later, sadly it looked like the tree fell down 5 years ago.

some stairs
The trail had some stairs too
sign board

Further along there was a board explaining some of the volunteer efforts to maintain Mt Arashima's trails. This mountain is in quite a rural area, and it's not one of those really obvious-looking mountains that you can see from far away. So apparently after the Hundred Famous Mountains became popularised, there was a boom in hikers that came to this mountain.

flat area
Partway up, there's a little area where you can take a break at シャクナゲ平

As you get closer to the top, there are some steeper bits with ropes and chains, but nothing too major.


The morning was quite foggy on the trail, so there wasn't too much in the way of scenery. However it started to clear up a bit near the summit, so I got a clear view of Mt Haku (白山 haku-san) in the distance. It has an elevation of 2702m (Mt Arashima only has 1500m) so the peak was still covered in snow.

mt haku

The final walk up is more exposed, and you finally get your first glimpse of Mt Arashima ahead.

mt arashima

And before I knew it, I was at the summit!

summit marker
The peak marker at Mt Arashima, elevation 1523.5m

There's a little round map showing the names of all the mountains and peaks in the distance, with basically a near 360 view. Unfortunately most of the mountains were obscured today by the fog.

distant peaks

The course was an out-and-back one, so from here it was back down the way I came. Thanks to my early start, it wasn't very crowded on the climb up, however on the way back down I was just in time for peak climbing hour, so I passed by a lot of people on the way back.

final road
It felt good to finally see this road!
The mostly full carpark at the trailhead

Once I descended the mountain, it was time for a quick soak at a nearby onsen, before I started my journey home.

heisei no yu
Heisei-no-yu (平成の湯)

I was actually considering climbing Mt Ena the next day, and since that was on the drive home I decided to drive to a service area near Mt Ena and sleep the night there.

car camping jimny
My car camping setup in my Jimny - all the seats fold flat so it's not bad!

Service areas are roadside stations sort of similar to michi-no-eki except bigger and open 24/7, and they are always on a highway, so they tend to get more cars coming in throughout the night. Maybe as a result of that, or because it was pretty bright from the lights outside, I didn't sleep quite as well.

The next morning, the weather was looking pretty suspicious with it forecast to rain, so I ended up driving the rest of the way home. I'll be back for Mt Ena another time.

Hiking course details

Date climbedLengthCourse time
2024-06-018.66h45min (the expected time for an average hiker without breaks)

This is an out-and-back course starting at the Kadohara trailead (勝原登山口). There's 1269m of elevation gain over only 8.6km, so it is quite a steep course with some rocky bits with chains, but nothing particularly dangerous.

There is a toilet available at the trailhead.

Public transportation access

The Kadohara trailhead is right near Kadohara station, so you'd think that this mountain is easily accessible via train. Unfortunately if you are coming from Fukui (the nearest major city), the first train gets you to Kadohara at 10:40am which is quite late.

Kadohara is very rural and there probably isn't anywhere to stay, so the other alternative would be to stay on the train past Kadohara to either Echizen-Shimoyama or Kuzuryuko station, and stop there overnight. The first train that goes in the other direction towards Fukui will arrive at Kadohara at 6:03am.

From there, the hike should take you 5 or 6 hours but unfortunately the next train back towards Fukui isn't until 14:43 (nearly 9 hours after you begin your hike).

So I would say this is not completely impossible by public transport, but not the most ideal!

Car access details

I parked at Kadohara trailhead (荒島岳 勝原登山口), where there's space for about 40-odd cars. It was a quarter full when I arrived at 5am, and completely full by the time I descended back down.

Hikers coming to this mountain via train will also be climbing the course from the Kadohara trailhead, and that one generally seems to be more popular. If you're looking for less of a crowd, or the carpark is full, another option is starting your hike from the Nakade (荒島岳 中出) trailhead.

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Check out some of my other posts!

Mt Zao (蔵王山)
Mt Zao (蔵王山)
13 June
Mt Ibuki (伊吹山)
Mt Ibuki (伊吹山)
09 June
Mt Tonnomune (鳥ノ胸山)
Mt Tonnomune (鳥ノ胸山)
24 May
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