Mt Chausu (茶臼岳, Chausu-dake) is the highest peak of Mt Nasu (那須岳 Nasu-dake), a Hundred Famous Mountain located in Tochigi. Since it's a volcano, it has a very harsh yet beautiful scenery that you don't see in a lot of other Japanese mountains. This turned out to be one of my favourite mountains of 2023.
If you're going via public transport, it is accessible from Tokyo as a day trip, but with the shinkansen fare it does come out to be pretty pricey (near 15,000yen). I climbed this right near my birthday, so I made it a little solo trip as a birthday treat to myself.
There is a ropeway up to near the summit of Mt Chausu, and the bus drops you off right outside. I wanted to walk as much as possible so I opted to skip it.
The trail starts off amongst the trees, but you'll quickly leave this tree cover and everything will become very rocky and orange. I went at the end of May, which felt like the perfect time to go. I imagine the direct sunlight in the summer months can be pretty brutal.
Mt Chausu is actually quite close to the start of the trailhead, but the course I took involved first taking a detour out to Mt Asahi (朝日岳, Asahi-dake) and Mt Sanbonyari (三本槍岳, Sanbonyari-dake) before retracing my steps back to Mt Chausu.
As you walk towards Asahi-dake you'll be heading in the opposite direction to Mt Chausu, but all you have to do is turn around and Mt Chausu will be right there in the distance.
There was quite a few dogs I saw along this hike, which I found a little surprising considering how there are some narrow bits - I would have thought it would be a bit scary for a dog. On the other hand, there are no steep climbs or ladders so in that sense it is dog-friendly.
Once you reach Mt Sanbonyari, its time to retrace your steps all the way back to Asahi-dake and then onto Mt Chausu.
The final descent up to Mt Chausu is very rocky.
|6h30m (the expected time for an average hiker without breaks)
This is a there-and-back course starting at the 那須岳登山口 (Nasu-dake Tozan-guchi) trailhead.
It's possible to make this course shorter by making use of the ropeway, or by skipping Mt Sanbonyari (and even Asahi-dake if you wanted to). The route up to Asahi-dake is the best part of the course, so I definitely recommend prioritising that if you have the time.
There are toilets available inside of the ropeway building.
|那須ロープウェイ (なす ロープウェイ)
Looking at the 2023 schedule, the buses run from the beginning of April through to the end of November.