Mt Chausu (茶臼岳)

30 January 2024
·
hyakumeizan

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.

carpark

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.

trail start
Start of the trail.
towards asahidake
Once you're out past the initial tree cover.

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.

narrow path
Some narrow bits, but nothing too scary.

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.

asahi dake
Reaching the first peak, Mt Asahi

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.

mt chausu view
Mt Chausu - the little diagonal line is the trail you initially walk up from, if you skip the ropeway.
chausu and shrine
A shrine at the top of Asahi-dake
ridge walk
Onwards towards Mt Sanbonyari

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.

sanbonyari
A chihuahua at Mt Sanbonyari. He looks very satisfied with himself!

Once you reach Mt Sanbonyari, its time to retrace your steps all the way back to Asahi-dake and then onto Mt Chausu.

back towards asahi
Heading back towards Asahi-dake
towards chausu
Finally on towards Mt Chausu!

The final descent up to Mt Chausu is very rocky.

final climb
Final climb to the summit of Mt Chausu
mt chausu
At the peak of Mt Chausu
summit view
Mt Chausu is a volcano so you can do a loop around the top of its crater - those were some people on the opposite side.
descent
The descent back.

Hiking course details

Date climbedLengthCourse time
2023-05-3112.6km6h30m (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.

Public transport access with example schedule

TimeLocationTransportCost
06:40東京(とうきょう)Shinkansen6020
07:49那須塩原 (なすしおばらし)
08:00那須塩原Bus1430
09:15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.

TimeLocationTransportCost
15:18那須ロープウェイBus
16:35那須塩原1430
17:03那須塩原Shinkansen6020
18:16東京
Trip total:14900

Related tags

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