Mt Daisen (大山)

24 May 2024
Mt Daisen (大山)

I happened to be down in Shimane for this year's Golden Week holiday, so I ventured over to the neighbouring Tottori prefecture to climb its highest peak, Mt Daisen (大山, daisen). It's also one of the 100 Famous Mountains of Japan and was the 30th one that I climbed!

daisen drive
The view of Mt Daisen on the drive over

Mt Daisen wasn't too far from where I was staying, and it's not too long of a hike so we had a fairly relaxed start around 10am.

from carpark
Mt Daisen from the carpark

There is only one trailhead for Mt Daisen, and the course is a mix of a loop plus an out-and-back section nearer to the summit. For the loop part, we went clockwise as this gives you the harder, rocky sections on the climb up and then mostly stairs on the way back down.

trail start
The forest at the start of the trail

Once you make it through the forest, the course becomes a lot more exposed. It was only the beginning of May, but it was quite a warm day, and with the direct sunlight I got a tiny bit sunburnt on my arms.

I always put sunscreen on my face when I go hiking but it was a good reminder that it's approaching the season where I need to worry more about my arms too!

peak views
A closer look at the ridgeline
stairs up
The final climb up is a mixture of stairs and rock.
mountain hut
A mountain hut partway up the trail. It's really the only place you can take a midway break.

Since I was visiting during Golden Week, the mountain was probably at its most crowded. The path closer to the summit had some rocky sections that were quite narrow, so there was a lot of congestion and some queueing on the trail.

ocean views
A beautiful view out onto the coastline
final stretch
The final stretch to the summit is a boardwalk

We arrived at the summit at around 12:30. There's some seating near the peak, but it's all under direct sunlight. There's also a nearby mountain hut where you can buy food and drinks if required.

peak marker
Mt Daisen's peak marker
summit mountain hut
The mountain hut near the summit

And then it was back down the way we came.

path downwards
I love this shot of the boardwalk!
Another look at the ridgeline

Once we descended past the rocky bit, we were back on the loop section of the course. The remainder was almost entirely stairs, and super easy to walk down.

descent stairs
Stairs all the way down
A big tree root

As we finished the course we passed the carpark at the trailhead. If you managed to get here really early in the morning you can probably snag a spot, but we had to park at the larger carpark which was probably 5 - 10 minutes away.

closest carpark
The carpark at the trailhead.

There are a lot of small rocks scattered near the summit, and if you do start at this carpark it looks like you can volunteer to take some up to the summit with you! I would have loved to do this so it's a pity I didn't know about it.

carry rocks

It looks like it's an effort to help return the rocks to the summit, which get displaced by the hikers inadvertently kicking them down.

Before heading home though, I had to make a pilgrimage to the nearby Mont Bell. It's actually the only store for both the Tottori and Shimane prefectures, and they sell limited edition Daisen shirts.

Got my Mt Daisen shirt!

And then finally it was back to the carpark we started at. I often worry about whether there is a parking available at trailheads (especially if you arrive late), but since Mt Daisen is also a ski resort in winter, there is plenty of free parking, even during peak hiking season.

There is a loooot of parking.

Hiking course details

Date climbedLengthCourse time
2024-05-036.7km5h20min (the expected time for an average hiker without breaks)

This is a fairly straightforward loop course starting and ending at the natsuyama trailhead (夏山登山口) for Mt Daisen. There are toilets available at the carpark and at the summit.

Public transport access with example schedule

07:20米子駅Local bus730

If you're coming from Tokyo, you can take a plane to Yonago airport, and then a limosuine bus to Yonago station. I'd expect you'd need to spend the night somewhere, but from the station there are local buses that can take you to the trailhead.

The first bus from Yonago station to the Daisenji Temple arrives at 08:22, and the earliest bus back in the afternoon is at 15:11. This gives you just under 7 hours to do the hike, which is plenty of time.

15:11大山寺Local bus730
Trip total:1460

Car access details

The name of the carpark closest to the trailhead is 南光河原駐車場, but if this is full there is also the 大山博労座駐車場 still within walking distance. This has a capacity for 600 cars so you shouldn't have any trouble getting a spot. The carpark is only a 30 to 40min drive from the airport and/or train station.

Related tags

Check out some of my other posts!

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