Mt. Ryokami (両神山)

Mt. Ryokami is an ancient, rocky peak sitting on the border of Gunma and Saitama Prefectures. The top offers wonderful panoramic views of the surrounding mountainous landscape and is a part of Chichibu-Tama-Kai National Park.

Mt. Ryokami

The hike: From the bus stop, climb the stairs across the street to Ryokami Hut (両神山荘). This hut features a real kotatsu (the heater is a fire pit in the floor) and is a great place to rest after the hike while waiting for the bus. The trail goes to the left of the hut and climbs steeply past vegetable fields and enters a dense forest. During the first half an hour or so keep your eyes peeled for Kamoshika (Japanese Mountain Serow), as there are a few in this area. I saw one on the way back to the bus stop after completing the hike. Soon you’ll come to a trail junction. Both trails meet up after a few hours, but the one on your right isn’t well used, so stay on the main, well-trodden path. From this junction, it’s a gradual climb for the next 90 minutes or so in a shaded valley following a stream. The trail starts to get steeper and steeper, but you’ll have a nice big hut (清滝小屋) staring you in the face in next to no time. This hut has water and is a lovely place to stay, costing 5000 for 2 meals, or 3000 yen for a place to sleep only. (the hut is only open from April to November) Alternatively, you can camp nearby. Take a break here, as things are about to get rocky. The trail continues past the hut and then gets really steep. Some of the rock formations have chains embedded for ease of climbing. In about an hour of sweating it out you’ll reach a shrine and the trail will start to get much easier. From here to the top it’s just a matter of traversing a few “false summits”. There’s quite a bit of up and down, but a piece of cake compared to what you’ve been through. Eventually you’ll reach the true summit, marked by a signpost and a huge rock formation. Enjoy the panoramic views, with Mt. Asama staring you in the eyes, the Minami Alps and Yatsu-ga-dake to the Northeast, and Mt. Fuji poking its shy head up above Mt. Kumotori. Take a well deserved lunch break and head back the way you came. If you’d like to turn this into a 2-day hike then consider staying at the hut along the way or at the hut at the bus stop.

When to go: This hike can be done year round, but bring crampons in the winter because it can get quite icy and the main trail sits in a shaded valley.

Access: From Ikebukuro station, take a train on the Seibu Line to Chichibu Station. From there, transfer to a bus bound for Hinata Ooya (日向大谷). You’ll more than likely have to change buses at Oganomachi Yakubamae (小鹿野役場前). The bus takes a little over an hour (about 15 minutes on the first bus, and then around 50 on the second). Click here for the bus schedule.


Level of difficulty: 3 out of 5 (elevation change: 1053m)

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5 Comments on “Mt. Ryokami (両神山)”

  1. Albert Says:

    Is it possible to do this hike in 1 day??

    • wes Says:

      Albert, the hike is possible in one day if you get a really early start. This time of year there will likely be snow/ice on the mountain so you’ll need to be prepared for that.

  2. Hello,
    Is camping near the hut ok and free?

  3. David Says:

    I have never camped there but the hut nearby is closed and is only used as an emergency shelter nowadays. According to this site, the campsite is still there, and I guess it’s most likely free as no one is there to collect your money:

  4. Judith Ricken Says:

    Hey Wes,
    thanks to your excellent description of your hike in “tozan tales” I realized that this can be done in winter and went this week (mid Jan 2023).

    About Access: Looks like nowadays you change bus at Yakushinoyu if you tell the bus driver in the first bus you want to go to Hinata Ooya they make sure you’ll get the connection. It’s 500Yen in total one way. Either you pay the first bus driver 500Yen and he gives you a ticket to show at the second bus, or you pay 200Yen in the first bus and then 300Yen in the second bus.

    The bus to Hinata Ooyu actually comes from and goes to Mitsumineguchi station, so if you want to access from there you don’t have to change the bus. However I found it easier to get to and back from Seibu Chichibu.

    Just to give an update on trail conditions.

    There was no ice or snow at all. I did bring crampons as you recommended but they were not necessary.

    Ryokami sanso at the bottom of the mountain was closed when I went, maybe they open only on weekends in winter?

    At the junction 会所(Kaisho?) the right path is now closed and it’s forbidden to climb it. The hut on top was closed as well but there is one winter toilet that is open and it can be used as an emergency hut.
    The view is kind of hidden by the trees for nearly the entire hike. Only at the very top you get a view which is awesome and worth the entire trip. I was blessed with cloudless sky an undisturbed view all around. Thanks again for the description!

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