Mount Azuma in Japan, Fukushima’s Mount Fuji
Mount Azuma is a picturesque active volcano in the Azuma Mountain Range inside Fukushima prefecture. Thanks to the volcanic activity in the area, the Mount Azuma area has become a popular spot for those looking for a good nature hike or experience a Japanese onsen.
The Beauty of Mount Azuma
The full name of Mount Azuma is Mount Azuma-kofuji, or Azuma-Fuji child. The name is derived from the fact that this mountain has the same shape and style as Mount Fuji, only a bit smaller and younger.
Mount Azuma is located in the popular Bandai-Azuma Skyline. The summit is 1,700 meters above ground and is only a 50-minute walk from the Visitor Center. The Visitor Center has everything you need to enjoy the volcanic mountain. With a huge parking lot, you’ll be able to leave your car there all day while you go trekking up the mountainside and surrounding forests for a cost of 500 yen.
Walking to the top of Mount Azuma is a dangerous task, especially when it has been raining or snowing. You’ll also have to watch out for strong gusts of wind. From the peak, you’re able to get a full view of the crater left behind from the eruption and an unobstructed panoramic view of Fukushima city, with lovely cloud views.
Even though it’s a hot sightseeing spot, make sure to check local warnings for volcanic activity in the area. In late 2018, a warning was placed on the area and a no-entry zone was enacted for the surround 1,500-meter area around the main crater. This caused the closure of the visitor center and hiking trails.
Mount Azuma Walking Trails
There are many Mount Azuma walking trails to trek up, down and across. There are five main hiking routes to enjoy, from a two-day trek through the surrounding Mount Eboshi and Mount Nishi-Daiten areas, to the aforementioned 50-minute hike up to the peak of Mount Azuma.
The two most trafficked hiking trails will take you about three hours. The first one can take you from Mount Issaikyo, through to Mount Horai, while taking you by the beautiful Lake Kamanuma. The second of these trails takes you around the Mount Higasahi Azuma area.
The most popular time to go hiking through the trails near Mount Azuma is during autumn. With the cooler weather, the leaves of the forest turn into spectacular yellow and deep reds.
During the winter, some of the tracks will be closed, so make sure to double check the months you want to go and plan accordingly. For the best outcome, plan your treks after April and before November.
Enjoy Mount Azuma Onsen
Mount Azuma onsen are able to exist in the area thanks to the high level of volcanic activity shimmering underneath the surface. This has created many popular tourist onsen that can warm you up and soothe your soul, while cleansing your skin and soul.
These include the Takayu Onsen, only a short 15 kilometers away, offering all the popular onsen treatments, and the Tsuchiyu Onsen, roughly 30 kilometers away from Mount Azuma.
How to get to Mount Azuma
The easiest way to get to Mount Azuma is from the nearby Fukushima City. From Fukushima Station, it’s a 60-minute drive to the visitor center. Driving to the mountain lets you experience the greenery of the area from the convenience of your own car.
Otherwise, a tour bus leaves Fukushima Station to take you to the visitor center. The Azuma Skyline Tour Bus leaves from East Exit Bus Stop No. 11 and takes you through the same streets up the mountain. This is recommended if you don’t have much gear with you and would like to experience the scenery rather than focusing on the road.