About Mount Iwaki? A History of Mountain Worship
5 Hiking Courses at Mount Iwaki
Winter Activities: Skiing & Snowshoeing
Hot Springs near Mount Iwaki
Events around Mount Iwaki
Access to Mount Iwaki
Other Nearby Destinations

Mount Iwaki stands tall in Hirosaki City, Aomori, as the the prefecture's tallest mountain and a deity of mountain worship. The mountain is currently fitted with hiking courses, and is a popular leisure destination for many outdoor lovers.
Mount Iwaki is even nicknamed the "Fuji of Tsugaru" (Tsugaru = old name of part of modern-day Aomori Prefecture), and dons a beautiful vista that does not fall far behind Mount Fuji itself! This article will introduce you to the views, activities, and hiking courses of Mount Iwaki.

About Mount Iwaki

Mount Iwaki is located in the southwestern plains of Hirosaki city, Aomori prefecture. While Mount Iwaki is an active volcano, no eruptions have occurred since the late 1800s. Measuring 1,625m in height, it is the tallest mountain in Aomori. With its scenic snow-capped peaks and robust structure, it is nicknamed “Tsugaru-Fuji”, referring it as the Mount Fuji of the Tsugaru (Aomori) area.

Mount Iwaki reflecting on the lake

Mount Iwaki, a.k.a. "Tsugaru-Fuji"

Mountain Worship at Mount Iwaki

Mount Iwaki, whose grand presence can be seen in entirety from the Tsugaru plains, has been a beloved icon of the region. It also has a long history of mountain worship (whose exact date of origin is unclear), and being lovingly called "O-Iwaki-sama" ("O" and "sama" being respectful honorifics) by people of the region. An event called "Oyama-Sankei" (mountain pilgrimage) has been an annual time of prayer for family safety and agricultural prosperity, and is still being held every year in September.

A beautiful path into Iwakiyama-jinja shrine

The path into Iwakiyama Shrine

Iwakiyama Shrine sits at the foot of Mount Iwaki. The shrine is said to have a history of over 1,200 years, with some of its buildings being as old as 400 years old. From the torii entrance gate to the main inner shrine, or honden (本殿), is a nice, long walk. The worship hall, or shaden (社殿) is nicknamed “Oku-nikko”, as its intricate carvings and designs resemble that of the walls of Nikko Tosho-gu Shrine in Tochigi prefecture.

5 Hiking Courses at Mount Iwaki

The view from Mount Iwaki with red Torii gate

The view from Mount Iwaki

Climbing up Mount Iwaki is a bit of a long journey (usually 4~5 hours), but the view and experience is worth the sweat. There are five courses to choose from, including a beginner friendly option and a more advanced route for experienced climbers.

1. Hyakuzawa Route

The Hyakuzawa Route is recommended for experienced climbers. The 4-hour route is a popular pick, as it has many historic sights. It begins at Iwakiyama Shrine, and passes through a cherry blossom forest, ski resort, springs and more until arriving at the peak. There is also an abundance of alpine flora on this route.

2. Dake Route

The Dake Route takes the least amount of time to get to the mountain peak. In just 3 hours, you will hike through a mellow hill of beech trees. After arriving at the Skyline Terminal, the route merges with the Hyakuzawa Route to reach the peak.

3. Akakura Route

The Akakura Route is probably the holiest of the five routes. On this route, you will pass by many stone-carved Buddha statues until reaching the peak. This 4.5-hour route is recommended for those who want a spiritual, serene climbing experience.

4. Yayoi Route

The Yayoi Route, unlike the others mentioned above, starts at higher altitude. The route begins at 120 meters, and is a 5-hour climb through forests and apple orchards. Make sure to bring plenty of water, since there are no spring water sources on this route.

5. Nagadai Route

The Nagadai Route also begins a big higher up at 560 meters. The route begins at Ishigami-jinja Shrine and goes through a ski resort, springs, and a few hills up to the peak.

Driving up Mount Iwaki v the Iwaki Skyline

Iwaki Skyline from Skyline

Iwaki Skyline

The Iwaki Skyline was the first toll road in Aomori prefecture, and connects the base of the mountain to the 8th station. The route has a total of 69 curves, and measures a total length of 9.8 kilometers. The curves were a result of constructing the route in the most environmentally friendly way as possible. Drive through a beech forest and reach the 8th station for a marvelous view from high up.

Nature Paths

There are two paths made especially for a stroll through the woods. For ¥1000, you can take a walk though either a more historical route or a more photogenic route.

Prayer Course

This course ties together Iwakiyama Shrine and Takateru-jinja Shrine. The 12.3-kilometer route takes you through a broad-leaved forest of Mongolian oak and quercus trees.

Cherry Blossom Course

Beautiful Cherry Blossoms at Cherry Blossom Course

Beautiful cherry blossoms

You can take a stroll on the longest cherry blossom-surrounded road in the world. Cherry blossoms are planted on both sides of the road for 20 kilometers, and fully blossom in the beginning of May.

Winter Activities at Mount Iwaki

Instead of hiking up the mountain during the harsh winter months, why not enjoy winter activities like skiing and snowshoeing? Here are some winter activities at Mount Iwaki.

Hyakuzawa Ski Resort

The view of Hyakuzawa Ski Resort

Hyakuzawa Ski Resort

From beginners to advanced skiers, everyone is welcome at Hyakuzawa Ski Resort. The resort is equipped with both larger, steeper slopes and smaller, easier hills. Hyakuzawa Ski Resort is open between December and March.

Snowshoe Hiking

Snow-covered Iwakiyama-jinja shrine

Iwakiyama Shrine during the winter months

Aside from skiing, there are some other winter activities you can enjoy at Mount Iwaki. One is the "Nordic Walk", or snowshoeing. A hike in the refreshing spring breeze is great, but it is nothing quite like the snowy serenity of the winter time!

Soaking in the Hot Springs' Warmth

Bath of Dake Hot Springs near Mount Iwaki

Dake Hot Springs near Mount Iwaki

There are 10 hot spring sources near Mount Iwaki, and many, many hot spring facilities in the area. The hot springs all vary in properties, and each has their own specialties.

Yumeguri Tegata Hot Springs Pass

Bath of Dake Hot Springs Winter season

Dake Hot Springs

For ¥1000, you can purchase the Yumeguri Tegata Hot Springs Pass, which allows you to bathe in three baths. You can choose any three baths from the designated partner baths of Mount Iwaki Tourism Association.
Keep in mind that the open hours for the bathes vary by each facility. Each person can purchase one pass.
You can purchase a Yumeguri Tegata Hot Springs Pass at any facility under the Mount Iwaki Tourism Association.


Oyama-sankei (September)

Oyama-sankei is Iwakiyama Shrine’s main festival. The festival prays for household safety and a successful harvest. During the three-day festival, a group of worshippers walk up the mountain, first to the shrine then to the top of Mount Iwaki.

Access to Mount Iwaki

Nearest Station: Hirosaki Station

From Aomori Station

【Aomori Sta.】JR Ou Main Line / for Hirosaki
→【Hirosaki Sta.】Konan Local Bus / Hirosaki~Karekitai Line
→【Iwakiyama-jinja mae】

From Hachinohe Station

【Hachinohe Sta.】Aoimori Railway / for Aomori
→【Aomori Sta.】JR Ou Main Line / for Hirosaki
→【Hirosaki Sta.】Konan Local Bus / Hirosaki~Karekitai Line
→【Iwakiyama-jinja mae】

From Aomori Airport

【Aomori Airport Sta.】(Bus) Aomori Airport Line / for Hirosaki Bus Terminal
→【Hirosaki Sta.】Konan Local Bus / Hirosaki~Karekitai Line
→【Iwakiyama-jinja mae】

Nearby Destinations

Former Hirosaki City Library

The Former Hirosaki City Library was built in 1903, and was used as a library until 1931. The building today is a tourist attraction, exhibiting library-related paperwork from the early 1900s and publications from local writers. The architecture of the building is quite unique, bearing a mostly Renaissance-style build with some hints of Japanese influence.

Hirosaki-jo Castle

Hirosaki Castle locates inside Hirosaki Park. The castle has a history of over 400 years, starting at around the beginning of the Edo period. The cherry blossoms planted throughout the castle grounds are renowned for its spectacular figure and blossoming, and many Japanese and foreign tourists gather annually to spend their spring in Hirosaki.