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A Paradise of Precious Plants, Mt. Odaigahara, Nara: Video Introduction

Image of autumn at Mt. Odaigahara, Nara Prefecture
Photo:Autumn at Mt. Odaigahara, Nara Prefecture

This video, titled "[Official] Higashi Odaigahara, Kamikitayama, Nara|Promotional Video (Short Ver.)" (【公式】奈良県上北山村・東大台ヶ原(HIGASHI ODAIGAHARA)プロモーション映像(短編)), was uploaded by "kamikitayama."

Mt. Odaigahara is one of the 100 Famous Japanese Mountains and the entire mountain is designated as Yoshino-Kumano National Park. It's divided into Higashi-Odaigahara, which anyone can visit, and Nishi-Odaigahara, which requires advance permission to enter in order to protect the natural environment. Enjoy the beauty of Higashi-Odaigahara, a charming place for hiking, mountain climbing, and even just a walk, in the video below.

Higashi-Odaigahara – A Popular Hiking and Trekking Spot With Beginner Courses

Image of a suspension bridge at Mt. Odaigahara, Nara Prefecture
Photo:A suspension bridge at Mt. Odaigahara, Nara Prefecture

Mt. Odaigahara is a sightseeing spot selected as one of the 100 Famous Japanese Mountains and 100 Unexplored Regions of Japan. The mountain is located in Kamikitayama, Nara, in Japan's Kansai region. Mt. Odaigahara is popular among climbers and hikers because of its unrestricted access.

Mt. Odaigahara has four trekking trails that can be climbed and hiked, ranging from beginner to advanced courses.

The A trail (middle trail) for beginners starts from the Mt. Odaigahara parking lot and passes Hinodegatake, Masakigahara, Owashi Tsuji, Ushiigahara, Ojigura, and Owashi Tsuji before returning to the parking lot again.

From the observatory on Mt. Hinodegatake, you can enjoy a panoramic view of the Omine Mountain Range and other mountains, and if the weather is nice early in the morning, you may even be able to see Mt. Fuji. As the name "Hinodegatake" (lit. "Sunrise Mountain") suggests, the summit is known as a sunrise viewing spot where visitors can watch the sunrise from the top of the mountain.

Masaki Pass, located just before Masakigahara, offers a mysterious view of dead and fallen trees on a wide hill, and a spectacular view of the Kumano-nada Sea beyond. Masakigahara is a vast grassy area with trees and a view of Masaki Pass in front of it, where wild deer are frequently seen. The highlight of the beginner course in Higashi-Odaigahara is Daijagura, an 800-meter precipice that offers visitors a panoramic view of the Omine Mountains.

Trail A for beginners is about 9 km long and takes about 4 hours to complete. Trail B, for intermediate-level climbers, is the same as Trail A with the addition of Shiokara Valley. This popular course has a slope called "Shakunage Slope" (Rhododendron Slope) where rhododendrons bloom for about a week every year from May 20, leading up to Shiokara Valley. Shiokara Valley has a suspension bridge, and visitors can also enjoy a walk along it downstream.

Nishi-Odaigahara, a Treasure Trove of Nature That Requires a Permit to Enter

Image of the outdoors of Nishi-Odaigahara
Photo:The outdoors of Nishi-Odaigahara

Mt. Odaigahara can be divided into two main areas. One is the Higashi-Odaigahara area, where anyone can enjoy climbing and hiking, and the other is the Nishi-Odaigahara area, where advance permission is required to enter the mountain.
The Nishi-Odaigahara area is designated as a special protection area to preserve the natural environment, and the number of people entering the mountain is restricted.

Nishi Odaigahara receives approximately 5,000 millimeters of annual rainfall, as much as that of Yakushima Island, and features virgin forests nurtured by the rain, allowing visitors to enjoy the landscape with its pristine vegetation.

Wildlife and the Four Seasons on Mt. Odaigahara

Image of the Milky Way from Mt. Odaigahara, Nara Prefecture
Photo:The Milky Way from Mt. Odaigahara, Nara Prefecture

Mt. Odaigahara is home to a large number of wild animals. In addition to the deer of Masakigahara, there are Japanese serows, foxes, tanuki (Japanese raccoon dogs), marten, and Japanese squirrels, as well as many wild birds, such as Eurasian jays and wrens, and great spotted woodpeckers.

Mt. Odaigahara is also a popular photo spot because of its lush greenery, seas of clouds, and beautiful starry skies. If you're looking to take some Instagram photos, this is definitely a place to visit! In autumn, you can see the leaves turned beautiful shades of red and orange, and in the cold winter months, if you're lucky, you can see the local flora covered in rime.

A Hiking Trip for Advanced Hikers

Image of Dogura Falls, Osugidani Valley, Mie Prefecture
Photo:Dogura Falls, Osugidani Valley, Mie Prefecture

For advanced hikers looking for an adventure to discover the beauty that is Japan's nature, there's a course that will take you on a 10-mile hike from Osugidani Valley, an idyllic place of interest, to the breathtaking Mt. Odaigahara.
This hike will take even the most advanced hikers at least 2 days to complete due to the terrain, but if you're up to the challenge and have the experience, it's well worth your time.

During the hike, you'll pass Dogura Falls (堂倉滝), a waterfall with a 20-meter drop and a beautiful basin where you can relax and take a break while hiking, Nanatsugama Falls (七ツ釜滝), a unique, 7-tiered waterfall, and Shishi-buchi (シシ淵), a breathtaking canyon with a waterfall hidden at the back of sheer cliffs, and a myriad of other points of interest.

As the hike will take 2-3 days to complete, you'll need to stay overnight at the rest stop Momonoki Yamanoie (桃の木山の家). The Ohsugidani Tozan Center has maps with detailed courses as well (including this one and other shorter tours), which we highly recommend checking out.
※For information on reservations, routes, and hiking conditions/seasons, please contact the Ohsugidani Tozan Center (大杉谷登山センター).
※Camping and campfires are strictly prohibited in the Mt. Odaigahara and Osugidani Valley area.
※Because weather in the area can change quickly, it's necessary to bring sufficient equipment for rainy conditions.
※If you have any doubts in your hiking abilities or you are unable to acquire the necessary information for a safe hike, we strongly suggest waiting until you are fully prepared.
※It's recommended that you bring a helmet, as there is a danger of falling rocks along the hiking trail.

Summary of Mt. Odaigahara, Nara

Image of Osugidani Valley, Mt. Odaigahara, Nara Prefecture
Photo:Osugidani Valley, Mt. Odaigahara, Nara Prefecture

Mt. Odaigahara is also a registered UNESCO Eco Park, and efforts are also being made to promote symbiosis between nature and people.
When visiting Mt. Odaigahara, it's recommended that you use public transportation. If you take a bus departing from Yamato-Kamiichi Station, you can reach Mt. Odaigahara in about 2 hours. If you're driving, please note that the parking lot may be full during high seasons, such as autumn, when the leaves change color.

Mt. Odaigahara, also known as the "Roof of the Kinki Region," is also famous as a summer retreat. A walking map of Higashi-Odaigahara is available for climbers and hikers as well. If you're looking to explore the beautiful outdoors of Japan, then consider a trip to Mt. Odaigahara.

【TripAdvisor】Mt. Odaigahara

Written By
Last Updated : Oct. 16, 2023
平敷 篤(Atsushi Heishiki)
My name is Atsushi Heishiki, a writer who loves Japanese culture and lives in Okinawa.
Mt. Odaigahara – Hiking the Beautiful Mountain in Nara, Japan
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