Photo: foooomio

Yahiko: A little village in Niigata with big things happening


Mt. Yahiko is a mighty volcano near the shore of the Sea of Japan. With Yahiko Shrine, the most famous shrine in Niigata Prefecture, as the entrance to the hike, it’s undeniably scenic.

Hiking Mt Yahiko

The hike is divided into 10 sections within a dense forest. It is not a difficult climb, and hikers typically can reach the top in about 1-and-a-half to two hours. In the beginning of the hike, there is a small snack shop in a hut. You will see people chit-chatting on rocky seats as they enjoy the oden soup and free coffee.

Photo: Cara Lam

At the peak of the mountain, there is another small shrine. Take a moment to soak in the panoramic views of the Echigo Plains and Sado Island, too. Hiking is not the only way to enjoy the views of the Niigata Plain and the Sea of Japan. Visitors can also take the ropeway to the top of Mt Yahiko or drive up it on the Mt Yahiko Skyline.

Yahiko Shrine and festivals

The spirituality of this shrine traces back to the 8th Century, when Ameno-Kagoyama-no-Mikoto, a great-grandson of a Shinto deity, is believed to have landed on Mt Yahiko and taught local people the skills required for salt production, fishing, rice cultivation and other agricultural activities.

The Yahiko Lantern Festival is coming up July 24 to July 26. The fireworks are on the 25th at 8 p.m. in Yahiko Park.

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© GaijinPot Travel

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I've not climbed this mountain but have camped a couple of times nearby, further south at Wajima on a clifftop and further north on a nice beach called Kakudahama. It's near the touristy fishing port called Teradomari, where there's loads of seafood on sale. Nice area, about half an hour by car south of Niigata City.

The road climb up the mountain is 450m vert gain at 6-8%. Cat 2.

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We had a lovely day trip from Niigata to Yahiko a few years ago. We got the ropeway up to the top of the mountain but did do a lot of walking around the town. It was great to visit an interesting place with very few other people about.

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