I finally got to go to Fukushima and see Mt. Azuma this weekend. I have been looking forward to this since November and it was well worth the wait. Miki, Mika, Yoshie, Jeff and I made the drive over via the Bandai Azuma Skyline and that was beautiful enough on its own. The road itself brought us a mere 15 minute walk up to the summit of this massive natural beauty.
Mt. Azuma is actually a collection of volcanoes bordering the Yamagata and Fukushima prefectures in the Bandai-Asahi National Park. We ended up climbing two of them: Mt. Azuma Kofuji and Mt. Issaikyo-yama. The first was given the name “Kofuji” because it resembles a small Mount Fuji. It stands at 1705m tall and has a conical-shaped, 500m wide crater making it an absolutely stunning sight. It was an easy climb and had a great view of Mt. Issaikyo-yama across the street. Every spring, as the snow melts, a white rabbit appears along the side of Mt. Azuma Kofuji. This acts as a symbol that the farming season has begun.
Mt. Issaikyo-yama itself stands at 1949m and hosted the magnificent Goshikinuma lake. We originally had the idea that this lake was accessible by car and would be as easily accessible as Kofuji but we were in for a surprising hiking treat! This cobalt blue lake is on the top of the mountain and can only be accessed through a 4 hour hike through a marsh and up the side of Mt. Issaikyo-yama. The hike also brought us past a sulphur vent which was neat. Nobody expected to be seriously hiking today so I think the group was a little hesitant to make the climb but I was so excited I literally bounced all the way up and down! Everyone did a really awesome job though and I’m proud of them for making it the whole way through. I don’t have any facts or interesting historical information on this one other then it’s last eruption was in 1977. I think my Uncle Brad would have loved hiking this place. Absolutely stunning.
Here are the rest of the pictures from this epic journey! Also, if anyone could explain what the strange blue line across the sky was that would be extremely helpful.