Note: this post was re-posted from my old website, originally published in September 2016.
One day in summer, a few years back, I was looking for a short, couple-hour hike spot in Sendai, and I came across the name Mt. Taihaku. I’m going to call it Taihaku-san (太白山) from now on. This place is located not so far from Yagiyama, and it seemed not too hard to climb. I quickly took a city bus from Sendai station and stopped in a place called Nashino, about 30 minutes away from the city. Note: trip information is at the end of this article.
It is easy to spot Taihaku-san from the bus stop to its triangle shape. Perhaps a small hill would be a better description for Taihaku-san, given the size compared to real mountains. There is a nearby path from the bus stop leading towards the mountain, so I followed that path until I came across the three-way inside the forest.
The left path leads to Sendai natural observation forest. In contrast, the right one leads to Taihaku-san, so obviously, I chose the right one. After some elevation change, I arrived in a large clearing intended for a parking lot. There is a torii gate that symbolizes the entrance to the temple and the mountain trail.
Further into the trail, there are several wooden structures. One of them seems to function as a resting area. There is a little temple where the way into it is closed due to the broken concrete path. From this point on, the hike begins. The path to the peak can be easily seen from below, but you have to climb through many rocky spots to get there. This could be a bit difficult and dangerous at the same time since I saw so many warning signs about falling rocks and landslides. Never attempt the hike during rainy weather as it becomes very slippery and unsafe!
The ascent does not take too long, but it requires considerable strength and stamina as the elevation change is quite steep. Luckily there are ropes and chains everywhere to hold into, which makes the hike a little easier. Still, I had to focus and watched the stepping to avoid injury.
When I finally reached the peak, I felt a huge tinge of satisfaction. It was hot, and I was glad I could finally walk leisurely without having to constantly concentrate on my footing. Taihaku-san is only 321 meters tall, but it does command an excellent view overlooking Sendai and its vicinity. At the peak, there is a small prayer altar, part of the temple complex in Taihaku.
Since the weather was clear, I could see Sendai port and the sea beyond it. In the other direction, I could see the hills and mountains forming the mountainous region of Akiu and Sakunami. Since I came during the daytime, I wonder how the view would look during sunset. I kind of contemplated on whether I stay or not until the sun goes down, but then again, the descent with those rocky steps was dangerous under a low-light condition, so I opted to go back before dark.
On the way down, I took more time in appreciating the details I did not notice during the ascent. There were insects (cicadas to be precise) everywhere with their ‘min min min‘ voices resounding through the woods. Several hikers were going on this trail, almost all of them senior citizens. There were odd fruits on the top of the table in the resting area — wonder who put them there. All in all, it took me about half a day to experience the whole climb. Now, unto the next hike adventure!
From Sendai station bus pool no 10, take bus no 766 and alight in Nashino bus stop. Follow the nearby path that leads into the mountain. A one-way trip costs ¥530 and takes around 30 minutes.