In May, I went back once more to Nikko. This time, I climbed Mount Nyoho (女峰山), the sister peak to the better-known (and barely higher) Mount Nantai (男体山). At 2483m, it was the highest point during my year in Japan. This is the trail I did (except I started at the Futarasan Shrine).
In the morning, I had to wake up very early in order to catch the first JR train to Nikko. Tobu trains are faster but they also start later. In Nikko, I took the bus to the start of the trail: It is located near Futarasan Shrine, in the World Heritage area. It was a hard and long climb (9.5km to the summit of Mount Nyoho, with 1900m of elevation gain) through forests and fields of stones and I crossed path with surprisingly few people for a Saturday. The view at the summit was awesome. For the way down, I first walked on the ridge until Mount Taishaku (帝釈山) then I headed down in the general direction of Mount Nantai. There was still a lot of snow left on that trail so I had to go very slowly. I then followed a road for a bit then turned left on a trail towards Nikko. I walked until I reached a shrine and the Jakko-no-taki waterfall (寂光ノ滝). I then hitchhiked my way back to the World Heritage area in order to catch a bus to the train station.
Above, Nikko JR station.
Above, at the Nishi-Sando (西参道) bus stop.
Above, torii of Futarasan shrine. The path is on the left of the torii.
Above, at the beginning, the path goes along Futarasan Shrine.
Above, shrine at the start of the forest trail.
Above, there was an area with many azalea trees.
Above, Mount Nantai.
Above, looking back towards Nikko.
Above, Mount Nantai (left) and Mount Omanago (right).
Above, statue of Fudo near the hut on the way up.
Above, shrine near the summit.
Above, view from the summit of Mount Nyoho: Mount Komanago, Mount Omanago and Mount Nantai, now covered with some clouds.
Above, ridge towards Mount Taishaku.
Above, Mount Oku-Shirane (奥白根山).
Above, on the way to Mount Taishaku.
Above, looking back at the summit of Mount Nyohou.
Above, view from the summit of Mount Taishaku.
Above, snow on the way down.
Above, this road also leads to the start of a trail to Mount Nantai.
Above, Mount Nyoho and Mount Taishaku.
Above, on the trail back to Nikko.
Above, more azalea.
Above, Jakko waterfall at the end of the trail.