Ushita Alps Part 1

Ushita-yama, unsurprisingly, looks over the neighborhood of Ushita in Higashi-ku. The summit is only 261m, but offers nice views over the city and out to Etajima and Miyajima.

The well-maintained and popular 7km trail runs between Yamane-cho, on the mountain north of Hiroshima Shinkansen Station, where MAHOGANY restaurant is located, and Higashi-ku Sports Center and the Big Wave swimming pool and skate rink consists of a series of fairly steep, but short up and downs interspersed with some pleasant (but also short) flat sections.

Distance: Approx 7km with escape routes along the way

Difficulty: Moderate

Time required:

This series of 3 posts describes the trail as it runs from east to west, starting at the Yamane-cho trail head. You can get to the trail head by following the Futaba-yama/Peace Pagoda hike or by walking up the narrow, winding road that climbs the mountain from Hikari-machi and passed Sakuragaoka High School. It also includes a short out and back (only a few hundred meters) to Mitate-yama, the hike up to which from Ushita (Big Wave) Astram Line station is described here.

This trail runs above local neighborhoods and is fairly near the train lines. Noise of the trains and traffic does carry up here, but you’ll also hear birdsong (and screeching cicadas and chirping crickets in summer) as well as the sounds of school sports practices, neighborhood announcements and, sometimes, the sound of classical Japanese music being practiced in local meeting halls. There are vending machines at the start and finish of the hike, but there is no water on the mountain. Cell reception isn’t bad, though Softbank does struggle on sections between Ushita-yama and Mitate-yama.

You’ll see ample evidence of inoshishi wild boar activity and there is a good chance you’ll spot the odd boar if you hit the trail near dusk. I have seen many boars (and heard many more), but have not had any confrontation yet – even on one occasion when I was caught between a mother and a swirling group of excited babies. That said, avoiding dusk is probably advisable.

Yamane-guchi Trail head to Onaga-yama

We start at the 5-way intersection on the corner of which MAHOGANY is located, and which ends our description of the Peace Pagoda Hike. Get to the trail head by walking up the road that climbs next to the restaurant parking lot – you’ll see a hiking map on the left.

Yamane-cho to Onaga-yama - 01

Yamane-cho to Onaga-yama - 02

Head up the road for about 200m following it around as it bends left. You’ll see a small trail heading straight along a wall as the road makes a sharp right. This is the trail head, indicated by a small sign on the wall.

Yamane-cho to Onaga-yama - 03

Yamane-cho to Onaga-yama - 04

Follow the red arrow to Onaga-yama [尾長山] and Ushita-yama [牛田山]

Yamane-cho to Onaga-yama - 05

Looking back, you’ll see Futaba-yama and the Peace Pagoda.

Yamane-cho to Onaga-yama - 06

The trail makes it’s way behind some apartment buildings and then begins to climb quite steeply. In wet conditions it can get quite slippy so watch your footing.

Yamane-cho to Onaga-yama - 07

Yamane-cho to Onaga-yama - 08

Yamane-cho to Onaga-yama - 09

There are ropes in a couple of sections which can be helpful if it is slippery, especially if you return this way.

Yamane-cho to Onaga-yama - 10

There are some larger rocks as your near the top of Onaga-yama, but they are pretty easy to negotiate.

Yamane-cho to Onaga-yama - 11

After about 500m of walking you reach the top of Onaga-yama (185.7m) so named, it is thought for the long spur that extends to the southeast. On a good day, this rocky outcrop makes for a great picnic spot!

Yamane-cho to Onaga-yama - 12

Onaga-yama summit (500m)

From here, there is a good view over the Peace Pagoda and over city to the west.

Yamane-cho to Onaga-yama - 13

Yamane-cho to Onaga-yama - 14Top to bottom
Onaga-yama summit

Yamane-cho to Onaga-yama - 15Follow the arrow pointing to Ushita-yama [牛田山]

Go to Ushita-yama Part 2

Paul Walsh

Paul arrived in Hiroshima "for a few months" back in 1996. He is the co-founder of and loves running in the mountains.