Ushita Alps Part 2

watch out for bears on the ushita-yama trail

This is Part 2 of a 3 part series of posts describing the 7km trail between Peace Pagoda and Big Wave Swimming Pool in Ushita. See Part 1 for a general introduction to the trail, map and directions on how to get to the trail head.

Onaga-yama to Ushita-yama

From the summit of Onaga-yana, the trail passes a tall orange aviation warning light tower and soon descends through trees which quickly give way to ferns before when making a sharp right. From here descend for another 100m to a T-junction at which you go left.

Onaga-yama to Ushita-yama - 01

Onaga-yama to Ushita-yama - 02600m
Go right!

Onaga-yama to Ushita-yama - 03T-junction. Go left.

Onaga-yama to Ushita-yama - 04

This is the sign at the T-junction

Top to bottom
Futaba-yama with Ushita-yama ↓ hand written

The trailgoes down and up a couple of dips until a short sharp climb up some steps and under an electricity pylon.

Onaga-yama to Ushita-yama - 05

Onaga-yama to Ushita-yama - 06


This hike is known locally as the “Ushita Alps”, but it could also be called the “chimney pot trail” as there are old chimney pots (at least I assume that’s what I like to think they are) embedded in the ground along the trail for people do dispose of ash from cigarettes (though you also see other trash in them). The first of these chimney pots is in  small clearing after a short climb from the pylon.

Onaga-yama to Ushita-yama - 07

Chimney pot #1

 A few meters on you will see a sign and a small trail heading right. Ignore this and continue in your original line of travel.

Onaga-yama to Ushita-yama - 091000m

After a steep downhill followed by another couple of dips you reach chimney pot #2 at 1.2km. There is a bit of view from the rock a few meters ahead.

Onaga-yama to Ushita-yama - 11

Chimney pot #2 (1.2km)

Onaga-yama to Ushita-yama - 12

The trail then undulates over the next 100m to to chimney pot #3

Onaga-yama to Ushita-yama - 13

Onaga-yama to Ushita-yama - 14

Chimney pot #3 (1.3km)

At 1500m, the path splits, but either way is fine, though the left path is perhaps slightly steeper. The paths soon rejoin and head up to chimney pot #4 which is in a small clearing with a couple of makeshift benches and a nice view of some of Hiroshima’s urban sprawl and the shinkansen yard. at 1.6km. There is also a trig point here – Naka-yama?

Onaga-yama to Ushita-yama - 17

Chimney pot #4 (1.6km)

Onaga-yama to Ushita-yama - 18

Onaga-yama to Ushita-yama - 19

After a short steep descent on which you need to watch your footing you pass another sign with a trail to Nakayama-guchi [中山口] heading off to the right – ignore this and continue on in the direction of Hesaka-guchi [戸坂口].

Onaga-yama to Ushita-yama - 20

The trail flattens and then climbs to chimney pot #5, where there is also a bench.

Onaga-yama to Ushita-yama - 22

Chimney pot #5 (1.8km)

The trail now descends for around 200-300m passing chimney pot #6 on the left at 2km.

Onaga-yama to Ushita-yama - 23

Chimney pot #6 (2km)

The trail flattens a little further on and you’ll see a little stump turned into a stool by a piece of green tarp on the left and a log bench covered in fungi on the right. A trail goes off to the right, but you should keep heading straight.

Onaga-yama to Ushita-yama - 24
Now begins the stiffest climb since the the first climb from the trail head. You pass a cracked chimney pot (#7) and the forest starts to feel more dense.

Onaga-yama to Ushita-yama - 25Chimney pot #7

The trail rounds a bend to the right, flattening into one of the nicest sections of the whole route.

Onaga-yama to Ushita-yama - 26

At about 2.5km you reach a trail junction, the trail to the right going to Hesaka-minami [戸坂南], take the trail to the left.

Onaga-yama to Ushita-yama - 27
Onaga-yama to Ushita-yama - 28Follow the arrow to
Heasaka-guchi 戸坂口 (NOT Hesaka-minami 戸坂南!)
Ushita-yama 牛田山

Continue to climb steadily passing a bench on the left and bamboo stands on the right. The trail turns to steps and at 2.6km the trail forks. Both ways rejoin soon, but I usually take the left route.Onaga-yama to Ushita-yama - 29

The trail continues to climb and makes a couple of switchbacks, at the top of which the two trails rejoin at around 2.7km. A couple of hundred meters later there is one more sharp climb which has a rope for assistance if you need it.

Onaga-yama to Ushita-yama - 30

A few more meters along the path and you come into the open at the summit of Ushita-yama (261.1m). There a great views over the city and out to the islands. You can see Aki-no-ko-fuji – the “little Fuji” on Ninoshima almost directly ahead and Miyajima to the west (right) even on a cloudy day and much more when the weather is good. There are a couple of benches and a roughshod shelter with a table (and possibly some manga and girlie mags stuffed under the roof) and you’ll often find groups of elderly hikers enjoying a packed lunch up here.

Onaga-yama to Ushita-yama - 31
Onaga-yama to Ushita-yama - 32

Go to Part 3 :: Go back to Part 1

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.