Mt. Seppiko (Wikipedia) is a collection of vertical crags located due north of Himeji city in Hyogo Prefecture. The cliff faces attract rock climbers from all over Japan, while the well-marked hiking path affords breathtaking views into the valley far below. It’s one of the more challenging hikes in Kansai.
The bus to the trailhead was discontinued in 2010, so you really need your own transport to complete the hike. The bus, however, does run to within 5km of the start of the hike, so you could always walk a little farther. From the north exit of Himeji station, take bus #51 bound for Yamanouchi (山之内) and get off at the last stop. There’s one bus at 7:40am, but the next one doesn’t depart until 12:35am, so you can see why having a car will give you a huge advantage. Click here for the Shinki bus website.
Route: From the parking lot, head uphill, crossing the river on a metal bridge until reaching a collection of wooden bungalows. There’s a small campground on your left, and a shack on your right housing the caretaker of the facilities. There’s a box here where you can register your hiking intentions, which is an excellent idea if you’re out on your own. On the left side of the road, just adjacent to the bungalows, you’ll see a steep path heading into the forest via some wooden log steps. Take this trail and prepare yourself for a whirlwind of a climb up to the ridge. There’s really no place to go but up, following the switchbacks and fluorescent pink arrows up, over, and around some rock formations. After an hour of so you’ll reach Izumo Rock (出雲岩), an impressive mass of stone that is extremely popular with expert climbers.
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