Written by Nupur Jena
Archery In A Volcanic Crater?! The Unique Charm Of Mount Omuro, Izu
Mount Omuro is a volcanic mountain in the Izu Peninsula. The scenic views that can be enjoyed from atop, the traditions related to this mountain and unique experiences such as doing archery in the crater are some of the charms of this peak.
Mount Omuro, or Omuro-yama as it is called in Japanese, is a 580-meter high volcanic cone situated on the eastern side of the Izu Peninsula. Formed about 5,000 years ago, it has been revered as a holy mountain by the people of the Izu Peninsula. They believe that the mountain brings safety for their ships and a good haul of fish.
In the center of the mountain there is a large crater. There is a hiking trail around it and the visitors can enjoy a thrilling hike.
In this article, we will be introducing some of the charming points of Mount Omuro and tips on how you can enjoy climbing it.
The Walking Trail and Panoramic View from Mount Omuro
One of the ways to climb to the summit is to take the paved path. The subtle breeze and the beautiful views will have a relaxing effect upon the hikers making them forget about the hustle and bustle of the city.
You can enjoy a pleasant walk around the mountain summit, which offers clear views of the ocean, of the surrounding green hills and of the blue peaks that go on as far as you can see. The crater is around 300 meters in diameter and the path along its edge is offers breathtaking panoramic views. On a clear day, you can see the Izu Islands, Hakone, Mt. Fuji and the resort town of Izu-Kogen.
The slopes of the mountain are covered with grass which makes it look like a soft pillow. The mountain changes its colors every season and it's exciting to look at it from afar.
In the summer, it is yellow and green, because of the fresh leaves, in autumn it is covered with light yellow pampas grass and in winter it is completely white. What a view!
Using the Chair Lift to Reach the Summit
The summit cannot be reached by foot, so there is a chair lift service. Visitors can take the chair lift up the mountain which costs about 500 yen for a round-trip. One can enjoy an unobstructed 360-degree panorama with a view stretching as far as Fuji-Hakone and the Izu Islands. By taking the chair lift you'll reach the summit in 5 minutes. Please note that ticket sales stop 15 minutes before closing.
The chair lift ride is fun in itself. When you descend, you will have an expansive view in front of you. The sight of the large golf courses and of the greenery all around will make your heart pound at the vastness of the mountain. You don't need to worry if you are afraid of heights, as the slope is always close to your feet. The slope of the crater is very gentle.
Yamayaki Event at Mount Omuro
Every year, on the second Sunday in February, the vegetation is burned off the mountainside. As a result of this practice, the distinctive cone shape of Mount Omuro will come into view. It is fascinating to witness this event. This practice of burning the grass is called “Yamayaki”.
The tradition has started as a practice to clean the mountain by burning out old grass and insects that could damage the vegetation and the farms. It is also a way to ensure the growth of new grass. In early spring, the mountain becomes black because of the Yamayaki. This traditional event has been held for more than 700 years. A large number of international visitors and locals gather to see this event at the light of the torches.
Enjoy Archery within the Crater of the Volcano!
How does the thought of doing archery within a volcano sound? Believe it or not, at Mount Omuro this unique experience is possible! Inside the crater of the mountain, archery butts have been set up and a small office rents bows and arrows (approximately 1000 yen per hour for access and rental). Visitors who seek adventure will surely love this activity. One of the highlights of visiting Mt. Omuro is the thrill of standing at the center of the volcanic mountain and doing archery.
At the foot of the mountain, there is a park called 'Sakura-no-sato'. There are over 3000 cherry trees of 35 different varieties, which bloom from September to April. It is accessible by bus from the Ito or Izu Kogen stations.
How to Get to Mount Omuro
Mount Omuro can be reached by bus from Ito Station (35 minutes) or from Izu Kogen Station (15 minutes). From the station, take the Tokai bus and get off at "Shaboten Koen" bus stop. It is located in Ito City in Shizuoka Prefecture, less than three hours from Tokyo by local train.
When you visit Izu, do enjoy a hike on Mount Omuro and take in the beautiful sights from above!