Vegetarian's Japan Guide

A Guide to Exploring and Climbing the Stunning Mt. Murone

Mt. Murone (室根山) is Ichinoseki‘s perfect spot to enjoy nature and a range of outdoor activities. Besides hiking trails, lookouts, and camping sites, it has an astronomical observatory. The mountain has a height of 895 meters. On a clear day, you can enjoy a 360-degree panoramic mountainous and ocean view from the summit.

Most parts of the mountain trail are earthen roads. A return trip at a relaxing speed from the trailhead usually takes 3.5 to 4 hours. Instead of hiking, driving to the summit is also possible.

From late May to early June, more than 200,000 azaleas covering the mountain from the summit will bloom. An azalea festival is usually held in front of the astronomical observatory.

The fall foliage scenery is also amazing at Mt. Murone.

Important: You can only climb to Mt. Murone’s 5th station in winter due to heavy snowfall.

Ⓒ 一関市観光協会

You can also experience paragliding here! Refer to MAPS Paraglider School’s official website HERE for more information. You can translate it to English using Google Chrome’s translation function at the right of the address bar.

Arizuka Park (蟻塚公園)

During the cherry blossom season, visit Arizuka Park at Mt. Murone’s 3rd station. There are 200 cherry trees in the park, which bloom from late April to early May. It is when the Arizuka Park Cherry Blossom Festival is held, attracting many tourists as events are also held there.

Furthermore, it is also the trailhead of Mt. Murone, so you might spot climbers in hiking gear gathering at the park.

  • The park is a 10-minute drive from JR Orikabe Station (折壁駅).
    • It takes around 60 minutes from JR Ichinoseki Station (一ノ関駅) to Orikabe Station by train.

Murone Shrine (室根神社)

The Murone Shrine at the 8th station has a 1,300-year history. The precincts and shrine buildings give a sense of grandeur and is a place to feel the history.

At the back of Murone Shrine, there are also 33 Kannon statues. It is said that Sakanoue no Tamuramaro (坂上田村麻呂), a famous court noble and shōgun of the early Heian period (794 – 1185), prayed for victory in war. Minamoto no Yoshitsune (源義経) is another famous historical military commander from the Heian period who prayed at Murone Shrine.

Kirara Muronesan Astronomical Observatory (きらら室根山天文台)

Kirara Muronesan Astronomical Observatory is an astronomical observatory located on the south side of the summit of Mt. Murone. A reflecting telescope with a diameter of 50cm and a refracting telescope with a diameter of 15 cm are equipped here. This allows visitors to observe the sunspots and prominences during the day and stars and nebulas at night.

Tip: The toilet next to the observatory can be used 24/7.

Kirara Muronesan Astronomical Observatory’s Opening Hours, Admission Fees, and Access Information

  • Kirara Muronesan Observatory is open from
    • 1:30 pm to 5 pm and 7:30 pm to 9:30 pm from April to August
    • 1:30 pm to 4:30 pm and 7 pm to 9:30 pm from September to November
  • The observatory is closed on Tuesdays and Wednesdays.
  • The admission fees are:
    • 330 yen for adults
    • 160 yen for elementary and junior high school students
  • The park is a 30-minute drive from JR Orikabe Station (折壁駅).
    • It takes around 60 minutes from JR Ichinoseki Station (一ノ関駅) to Orikabe Station by train.

Bōyōtai Camping Ground (望洋平キャンプ場)

Bōyōtai Camping Ground is at the 8th station of Mt. Murone, which offers spectacular natural scenery. As its name has suggested, you can overlook the Pacific Ocean during the day.

At night, the night view of Kesennuma City (気仙沼市) and the fishing lights lining the horizon are magical. If you are lucky, you might even see the sea of clouds from the camping ground!

Besides camping sites, it also has bungalows if you prefer a more comfortable stay.

Refer to Bōyōtai Camping Ground’s official website HERE for tent sites, bungalows, and camping equipment rental costs.

☛ It is best if you can understand basic Japanese to visit Bōyōtai Camping Ground.
☛ Mobile reception is weak here.
☛ There are no rubbish bins at Bōyōtai Camping Ground. Please bring your rubbish home.

  • Bōyōtai Camping Ground is open from Wednesday to Monday from May to October.
    • The camping ground’s office is open from 9 am to 5 pm.
    • Check-in is from 1 pm to 5 pm, and check-out is by 11 am.

Discover Other Attractions in Ichinoseki

Click the photo for more information about Ichinoseki’s attractions!

Of course, Mt. Murone isn’t the only recommended spot in Ichinoseki to visit. The city has a wealth of beautiful natural landscapes and is the perfect destination for a weekend getaway from the big city’s hustle and bustle.

So refer to our article on Ichinoseki to further plan your visit!

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