Jonen to Choogatake traverse
Excellent long hike great views of Yari and Hotakas.
Difficulty: Easy/Moderate(long day out, no real technical challenges or exposure, take care when crossing snow patches on descent)
Following the trail leading from the parking lot to Mae Jonen, you climb through forest that changes in character as you gain elevation. As you see more and more evergreens you know you are getting close and passing the 2000m mark, once the view opens up it is breathtaking. In the south west you can sometimes see Mt Fuji peaking above clouds!
Once you gain the ridge and only thing growing around is the Japanese pine and flowers, it is a short traverse over and up to the Mt Jonen itself. With spectacular view of Yari gatake and Hotakas.
Rest take in the scenery then head towards descending traversre to Chogatake with appropriately beatiful views of surrounding mountains.
Trail is well worn and easy to follow. As you approach Chogatake you will find a small area with a big stone marker marking a place where climbers died in winter in a storm. From there it is a short walk over to the Sanso and the welcome beer. Take a break enjoy the gorgeous view of Hotaka and the famous Godzilla scale Mae Hotaka climbing route(one day!).
Bag the Chogatake “peak” then head down the trail back through the forest. Take care early in the season you will be crossing a some snow. Chogatake translates as Butterfly mountain, you will see many of them everywhere as you spend next few hours descending. Take picture, look at flowers rest as needed. Eventually you get to a lookout with a nice view of Azumino through the valley.
Another hour or so and we are back to the river and short walk over back to the parking lot. You are done. Whole trip took us about 9 hours. There is a lot of going up and down, but advantage is carrying lighter pack and moving faster.