Get Ready to Hike
Safe hiking and mountain climbing begins with a solid hiking plan. Before you do anything else, research the mountain and trails, consider your fitness and hiking experience (remember to take into consideration the weakest member of your group), and then decide which trail you will undertake and prepare your gear accordingly. Hiking, like any recreational physical activity, comes with some inherent risks. Hope for the best but prepare for the worst.
Collect information about the mountain
Research your trip using the most recent map and online/printed sources, and seek advice from experienced hikers and local authorities.
There are a few good guide books about Mt. Kurikoma, e.g. Yama-kei Publishers Co Ltd.
○Map (scale 1:25,000)
An essential item for your hike. Before you start, jot down any relevant information (alternative routes in case of emergency etc.) on the map for future reference.
Information about traffic conditions is available from the local government website. Be sure to check road conditions prior to and on the day of your hike.
Good weather is key to a successful hike. Make sure to check the weather forecast in advance and on the day of your hike. Unexpected weather is the number one cause of serious injury hikers, and weather on mountains can be particularly unpredictable. Early-morning starts are best, as most thunderstorms spring up suddenly in the heat of the afternoon. An early start will give you extra time to get to safety if the weather — or something else — goes wrong. The secret to real hiking safety is to know roughly what threats to expect from the region, and to be prepared for small things that can go wrong along the way. Go hiking under good weather conditions.
Ensure you check the weather forecast!
Japan Meteorological Corporation – Mt. Kurikoma weather forecast (栗駒山の天気)
Here you can view the weather forecast for Mt. Kurikoma, including temperature and wind speed by altitude.
Weathernews Central, Higashi Kurikoma, Omotegake and Uragake Trail Entrance (Kurihara, Miyagi)
Weathernews Sukawa and Tenmaone Trail Entrance (Ichinoseki, Iwate)
Here you can view the weather forecast for the two major trail entrances, the Chuo and Sukawa Trail Entrances.
Complete, submit and share your hiking plan
Ultimately, anyone who hikes Mt. Kurikoma is first and foremost personally responsible for their safety. However, in order to aid rapid rescue operations that are launched in the event of disaster, distress, or missing persons, hikers are required to complete and submit a mountain climbing notification and hiking plan. This plan includes information about your chosen route, schedule, equipment and provisions, number of group members and their details, and who to contact in case of emergency. Please also share your hiking plan with your group members, friends and family.
Consider the potential dangers of the hike and prepare accordingly. In the planning stages, it is essential that you factor in the potential for unforeseen accidents, bad weather or other disasters, and ensure you have a thorough understanding of alternate routes, and have notified the appropriate authorities or individuals ahead of your hike (should a rescue operation become necessary). Japan is a nation of many islands prone to a lot of natural disasters such as typhoons, earthquakes, and volcanic eruptions. Please consider the reality that however unlikely it may seem, there is always a chance that a natural disaster may occur during your hike. Preparation is key.
Mt. Kurikoma is an active volcano. It has lain dormant since its last eruption in 1944. There are some craters around the Sukawa trail. Please note that high concentrations of toxic volcanic gases may accumulate in places of lower altitude such as recesses and valleys. If you notice that there may be something wrong with the volcano, such as a bad smell, earthquakes or unusual changes, make sure to evacuate to a place of safety as soon as possible.
Japan Meteorological Agency
The Japan Meteorological Agency website provides information about the volcanoes of Mt. Kurikoma.
It is highly recommended that you confirm your travel insurance covers activities including mountain climbing and hiking. Having this insurance will significantly reduce personal costs in the event of injury, illness or other occurrences such as natural disasters.