Mt. Ibuki (伊吹山)
Mt. Ibuki (Ibuki yama or Ibuki san,) is 1,377.3 meters high and the dominant peak in the Ibuki mountain range located in the border between Shige and Gifu Prefecture. It is the highest mountain in Shiga Prefecture and one of the hundred most celebrated mountains in Japan. It is a part of the Lake Biwa Quasi-National Park. The top of the mountain where the triangulation point is placed is in Maibara City, Shiga Prefecture.
From ancient days, it has been considered as a holy mountain where Yamatotakeru was defeated by the god of the mountain and injured. In ancient days, fuwanoseki, one of three seki (a checkpoint), was placed. With these circumstances, Mt. Ibuki has been known as utamakura (a place famed in classical Japanese poetry) since ancient days.
There are flower fields with a variety of wild grass spreading from the foot to the top of the mountain. The landscape is just grasslands with alpine plants. The main plants are Ruritorano (Veronica subsessilis), Nikkokisuge (Hemerocallis middendorffii var. esculenta), Metakarako (Ligularia stenocephala), Hakusanfuro (Geranium yesoemse var. nipponic), Kugaiso (Veronicastrum sibiricum), Obagiboshi (Hosta montana), Shishiudo (Angelica pubescens), Shimotsukeso (Filipendula multijuga). Also, the names of some plants are prefixed by 'Ibuki' such as Ibukireijinso (Aconitum chrysopilum Nakai), Ibukiazami (Cirsum confertissimum var. herbicola), Koibukiazami (Cirsium confertissimum), Ibukijakoso (Thymus quinquecostatus), Ibukitorikabuto (Aconitum japonicum Thunb. var. ibukiense (Nakai) Tamura).
On February 14, 1927, 11.82 meters of snow accumulation was observed. It is the world record of snow accumulation in the world mountains meteorological observation history. However, some people point out that snowdrift contributed to this record.
Mt. Ibuki was a submarine volcano which erupted tens of millions of years ago. Around that time, coral reefs were formed, therefore, it is known as a place where good limestone is produced.
Due to a sharp rise in demand for concrete and cement in the modern times, limestone in Mt. Ibuki has been mined in large volume.
In 1965, 'Ibukiyama driveway' between Sekigahara cho, Gifu Prefecture and around the top of the mountain was opened. Meihan Kintetsu Bus Corporation regularly provides mountain bus service from Sekigahara and Ogaki Station on holydays including weekends and summer vacation. Also, 'Meishin Highway Bus' (bus running on an expressway) started operating bus services bound for the top of Mt. Ibuki, from Osaka Station, Sakurabashi Exit in 1993 and from Nagoya Station in 2003.
Ibukiyama driveway' had been owned by Kintetsu Corporation and run by Meihan Kintetsu Bus Corporation. However, in 2006, it was transferred to Japan Automobile Road Corporation, a subsidiary of Macquarie Bank, an Australian investment bank and Kintetsu Corporation and Meihan Kintetsu Bus Corporation withdrew from its management. But, Meihan Kintetsu Bus continues to provide mountain bus service.
Mountain climbing ・ Sightseeing
Mt, Ibuki is not so far from Chukyo area and Keihanshin area and it is conveniently located with Tokaido Main Line and Meishin Expressway running through the foot of the mountain. Also, it is a well-known mountain with a lot of legends. Additionally, in the summer, it has a huge filed of wild grass and alpine flora on the top and visitors can easily get to the ninth station by car. For these reasons, it gains popularity as a sightseeing spot. The main tourist course is; you drive to the ninth station by car or bus, then, stroll on a path for walkers to the top. It has three paths for walkers you can choose and wearing shoes suitable for mountain hike is recommended. Of these three paths, the west path has a gentle slope, so, it is the most suitable for climbing up. The middle path directly run up to the top, so, it is the steepest and suitable for climbing down. The east path is not kept in good condition, so, it is only for climbing down (according to the sign).
There are swarms of five mountain huts on the top. They are open during daytime (10 to 16) as a stand and some of them also provide accommodations for taking a nap for tourists and climbers who want to pray to the rising sun from the summit of the mountain. So, it is available for them to stay in these huts for taking a nap in the middle of the night or before dawn.
There are several courses for climbing. Starting to climb at Mt. Ibuki ski resort on the Maibara City side is the most common course. This climbing trail is designated as Shiga prefectural road 268, Ibukiyama Ueno route, but automotive traffic is of course impossible. It is common that people climb to the third station on the path of the mountain by aerial lift or car. On their way to the top, there is a stand on the fifth station and a shelter on the sixth station. A lot of people climb it not only during daytime but also cool nighttime to pray to the rising sun from the summit of the mountain. On weekends, when you look at Mt. Ibuki in the middle of the night, you can see a line of flashlights climbers on the trail have. In the summer, the highway is available from 3 a.m., meeting the needs of climbers who come to pray to the rising sun. Around the third station on the trail path, a lot of wild grass is growing or planted. Therefore, some visitors come to only the third station to enjoy seeing these grass or flowers.
In the winter, people can enjoy skiing or snowboarding in Mt. Ibuki ski resort. However, these days, the available period when people can enjoy sliding become apparently shorter due to global warming.