Panoramas and picnics under the Sakura: Mt. Kitayama

Former ski field turned into a Sakura-lover’s paradise on the outskirts of Murayama City

A stroll through the Sakura of Mt. Kitayama in Murayama City, in inland Yamagata Prefecture.

How could Mt. Kitayama make the 100 Famous Mountains of Yamagata list?

The view from Mt. Kitayama in Murayama City with Mt. Koshikidake and Mt. Okina in the background, and sakura in the foreground.
Expansive views of the surrounding mountains, such as Mt. Okina (far left between the cherry blossoms) and Mt. Koshikidake (tallest peak in the picture) await from the summit of Mt. Kitayama.
  • Number of visitors to the mountains, starting with locals
  • Mountains that have played a huge role in the lives of locals
  • Mountains with great views or other special appeal that makes you want to share the place with others

How did Mt. Kitayama come to be?

A path lined with daffodils waves through the Sakura of Mt. Kitayama
The paths up Mt. Kitayama are lined with daffodils that bloom in the spring with the cherry blossoms
The small hut at the summit of Mt. Kitayama with its distinctive red roof stands out above the cherry blossoms
Carpark in foreground, summit in background. Yes, Mt. Kitayama’s summit is that close.

Mt. Kitayama Climbing Season

The hut at the summit of Mt. Kitayama with its distinctive red roof, and view of inland Yamagata Prefecture.
The hut at the summit of Mt. Kitayama with its distinctive red roof. The rope for the Happiness Bell is also visible.

Getting to Mt. Kitayama

A map of Mt. Kitayama showing the paths that weave up the mountain through the Sakura
The map of Mt. Kitayama you can pick up from the bottom. Notice the winding routes through the Sakura.

The ‘Casual Stroll’ Trail (40min return)

A sign stopping cars from entering hangs across the entrance from the base of Mt. Kitayama, cars aren’t allowed past there, but people certainly are.
The entrance from the base of Mt. Kitayama, cars aren’t allowed past there, but people certainly are.

The ‘A little bit of effort and you make it to the Gazebo’ trail (16 minutes return)

The Bell of Happiness at the summit of Mt. Kitayama.
The Bell of Happiness at the summit of Mt. Kitayama.

Mt. Kitayama: In conclusion

The view of Murayama City and inland Yamagata Prefecture from the Bell of Happiness at the summit of Mt. Kitayama.
The view of Murayama City and inland Yamagata Prefecture from the Bell of Happiness at the summit of Mt. Kitayama.

Nearby locations worth checking out

Green Wood Coffee

Hayashizaki Iai Shrine

An Iai Master wields a sword at the Hayashizaki Iai Shrine in Murayama City.
An Iai Master at Hayashizaki Iai Shrine in Murayama City.

Mt. Hayama (Murayama)

Mt. Taruishiyama

Mt. Kitayama in Murayama City | 北山 (村山)| きたやま(村山)

Mt. Kitayama is Known for:

  • Hill covered in Sakura, perfect for a stroll
  • Panoramic views over Murayama City, inland Yamagata Prefecture, and the surrounding mountains‌‌

Mt. Kitayama Map

Yamabushi Newsletter

Tim Bunting Kiwi Yamabushi on Zao-san. Photo owned by Kiwi Yamabushi.

100 Famous Mountains of Yamagata Peaks

  1. Exploring The Yamabushi Trails of Kinbo-zan
  2. Sakura Mountain: Arakura-yama
  3. Whetting your appetite for wetlands on Takadate-yama
  4. The Hidden Side of Haguro-san (Haguro Kodo)
  5. The Shogun and the Falcon, How I “Conquered” Japan: Nihon-koku
  6. Dancing in the Dawn Lillies: Shoga-dake and The Fuji of The North
  7. Bananas and Cokes, Leaches and Pit Vipers: Kumanonaga-mine
  8. Reaching Peak Tranquility on Atsumi-dake
  9. Sanze’s Little Helper: Fujikura-yama
  10. The Dewa Sanzan’s “Mountain of Death” — Gassan
  11. The Dewa Sanzan’s “Mountain of Rebirth” — Yudono-san
  12. Womb Passes and Monkey Crossings: Kyogakura-yama — The Shugendo Peak of Sutras
  13. Mythical Beasts, Buddha’s Mother and Buried Yamabushi Treasure? Welcome to Maya-san
  14. The Widow’s Peak: Ubaga-take
  15. The Epitome of Autumn Leaves in North Japan: Taizo-san
  16. Mother. Hunter. Mountain. Hokari-yama
  17. Homer Simpson’s Heaven in North Japan: The Donut-shaped Yonetaihei-zan
  18. The Medieval Castle and Mighty River of Yamuki-yama
  19. Panoramas and picnics under the Sakura: Kita-yama
  20. Yozo-san: White Snakes, White Monkeys and Slimy Salamanders
  21. Abandoned Ski Field and Phantom Forest of Tsuchiyu-yama (Mt. Tsuchiyu)
  22. Turtles, Tigers, and a Legendary Japanese Character: Kamewari-yama
  23. Zao-san and Why We Climb Mountains
  24. Japan Has Pyramids? — Yakushi-san and The OG Japan content creator
  25. Venerable Old Man Mountain — The Mist and Mystery of Okina-san
  26. Why this mountain is EVERYWHERE in Japan — Murayama Ha-yama
  27. The Mt. Fuji of North Japan: Chokai-san

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I share little-known aspects of Japan and Japanese culture and have a weekly newsletter just for you! https://www.timbunting.com/newsletter.

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Kiwi Yamabushi

I share little-known aspects of Japan and Japanese culture and have a weekly newsletter just for you! https://www.timbunting.com/newsletter.