At 1,982 m, Mount Ishizuchi is the highest mountain on Shikoku and also the highest mountain in western Japan. Its name means “stone hammer”, taken from the sharply angled shape of its peak.
The mountain is an important object of worship in this region and one of the major centres of Shugendo, a sect mixing Shintoism and Buddhism. Various shrines can be found on the mountain. The mountain is also sacred to the fishermen of the Seto Inland Sea who use its peak as a landmark. Many boats fly a pennant showing the first kanji of the mountain’s name as a mark of respect.
There are several sets of heavy chains leading up the cliffs to the summit to assist those who wish to climb, although there’s an alternate walking route.
The climbing season opens every year on July 1, and women are forbidden to climb the mountain on this day. Between mid-October and mid-November, many people come to view the autumn colours, and later in the winter to see the snow.
Saijo is the starting point for the Ishizuchi Tozan Ropeway, a cable car that goes about three-quarters of the way up the mountain.
Snowmelt from Ishizuchi seeps down through the porous rock of the mountain, rising in springs in Saijo, which is known for its abundant pure water and sake breweries.
Name in Japanese: 石鎚山
Address: Mount Ishizuchi, Wakayama, Kumakogen, Kamiukena District, Ehime 791-1710