bug ball trail - TRAIL

bug ball trail - Trail, Yamagata, Japan

joe again. ummm, yeah found this trail just recently. it is a very fun trail that is perfect for beginners as it has no technical sections.
to get to the trailhead at tamamushinuma (ball+bug+pond thus, bug ball trail) the quickest and easiest way is to go to yamanobe chugakko (middle school) which is in the north-(and very far)west edge of yamanobe. a good way to find the road i mean is to follow rt.18 due west from yamabe station. at the intersection when it takes a 90degree rt turn to go along the mountains, keep going straight into them. it will turn into a narrow road. as you see the middle school field on your left, the road forks; one going right/up and one going left/down. right/up will get you to the trail which exits on the left/down road.
continue on the road up and over the first mountain/hill. at the bottom on the other side, this small road touches rt.18 for the first time. i like to continue on the small road rather than on 18. you will climb again and, by staying on this road, you will eventually meet 18 again when the small road you are on Ts. turn left and you are about 200meters from the 3-way intersection you want. 18 goes straight and continues down the other side of the range to asahi-machi. instead, take the left at the covered bus stop and vending machines (you will also see a sign with a sheep on it and indicating that the left will bring you to yamagata golf club). follow this road about 2 kilometers or so and you will come to tamamushinuma on your right. look immediately to your left and you will see a strange little parking lot. the dirtroad next to it is the trail.
this is just a really fun access road for all of the powerline towers that go down to yamanobe. stay on the main trail the whole way. there are some off shoots that might be fun. feel free to explore, i havent had a lot of time recently, but most go up to the adjacent towers. at one point the trail seems to fork. there is some kind of warning sign about unauthorized motor vehicles. go that way (left). the only downer about this trail (other than it not being much longer) is that there is a set of stairs in the middle (about 100 steps. ride them if you like but they are very mossy and slick so dont break you ribs/clavicle on them. other than that, go like hell. a friend and i cleared a lot of fallen trees but we left some for you to duck under. at the bottom, follow the road down and you will end up where you started the climb.
(*be respectful of the temples nearby. also, take the time to check out a REALLY big, old tree near the parking lot at the top of the road where you exit. if you follow the road where you exit up to its terminus, there is a small parkinglot/turn around area. you will see a trail up to the temple looking east. there is a lower trail the also heads east. to the right of that trail are some totally rotten stairs. walk down them and go anther 30 meters. there is an amazing old tree. wow. big.)




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