Mount Akita-Komagatake (秋田駒ヶ岳) is with an altitude of 1637 meters one of the highest mountains in Akita Prefecture and the second highest mountain in Towada-Hachimantai National Park. It is an active volcano that last erupted in 1970-71. The mountain has multiple peaks and a network of relatively easy trails with attractive views that make for a rewarding few hours of hiking.
The main trailhead for hiking Akita-Komagatake is located at the mountain's 8th Station (about 80% up the mountainside) at an elevation of 1305 meters. Because of the limited capacity of the parking lot there, the access road is closed to private cars on weekends and public holidays from June to October and everyday from late June to late August. During these periods a shuttle bus is in operation.
There are a couple of trails that lead from the 8th Station up the mountain. The most popular trail is about 2.4 kilometers long and winds around the western side of the mountain to the centrally located Amida Pond (Amidaike), from where different trails lead to the different peaks. It should take under an hour to reach the pond along an easy trail with nice views down into the valley.
The highest of Mount Akita-Komagatake's peaks is Onamedake (男女岳), with an easily accessible round summit 100 meters above Amida Pond to the north. The second highest of the peaks is Odake (男岳) south of the pond. The trail leading there is considerably steeper and rougher, but comes with more rewarding views into the mountain's main crater and the lightly smoking Medake (女岳) on one side and down onto Lake Tazawa on the other side.
Although most visitors to Akita-Komagatake will only hike from the 8th station to Mount Onamedake and/or Mount Odake and back, there are a number of other trails that more ambitious hikers can enjoy, including a more time consuming trail around the entire main crater or a trail to Nyuto Onsen.
Akita-Komagatake is well known for its variety of alpine flowers from June to August. The area is also nice in early to mid October during the autumn color season. While the walking trails themselves are above the treeline, views of a colorful sea of trees down in the valley can be enjoyed from above. During the winter the mountain is for the most part inaccessible.
The road to the 8th Station of Mount Akita-Komagatake is closed to private vehicles on weekends and public holidays from June to October and everyday from late June to late August. During these periods, you can park your car on the Arupa Komakusa parking lot and catch a shuttle bus from there to the 8th Station (25 minutes, 630 yen one way, departures every 30-60 minutes). The road to the 8th Station is completely closed during winter from late October through late May.
The 8th Station of Mount Akita-Komagatake is served by public transportation only on the days when the road is closed to private vehicles. That is on weekends and public holidays from June to October and everyday from late June to late August. On these days, shuttle buses run every 30-60 minutes between Arupa Komakusa and the 8th Station (25 minutes, 630 yen one way), with some of them running all the way to/from Tazawako Station (60 minutes, 1050 yen one way).