For anyone hiking along the Central Alps from Mount Kiso-Koma, (Kiso-koma-ga-take) up to Mount Utsugi-Dake, the first thing you will need to decide is where to stay overnight! Since this hike takes about 10-12 hours to complete it’s almost impossible to do in a day. Unless of course you’re superman!
For most people, the best place to start is from the top of Senjoiki Cable Car Station. From this point you can do the 6-8 hour hike up to the peak of Kisondo Sanso where a mountain hut awaits you.
Naturally, this is what I had originally planned on doing since this option allows a shorter and more comfortable hike on the second day. Unfortunately, I arrived several hours later than expected. Consequently, this meant having to shorten the first days hike to 4 hours in order to make it in time for the last hours of daylight. This change of plan now involved staying overnight at the closer peak of Hinoki-Dake where a small emergency hut and tiny campground awaited me.
Although a fairly low-key spot, this area proved to be an excellent place for staying overnight as it strategically overlooks several valleys below and is perfectly placed to catch sunrise