By Kim B
Towering up above the countryside of Sanjo in Niigata Prefecture is a rock formation sitting 200 meters high. Known as Yagigahana, the rock is made from quartz trachyte and its appearance is said to differ throughout the year with the changing of the seasons. On my visit during the summer months the surrounding area was lush and green, but the changing leaves of autumn and blossoming trees throughout spring are also said to be particularly beautiful.
There is the option to camp by Yagigahana from around late April to November if you'd like to soak up the natural beauty of the region - outside those months the area is blanketed in snow. There are ten tent sites available at a cost of 1000 for daytime only usage or 2000 yen for an overnight stay. Two cabins are also available if you would prefer a bit more comfort than a campsite, at a cost of 8000 yen (daytime use) or 12,000 yen (overnight).
Do note that if you reserve a cabin it comes equipped with beds for four people, air conditioning, a refrigerator, electric cooker and indoor toilet, however bed linens are on a bring your own basis. Reserving a campsite or cabin requires a phone call - unfortunately they do not accept email reservations at this point in time - so you may need to enlist the help of a Japanese speaker.
Yagigahana is located in Sanjo, Niigata Prefecture, approximately a 50 minute drive from the Sanjo-Tsubame Interchange on the Hokuriku Expressway. There is plenty of free parking available at the site.
Bus facilities also operate from Tsubame Sanjo Station to the area. Take the Higashisanjo -Yagigahana Onsen bus line operated by the Echigo Kotsu Bus Company to the Yagigahana Onsen stop, which is the last stop on the route.
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