Climb Mt. Nosoko

Mt. Nosoko, or 'Nosoko Maapee' as it is more commonly known, is not a particularly high mountain, but its distinctive peak along with the magnificent views which it offers make it a prime hiking destination. In fact, I'd go as far to say that climbing Nosoko Maapee is one of THE activities that visitors to Ishigaki island should try to work into their schedules.
 
Mt. Nosoko SummitOn arrival at Nosoko Maapee's peak I was rewarded with one of the finest views that Ishigaki has to offer

At a height of just 282 meters the full hike to Mt. Nosoko's summit takes about 45 minutes and if you take the shortcut then you can be there within 15 minutes. When you finally arrive at the peak you'll find a collection of large boulders which are perched upon a huge cylindrical rock. It is this rock that gives the mountain it's unmistakable appearance which can be identified from many miles away. Legend has it that one of these rocks is the remains of a local girl, 'Maapee', whose broken heart led to climb the mountain where she then turned to stone.

The best view on Ishigaki?
 
After having lived on Ishigaki island for over a year I've come somewhat accustomed to its natural beauty, yet even I was taken aback by the beautiful panorama which presented itself before us when we finally reached the peak. Hirakubo's mountainous peninsula extends to the north and to the west the view of Nosoko's coastline was beautiful. I could make out Kabira bay and Club Med in the distance and and to the east I could see a huge stretch of Ishigaki's coastline down to the Tamatorizaki viewpoint and beyond. On a clear day this is definitely one of the best, if not the best view to be found on Ishigaki island.
 
The view from the top of Mt. Nosoko is absolutely stunningThe town of Nosoko as viewed from the peak of Nosoko Maapee.
 
progress markers are positioned along the courseThe trail is well marked and there are signs which provide progress info along the way.
Climb Mt. Omoto or Mt. Nosoko?
 
In my opinion the view from Mt. Nosoko surpasses that offered by Mt. Omoto. While Omoto's height means that more of the island can be seen it is also a disadvantage as the ever-present haze which is a product of Ishigaki's humid climate can limit visibility over long distances.
 
Haze is less of an issue from Nosoko Maapee's summit which offers far better coastal views; the contrasting shades of blue reflecting from the surrounding reefs produces a scene which is quite stunning.
 
However, if you're seeking a longer hike then Mt. Omoto is clearly a better choice. Also, once you've climbed Omoto you can proudly proclaim that you've conquered Okinawa's highest mountain (although going on to mention the actual height is likely to dampen any impression made).
 
Climbing Mt Nosoko - don't slipClearly beige shorts and trainers were a mistake - this section of the trail can get very slippy.
Watch your step
 
In terms of physical exertion just about anybody should be able to climb Nosoko Maapee, however, there are parts of the trail which are moderately challenging, particularly after rain. On some of the steeper inclines the surface consists of a combination of mud and clay and in wet conditions this can quickly turn into a treacherous sludge. Ropes have been tied to trees along the course to assist hikers, but even then it's easy to take a tumble if you're not wearing appropriate footwear (a lesson which I learnt twice in as many minutes).
 
Some of the ropes looked rather frayed too so it's best to expect the unexpected and keep your wits about you during the climb. Another issue is wind at the peak where gusts can really catch you by surprise. We climbed Mt. Nosoko on a reasonably calm day and even then there were times when it was difficult to stand up on the rocks at the summit due to strong winds.
 
Wildlife
 
The thing which surpised me the most when I climbed Nosoko Maapee was the fact that I encountered almost no wildlife whatsoever, which is interesting given that Omoto's trail was crawling with spiders and lizards. There is no shortage of tropical plants on the trail so I attribute the absence of life to the time of year; I climed Mt. Nosoko in late February whereas I climbed Mt. Omoto in September. However, there were a fair few mosquitos and I don't recall being bitten at all while climbing Mt.Omoto. Consequently I'd definitely recommend insect repellent.
 
Shortcut
 
Shortcut entranceShortcut entrance as viewed when travelling from Ibaruma along the mountain road. The sign is easy to miss if you're traveling the other way from Nosoko.
One of the reasons why Mt. Nosoko is preferred over Mt. Omoto is that shortcut to the peak which can be accessed via the mountain road which runs between the north of Nosoko and Ibaruma on the eastern coast of the Hirakubo peninsula. This road passes close to the peak of Mt. Nosoko and there is a sign which indicates an entrance to the trail.
 
A small parking area (layby) is positioned nearby. If you take this route the trek to the peak will only take about 15 minutes and it means that you don't have to negotiate some of the slippier parts of the trail towards the bottom of the mountain.
 
Note that at the time of writing Google maps indicated that the mountain road between Ibaruma and north Nosoko does not connect. This is simply wrong - trust me! If you're planning on taking the shortcut then the mountain road can be found a couple of turns after the turning indicated in the 'location' section photo below.
 
Location

If you're planning on doing the full hike then you should approach Mt. Nosoko from the south along route 78. The pictures below should help you to find your way along with my interactive map of Ishigaki.

right turnIf travelling from the south on route 78 make a right turn here, just after you've passed through Nosoko.
Path entranceContinue along the road until you reach this point. The sign on the left indicates the entrance to the  trail.
 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 
 

"Mt. Nosoko may not be Ishigaki's tallest mountain but in my opinion the view from its peak is superior to that from Mt. Omoto's. If you enjoy hiking I highly recommend that you make time to trek to the top of this beautiful mountain. For those of you who aren't big fans of walking there's a shortcut to the summit".

Comments

Incredible view

We climbed Nosoko after finding it on this site (thanks for the directions!). Even though it was quite cloudy the view from the top was incredible. I'll definitely check out this spot again if I ever go back to Ishigaki, although I may take the shortcut to the top next time. The hike to the top was fun, but it was pretty slippy in parts and very humid. Still, well worth it when we got to the top.

closed access from route 78

We planned to trek up Mt. Nosoko and came up form route 78. Unfortunately when you make the right turn the road has been closed off. After venturing a little further we found out a landslide had caused much damage to the raod with lots of boulders blocking the route.

It would have been nice a nice trek but we try and access it from the eastern side of the island as the views looks breath-taking!

blocked path

the entrance from the eastern side of the island which is supposed to take you to a drop point which requires only 15mins walk is also closed off. We did not investigate further to find out what lay ahead but presumably landslide.

It is actually impossible to

It is actually impossible to do thé climbing taking the shortcut because a typhon has endommaged the route.
So if you want to do it you have to start from the beginning.

hiking on Ishigaki

My wife and I are planing on hicking around the whole Island of Ishigaki. any suggestions for us? We are planning on taking about 5 to 7 days. thanks