Mt. Kamiyama is the highest mountain in Hakone with an elevation of 1,438 meters. It is one of the central crater mountains of Hakone. It is named “Kamiyama” because it has been revered as a mountain of the gods since ancient times. Kami means “god” and yama means “mountain”, making this “God Mountain.”
Volcanic activity in the Hakone area started about 400,000 years ago and ended with the formation of a caldera in central Hakone. About 20,000 years ago, the central crater again erupted in the center of the caldera. The new eruptions extended from Mt. Kamiyama, Mt. Komagatake, and to Mt. Futago.
Kamiyama was the last of the Hakone volcanoes to remain active. 3100 years ago, a steam explosion caused the northwest flank of the mountain to collapse, and a rock avalanche created Lake Ashinoko by blocking the outlet of water from the valley. The remains of the collapse are still visible today as Owakudani, a volcanic fumarole famous for its steaming volcanic vents.
Kamiyama is the highest peak in Hakone, so it can be viewed from anywhere, but the plume of Owakudani looks even more mysterious from the direction of Mt. Myojin along the outer crate trail.
Among the Hakone volcanoes, Mt. Kamiyama and Mt. Komagatake have long been revered as objects of mountain worship in certain sects of the Shinto religion. Mt. Kamiyama in particular was thought to be “the mountain where the gods reside”. While Mt. Komagatake is a grassy mountain because of the harsh wind swept environment, Kamiyama is covered with thick forests of beech and dwarf ash.
There are trails leading to the top of Mt. Kamiyama from Mt. Komagatake and Soun Station, but please check beforehand because they are often closed for visitor safety.