Fuji Foto Spam!

28 08 2010

Okay, this isn’t a ‘real’ hiking post, but since it’s all about Mt Fuji I figure I can cut myself some slack.

If you’ve ever considered climbing Mt Fuji, someone has probably told you the saying “You’re a fool if you never climb Mt Fuji, and a fool if you climb it twice” (富士山にのぼらないバカ、2度のぼるバカ).  Well, I am now officially back in the ‘fool’ category, with my second climb of Mt Fuji occurring last Friday/Saturday.

Although I will do a write-up sometime in the near future, I wanted to share my photos (because hiking up that mountain with my DSLR was heavy but worth it!), so without further ado ~ Mt Fuji!

The first thing about Mt Fuji is that you can’t escape the crowds.  Here at the 5th station they all assemble to be herded up the mountain by tour operators.

The sign at the start of the Yoshida Trail -

Not far past the 6th station you leave the trees behind and the trail begins to get steeper -

At the 7th stations you start to pass mountain huts -

And you can get your hiking stick branded with a stamp at the huts -

Looking back at the 7th station huts -

After hiking up to the 8th station we had a bit of grub and tried to sleep in the Fujisan Hotel.  Then, at 2am, we set out for the summit.  Unfortunately we didn’t quite make it before sunrise, but the view from where we stopped was spectacular anyway -

And finally, a few minutes after 5, the sun appeared!

After watching the sunrise, we started on the last 30 minute hike to the summit -

Around 6am we reached the summit, where we bought some postcards, and had some breakfast at the peak huts -

And took some photos at the crater -

Before finally, starting downhill  -

It’s a hard, long hike, but very rewarding and something I would do again if I was given the chance.  If you want to see some more photos, please check out my flickr set!





Hike – Mt Hinokiboramaru (Tanzawa) 檜洞丸 (丹沢)

20 06 2010

Quick Overview

Hinokiboramaru

Hinokiboramaru

A well signed (albeit mainly in Japanese) hike through the Tanzawa 丹沢 mountain range. Quite steep and slippery in places, and also quite long, this hike is worth it for the beautiful azaleas near the peak of Hinokiboramaru 檜洞丸 (mid-May to June), waterfalls and beech tree forests.  Just make sure you start early in the day to make the last bus, or there are many places to camp and mountain huts nearby, so staying overnight and doing more exploring in the area is an option.  During the winter and spring there are also views of Mt Fuji 富士山.

Distance: 11km
Duration:  7 to 8 hours
Difficulty: medium (slippery and steep in places, also quite long)
Season:  Suitable all year, maybe a little snow in winter months
Starting point:  Nishi Tanzawa Shizen Kyoshitsu Bus Stop 西丹沢自然教室バス停
Finishing point:  Houkizawakoenbashi Bus Stop 箒沢公園橋バス停

Maps

A full map of the hike  can also be viewed at GPSies

There are many different and interesting hikes in this area, so I recommend you buy a map.  The Mapple 山と高原地図 series number 28 map is of the Tanzawa 丹沢 region, and is available on Amazon.co.jp.  Note, this map is in Japanese, but does include some English and furigana.

The Hike

Start of the trail

Start of the trail

You’ll start this hike from the final bus stop on the line, Nishi Tanzawa Shizen Kyoshitsu Bus Stop 西丹沢自然教室バス停.  At the bus stop there is the Nishi Tanzawa Shizen Kyoshitsu 西丹沢自然教室 (Nature Classroom), where you should leave your name, contact details and blood type, for emergencies whist on the trail.  They also display up to date trail information, and the last bathroom before Hinokiboramaru 檜洞丸 is here.

Once you have finished at the Shizen Kyoshitsu 自然教室, continue walking up the road from the bus stop.  You will soon cross a bridge over a river, and see signs pointing to a camp site.  After about 10 minutes you will see a small creek on the right, and a sign pointing to Hinokiboramaru 檜洞丸.  Walk up the creek for 50 meters, and on your left will be some stairs.  These stairs lead to the start of the trail.  The first 20 minutes or so will be uphill, but after that the trail will level out until you reach Gorazawadeai ゴーラ沢出合.  It should take 60 minutes from the trail head to Gorazawadeai ゴーラ沢出合.

Gorazawadeai

Gorazawadeai

Gorazawadeai ゴーラ沢出合 is a river crossing, but the river is small, and not deep.  It’s mostly a rocky riverbed, with some man-made waterfalls nearby.  Cross the river and follow on its right hand side until you reach some stairs.  Once again climb the stairs to return to the trail.  Shortly after Gorazawadeai ゴーラ沢出合 there is a bench if you want to stop and rest.  From Gorazawadeai ゴーラ沢出合 you have entered the ‘New Azalea Road’ つつじ新道, and the trail will become steep.

After another 60 minutes you will reach another bench and a viewpoint at Tenboenchi 展望園地.  From here it’s another hour until the next intersection, and the trail becomes steeper still.  However, you will start to see more mountain azaleas along the way.  At the intersection take the path to the left up, signed Hinokiboramaru 檜洞丸.

This section of the trail is boarded (see the picture next to ‘Quick Overview’), and is a nice easy climb that should only take 10 to 20 minutes.  It is also quite pretty, with some old gnarled and mossy trees.  Not far before the summit you will pass some solar panels on the right.

Mountain Azalea

Mountain Azalea

At the summit of Hinokiboramaru 檜洞丸 there is a marker, small stone shrine, and a couple of benches.  You can also head down the trail on the opposite side of the summit if you want to use the toilet at the mountain hut.  It’s only 5 minutes, and they ask you pay a tip of 50 yen to use the facilities (don’t forget tissues either!).  The mountain hut also sells a very small selection of food and drink, but it’s a little expensive.

To start down, return along the boarded walk to the intersection, and take the other trail marked for Hokisawa 箒沢.  There are a couple of intersections along this trail, but if you take the trail to the right each time you will be headed to Hokisawakoen 箒沢公園.

The first part of the decent is fairly easy, and goes through a nice beech tree forest.  You will pass another trail to Dougakuyama 同角山 after 10 minutes, and then shortly a bench, before climbing a little to the peak of Teshironoatama テシロノ頭.  Continuing down hill you will pass another bench before seeing a very large old moss-covered tree (see below).  Not long after this is the second alternative trail, but again keep to the right towards Hokisawa 箒沢.  It should have taken about 60 minutes to this intersection from the one before.

Beech Tree forest

Beech Tree forest

From now the trail becomes much steeper, despite climbing another couple of peaks, Yabusawanoatama ヤブ沢ノ頭 followed by Itagoyasawanoatama 板小屋沢ノ頭.  There will be sections with ropes to help you down, and some slippery sections without.

From the last intersection it should take about 90 minutes to reach another river, which you will follow on the right hand side for most of the rest of the hike.  The final 20 minutes along side the river is much easier than the last few hours, but still there are some slippery places and stairs to climb up and down.  Just keep the river on your left for about 15 minutes, until you reach a river crossing.  Cross the river, and following it until you can cross back over again.  Only a little further along the trail you will find the Oishi Camping ground 大石キャンプ場, which has a number of cabins as well.

Cross the bridge in front of the camping ground to reach the main road, turn right and the Houkizawakoenbashi Bus Stop 箒沢公園橋バス停 is only a few meters up the road.

To and From

As always, the following routes are just recommendations.  Please use Hyperdia or Jorudan’s Train Route Finder to find the most suitable route for you!

From Shinjuku Station 新宿駅 take the Odakyu Line 小田急線 express 急行 headed to Odawara and jump off at Shin Matsuda 新松田, 84 minutes and 750 yen.  A line map of the Odakyu lines 小田急線 can be found here (in English).  Take the North exit 北口, and then catch the Fujikyu bus 富士急バス from Stop 1 to Nishi Tanzawa Shizen Kyoshitsu 西丹沢自然教室, 1150 yen and 70 minutes.  A timetable of the Fujikyu Bus 富士急バス can be found here for Saturday, and here for Sunday (only Japanese).

On the return, catch the bus back to Shin Matsuda 新松田 from Houkizawakoenbashi Bus Stop 箒沢公園橋バス停, 60 minutes and 1050yen.  Then catch the express back to Shinjuku 新宿 on the Odakyu line 小田急線, 84 minutes and 750 yen.

Links

Fujikyu Bus Schedule for Saturdays http://www.fujikyu.co.jp/syonan/rosen_time/time01_s.html

Fujikyu Bus Schedule for Sunday http://www.fujikyu.co.jp/syonan/rosen_time/time01_h.html

Odakyu Rail Map http://www.odakyu.jp/english/route/railmap/index.html

My Flickr photo set from Mt Hinokiboramaru http://www.flickr.com/photos/michelelisa/sets/72157624111661525/

Photos from another member of the group I hiked with http://www.m-miyata.jp/yama/Hinokiboramaru1006.html

Map of hike on GPSies http://www.gpsies.com/map.do?fileId=kmnhlwuwyoyogyxp

Useful Kanji

Tanzawa 丹沢
Hinokiboramaru 檜洞丸
Mt Fuji 富士山
Nishi Tanzawa Shizen Kyoshitsu 西丹沢自然教室
Nishi Tanzawa Shizen Kyoshitsu Bus Stop 西丹沢自然教室バス停
Hokisawa 箒沢
Hokisawakoen 箒沢公園
Houkizawakoenbashi Bus Stop 箒沢公園橋バス停
Gorazawadeai ゴーラ沢出合
‘New Azalea Road’ つつじ新道
Tenboenchi 展望園地
Dougakuyama 同角山
Teshironoatama テシロノ頭
Yabusawanoatama ヤブ沢ノ頭
Itagoyasawanoatama 板小屋沢ノ頭
Oishi Camping ground 大石キャンプ場
Shinjuku Station 新宿駅
Odakyu Line 小田急線
Express 急行
Shin Matsuda 新松田
North exit 北口
Fujikyu bus 富士急バス





Hike – Mt Takazasu, Mt Syakushi and Mt Shishidome 高座山、杓子山、鹿留山

2 06 2010

Quick Overview

Mt Fuji

Mt Fuji

Slightly out-of-the-way, this trail is a little difficult to get to, but worth the effort.  Affords great views of Mt Fuji 富士山 and Lake Yamanaka 山中湖 from October to May, and also well-known for its mountain azaleas during late May.  The trail is a little challenging, with some very steep (there are ropes) and slippery sections.  Proper hiking boots are recommended.  There are also no facilities or shops along the track, so bring water and food.  However, at the summit of Mt Syakushi 杓子山 is a nice picnic area.  Due to the cost of the taxi to the trail head, it’s recommended that you do this hike with a friend or in a group.

Distance: not including taxi and bus -11km
Duration: 4.5-5 hours
Difficulty: medium (slippery and steep in places)
Season:  Suitable all year, but snowy in the winter months
Starting point:  Toriiji Pass 鳥居地峠
Finishing point:  Uchino Bus Stop 内野バス停

Maps

A map of the hike  can also be viewed at GPSies

There are many different and interesting hikes in this area, so I recommend you buy a map.  The Mapple 山と高原地図 series number 31 map is of the Mt Fuji 富士山 region, and is available on Amazon.co.jp.  Note, this map is in Japanese, but does include some English and furigana.

The Hike

Trail Head

Trail Head

Firstly, there is no English signage on this hike, so take a map or a memo of the Kanji!  However, the trail is well-defined, and doesn’t have many variations, so it’s fairly easy to follow.

From Fuji Yoshida Station 富士吉田駅, take the exit to the left and catch a taxi to Toriijidouge 鳥居地峠.  The taxi will drop you off next to a forestry track on the right, signed Mt Takazasu 高座山 and Mt Syakushi 杓子山.  Shortly along the track is the hiking trail on the left.  Just keep following this trail up through a lightly forested area, and after about a kilometre you will enter a cleared area and be able to see the peak of Mt Takazasu 高座山 in front.  From here, until Mt Takazasu 高座山, you will have great views of Mt Fuji 富士山.

Mt Takazasu

Mt Takazasu

You can access a road to the right, but just keep on forward to climb the very steep trail to the peak of Mt Takazasu 高座山.  This section of the hike is quite slippery, and there is a rope if you need it.  It should take about 50 minutes to reach Mt Takazasu 高座山 from Toriijidouge 鳥居地峠.

From the peak of Mt Takazasu 高座山 take the trail down the other side (north-east) signed Mt Syakushi 杓子山, and then up and down through another forested area until you reach Ozasudouge 大権道峠.  Here at the pass is a Hang Glider  Platform, and you should also have another view of Mt Fuji 富士山.  It should take about 40 minutes to reach this point.  Keep following the trail to the left of the Hang Glider Platform.  From here the path will become steep again with ropes, but it should only take about 40 minutes to reach the peak of Mt Syakushi 杓子山.

Mt Syakushi

Mt Syakushi and Mt Fuji in cloud

Once again, from Mt Syakushi 杓子山 you have good views of Mt Fuji 富士山.  There is also a bell and a couple of picnic tables to take a break.  Once you have finished resting, take the path on the right (east).  It’s a fairly flat walk to Mt Shishidome 鹿留山, and should take about 45 minutes.  Before reaching the peak of Mt Shishidome 鹿留山, there is a Y intersection, and a sign pointing to Mt Shishidome 鹿留山 and Nijuumadouge 二十曲峠.  To go to the peak of Mt Shishidome 鹿留山 take the path to the left.  On Mt Shishidome 鹿留山 you can see some old Beech and Oak trees.  It will only take 5 minutes from the intersection.

Once you are finished on Mt Shishidome 鹿留山, head back to the Y intersection and take the other trail towards Nijuumadouge 二十曲峠 down.  The trail is quite steep and slippery going down in sections and there are ropes again.  Head downhill for about 50 minutes, before you reach a small stone Buddha at Tachinzukadouge 立ノ塚峠.  Now turn to the right and follow another forestry road, signed Uchino 内野.  Eventually this road will become paved and have a few turn offs, but just keep headed on the main trail downhill.

Stone Buddha

Stone Buddha

After about 40 minutes you will enter into a farm area, which will soon give way to houses.  When you reach the first main crossroad, take a right, and then a left and keep heading down towards town.  At the 3rd intersection (and after crossing two rivers) take a right, and about 200 or 300 meters down the road will be the Uchino bus stop 内野バス停 on the left.  This should take about 20 minutes from the farm area.

Mt Takazasu, Mt Syakushi, and Mt Shishidome

Mt Takazasu, Mt Syakushi, and Mt Shishidome

To and From

As always, the following routes are just recommendations.  Please use Hyperdia or Jorudan’s Train Route Finder to find the most suitable route for you!

From Tokyo Station 東京駅, or Shinjuku Station 新宿駅, catch the JR Chuo line 中央線 to Otsuki 大月.  You may need to change trains at Takao 高尾 to continue further out to Otsuki 大月.  From Tokyo 東京, it should take approximately 1hour 40min and 1450 yen to Otsuki 大月.  At Otsuki station 大月駅, change trains to the Fujikyuko line 富士急行線.  Note, on the Fujikyuko line 富士急行線 you can not use a Suica or Pasmo, and you will have to buy a ticket quickly as sometimes the transfer time is short.  Travel on the Fujikyoko line 富士急行線 for 46min until you reach Fuji Yoshida Station 富士吉田駅.  This leg of the train journey costs 990 yen.  For an English timetable of the Fujikyuko line 富士急行線 click here.

From Fuji Yoshida Station 富士吉田駅 catch a taxi to Toriijidouge 鳥居地峠, which take about 15min and costs between 2000 and 3000 yen.

From Uchino Bus Stop 内野バス停, catch the bus back to Fuji Yoshida Station 富士吉田駅.  Cost is 450 yen, and it takes 23min.  The timetable (in Japanese) can be found here.  Pasmo and Suica cards can be used on the bus.

From Fuji Yoshida Station 富士吉田駅, make your way back to Tokyo 東京, opposite the directions above.

Alternatively, you may wish to buy a combination JR Holiday Pass ホリデー・パス and Otsuki Ofuku ticket 大月往復きっぷ if you are going on a Saturday or a holiday (Including Sundays and national holidays).  The combination ticket will save you 840 yen if you are travelling from Shinjuku 新宿.  The JR Holiday pass ホリデー・パス will cover all JR local train travel within the pass area, for one day, for 2,300 yen.  See the JR website for details on the Holiday pass ホリデー・パス.  The Otsuki Ofuku ticket 大月往復きっぷ will cover return travel to Fuji Yoshida station 富士吉田駅, over 2 days, for 1,400 yen.  See the Fujikyu Railway 富士急行 website for details on the Otsuki Ofuku ticket 大月往復きっぷ and the combination ticket 大月往復きっぷ+ホリデー・パス (only in Japanese).  Both tickets can be bought from JR Midori no Madoguchi JRみどりの窓口 or travel agents, from one month in advance.

Links

Fujikyuko Line timetable http://www.fujikyu-railway.jp/forms/info/info.aspx?info_id=4031

Fujikyu Bus line timetable from Uchino Bus Stop to Fuji Yoshida Station (Japanese) http://bus.fujikyu.co.jp/line/jikokuhyo/07.html

JR Holiday Pass information http://www.jreast.co.jp/e/pass/holiday_pass.html

Otsuki Ofuku Ticket information (Japanese) http://www.fujikyu-railway.jp/forms/info/info.aspx?info_id=4223

Holiday Pass + Otsuki Ofuku Ticket information (Japanese) http://www.fujikyu-railway.jp/forms/info/info.aspx?info_id=8611

My Flickr photo set from Mt Takazasu, Mt Syakushi and Mt Shishidome http://www.flickr.com/photos/michelelisa/sets/72157624187603334/

A slideshow of photos from another member of the group I hiked with http://www.m-miyata.jp/yama/Syakusiyama1005.html

Map of hike on GPSies http://www.gpsies.com/map.do?fileId=jvqgzcenfiyrbcmt

Useful Kanji

Fuji Yoshida Station 富士吉田駅
Toriiji Pass (Toriijidouge) 鳥居地峠
Mt Takazasu 高座山
Mt Syakushi 杓子山
Ozasudouge 大権道峠
Mt Shishidome 鹿留山
Nijuumadouge 二十曲峠
Tachinzukadouge 立ノ塚峠
Uchino Bus Stop (Uchino basu tei) 内野バス停
Mt Fuji 富士山
Lake Yamanaka 山中湖
Tokyo Station 東京駅
Shinjuku Station 新宿駅
Otsuki 大月
Takao 高尾
JR Chuo line 中央線
Fujikyuko line 富士急行線
JR Holiday Pass ホリデー・パス
Otsuki Ofuku ticket 大月往復きっぷ
JR Midori no Madoguchi JRみどりの窓口





Hike – Mt Myojyogatake (Hakone) 明星が岳 (箱根)

24 02 2010

Quick Overview

Mt Myojyogatake

Mt Myojyogatake

A long and somewhat difficult hike that’s quite steep to begin with and can be rocky and slippery in wet conditions.  There isn’t much traffic on this route, so it’s good if you want to get away from the tourists, however it doesn’t afford much of a view apart from Gora 強羅 (unless you hike to the top of neighbouring Mt Myojingataka 明神が岳), and when I hiked there was evidence of animals using the tracks.  There are also no facilities (food or restrooms) on this trail.  Other highlights of the trail are passing the clearing of the Daimon-ji 大文字 (a large 大 symbol) on Mt Myojyogatake 明星が岳, a few pampas grass and bamboo groves, and Amida-ji Temple 阿弥陀時.

Distance: 12.6km
Duration:  5 to 6 hours
Difficulty: Medium to difficult
Season:  April to December
Starting point:  Gora 強羅
Finishing point: Hakone Yumoto 箱根湯本

Maps

A map of the hike  can also be viewed at GPSies

The Mapple 山と高原地図 map series number 29, which includes Hakone 箱根 and it’s surrounds, can be bought on Amazon.co.jp. Note, these maps are in Japanese, but have some English and furigana.

The Hike

From Gora Station 強羅駅 cross over the railway line to the right and head down hill on the residential street.  At the end of the street take a right and then a left and you will be on a steep winding road down to the river.  When you reach the river turn left and follow the road over the Miyagino Bridge 宮城野橋.  Here you can take two routes.  The road directly right on the other side of the bridge will take you to a trail that will lead you directly to the summit of Mt Myojyogatake 明星が岳.  Or if you continue along the road that crossed the bridge you will join a trail that leads you to a mid-point on the ridge between Mt Myojingatake 明神が岳 and Mt Myojyogatake 明星が岳.

Trail head

If you choose the trail direct to the summit of Mt Myojyogatake 明星が岳, follow the signs leading there.  I chose the second path to the midway point.  For this path, at the first traffic lights after the bridge, and across from the Miyagino Shishomae 宮城野支所前 bus stop take the street to the right.  Walk up the streets following the signs pointing to Mt Myojingatake 明神が岳 or Mt Myojyogatake 明星が岳.  From the trail head you will walk up stairs past a few backyards until you enter the real forest.  The walk up to the ridge is mostly stairs and can be slippery when wet.  It should take about 70 minutes to reach the ridge.  From the ridge, if you take the trail to the left you will climb Mt Myojingatake 明神が岳.  It is also a steep climb, and should take about 45 minutes, but I have read the view is quite nice on a fine day.  If you take the trail to the right you will head towards Mt Myojyogatake 明星が岳, passing through some wild pampas grasses, and the bottom of the Daimon-ji 大文字.  It takes about 50 minutes to reach the highest point of Myojyogatake 明星が岳, where there is a tiny shrine.

Cleared forest

Keep heading to the right down hill, and after an hour or so you will exit the trail onto a road.  Keep following the road straight ahead towards Tonomine 塔ノ峰 for about 900m, and you will again see a trail heading up hill on the right.  Take this trail and follow it for about 30 minutes.  You will pass a few areas of forest that have been cleared before seeing a sign to the right for Amida-ji Temple 阿弥陀時.  Take this path down hill.  There are a few stairs here, and it can also be slippery in wet weather.  In about 25 minutes you will come to a sign pointing to the left downhill for Amida-ji Temple 阿弥陀時.  If you go ahead here for a few minutes you will come to some caves.  After checking them out you can continue on to Amida-ji Temple 阿弥陀時.

From Amida-ji Temple 阿弥陀時 just follow the road down and to the left to reach Hakone Yumoto Station 箱根湯本駅 in about 15 minutes.

To and From

As always, the following routes are just recommendations.  Please use Hyperdia or Jorudan’s Train Route Finder to find the most suitable route for you!

From Tokyo 東京, you can either catch the JR line or the Odakyu 小田急 line.  The JR Tokaido line 東海道線 leaves from Tokyo Station 東京駅, and takes 86 minutes and 1,450 yen.  Or you can catch the Kodama Shinkansen to Odawara 小田原 from Tokyo Station 東京駅, costing 3,640 yen and taking 36 minutes.  The Odakyu 小田急 line leaves from Shinjuku Station 新宿駅 and goes to Hakone Yumoto Station 箱根湯本駅.  You may have to change at Odawara 小田原 to continue further on.  The Odakyu 小田急 line either costs 1,150 yen and takes approximately 110 minutes, or if you catch the Romance Car (reserved seating) takes 89 minutes and 2,020 yen.

From Hakone Yumoto 箱根湯本 catch the Odakyu 小田急 Hakone Tozan Tetsudo line 箱根登山鉄道線 to Gora 強羅.  It takes 37 minutes and 390 yen.

There is also a bus to Miyagino Bridge 宮城野橋 from Gora 強羅, but it is irregular and probably quicker to walk the distance.

If you are staying in the Hakone 箱根 area for a few days Odakyu 小田急 has a Hakone Freepass, which covers return trip from Shinjuku 新宿, and many of the other forms of transport around the area.  The 2 day pass is 5,000 yen, and the 3 day pass is 5,500 yen.  Details can be found here.

Links

Odakyu Hakone Freepass – http://www.odakyu.jp/english/freepass/hakone_01.html

Hakone Zenzan, some other hikes in the Hakone area and weather reports- http://www.hakone.or.jp/english/osusume/hike_list.html

HakoneNavi, tourist information site for Hakone – http://www.hakonenavi.jp/english/

My Flickr set of the hike – http://www.flickr.com/photos/michelelisa/sets/72157622650744760/

The map of the hike on GPSies – http://www.gpsies.com/map.do?fileId=aczcuerkubjxtjxm


Useful Kanji

Amida-ji Temple 阿弥陀時
Daimon-ji 大文字
Gora 強羅
Gora Station 強羅駅
Hakone 箱根
Hakone Tozan Tetsudo line 箱根登山鉄道線
Hakone Yumoto 箱根湯本
Hakone Yumoto Station 箱根湯本駅
Miyagino Bridge 宮城野橋
Miyagino Shishomae 宮城野支所前
Mt Myojingataka 明神が岳
Mt Myojyogatake 明星が岳
Odakyu 小田急
Odawara 小田原
Shinjuku Station 新宿駅
Tokaido line 東海道線
Tokyo 東京
Tokyo Station 東京駅
Tonomine 塔ノ峰





Hike – Kamakura Ten-en Hiking Course 天園ハイキングコース

25 01 2010

Meigetsu-in Main Hall

Quick Overview

Another pleasant hike from Kita Kamakura Station 北鎌倉駅 to Kamakura-gu Shrine 鎌倉宮.  There are a few temples of interest along the way, and great views of Kamakura town 鎌倉.  On a clear day you can even see Mount Fuji 富士山.  Unfortunately not well signed, and has many stairs and steep rocky areas.  Probably not for the kids, but easy for most people of average fitness.

If you are interested in this hike, you might also be interested in the Kamakura Daibutsu Hiking Course.

Distance: 7 km
Duration: 2 – 2.5 hours
Difficulty: easy – medium
Season:  Suitable all year (but a bit dangerous when wet – slippery rocks)
Starting point:  Kita Kamakura Station 北鎌倉駅
Finishing point:  Kamakura-gu Shrine 鎌倉宮 

Maps

A map of the hike  can also be viewed at GPSies

There are a number of nice walks in the hills surrounding Kamakura 鎌倉.  The Mapple website has a map of the area that includes the trails – http://map.mapple.net/_mdspot_sc40000_sidG01401136102_lon139.5506925_lat35.3307686111111/index.htm, but is only in Japanese.  The trail head for the Kamakura Daibutsu hiking course is marked by the flag, and all walking trails are marked with a blue dashed line.

The Hike

Meigetsu-in Entrance

From Kita Kamakura Station 北鎌倉駅, take the Enrakuji Temple 円覚寺 exit and turn right.  Only a few meters down the road is Engakuji Temple 円覚寺, the second in Kamakura’s top five Zen temples (admission is 300 yen).  It’s quite an extensive temple, and is also known for its changing leaves in Autumn.  Continue along the road for about 10 minutes and you will see a sign for Meigetsu-in Temple 明月院 (admission is 300 yen).  Take the road to the left, and the temple isn’t far along, it’s just where the road bends.  I can highly recommend this temple, it has a small but lovely garden famous for hydrangeas (June/July), and the main hall has a round window with beautiful views of the garden.

Entrance to Kenchoji

Entrance to Kenchoji

Returning to the main road next to the rail lines, keep headed away from the train station, following the signs to Kenchoji Temple 建長寺 (admission is 300 yen).  Kenchoji 建長寺 is on the left hand side, and to access the trail head you have to enter the temple.  There is another trail head close to Meigetsu-in 明月院 in the residential area behind it, but personally I couldn’t find it.  Within Kenchoji 建長寺 head past the main hall on the left hand side, and you will reach stairs.  Follow these stairs to the top where you will find a temple.  On the right hand side of the temple you can walk a little further up to an observation platform where you can see Kamakura town 鎌倉 and Mount Fuji 富士山 on a clear day.From here the real hike begins.  For the first half of the hike follow the signs to Ten-en 天園 or Zuisenji Temple 瑞泉寺.  You will pass a few small bamboo groves and many Yagura, which are cave tombs from the Kamakura era.  Now, this trail has many unmarked trails leading from it, so it can be a little difficult to navigate.  My advice is to keep going in the same direction, keeping Kamakura town 鎌倉 on the right, and stay to the most used path.  This should get you to Zuisenji 瑞泉寺.

Ten-en Tea House

Ten-en Tea House

Once you reach Mt Ohirayama 大平山, the highest point along the trail, you will see a country club and golf course on the left.  Keep going ahead, and shortly after you will reach the Ten-en Tea House 天園茶屋, where you can buy some lunch or snacks.  To continue on, head past the tea house, and down hill a little, past another house.  Turn to the right and walk through a large bamboo grove before turning left to head to Zuisenji 瑞泉寺.  From now, follow any signs pointing towards Zuisenji 瑞泉寺.

There are a number of alternative paths again from this point, but if you follow the advice of staying to the most travelled paths you should get to Zuisenji 瑞泉寺.  If worse comes to worse, you are only in a small wooded area, and suburbia isn’t far away if you take a wrong turn.

Entrance to Zuisenji

Entrance to Zuisenji

The end of the trail is a small staircase with a map at the bottom, and then the street.  Take a right, and then another right to get to Zuisenji 瑞泉寺 (admission is 300 yen).  Zuisenji 瑞泉寺 is famous for its caves that overlook a pond (see my header picture).  It also has lovely narcissus (January), plum (Febuary), and hydrangeas (June/July).When leaving Zuisenji 瑞泉寺 keep following the road ahead.  It will eventually turn right, and on this corner is Kamakura-gu Shrine 鎌倉宮 (admission to the grounds free, Treasure house 300 yen).  A little bit further around the corner from the main gate is the bus stop for the bus back to Kamakura Station 鎌倉駅 (Bus #20).

To and From

As always, the following routes are just recommendations.  Please use Hyperdia or Jorudan’s Train Route Finder to find the most suitable route for you!

From Tokyo 東京, catch the JR Yokosuka line 横須賀線 to Kita Kamakura 北鎌倉駅.  It takes 50 minutes and costs 780yen.  Or from Shinjuku 新宿 you can catch the JR Shonan Shinjuku line 湘南新宿線 to Kita Kamakura 北鎌倉駅.  It takes 52 minutes and costs 890yen.  Trains run regularly on these lines.  Sometimes a train won’t take you the whole distance and you might need to change to go further on.

From Kamakura-gu Shrine 鎌倉宮 #20 buses leave regularly Kamakura Station 鎌倉駅 for 190yen.  Or you can walk back to the station in about 45 minutes.

Links

Kamakura Today  http://www.kamakuratoday.com/e/index.html an English site with information on the sites in Kamakura

Mapple Map of Kamakura in Japanese http://map.mapple.net/_mdspot_sc40000_sidG01401136102_lon139.5506925_lat35.3307686111111/index.htm

Map of hike on GPSies http://www.gpsies.com/map.do?fileId=krlwluqtzmqdquny

My photo set on Flickr http://www.flickr.com/photos/michelelisa/sets/72157623260903464/

Useful Kanji

Kamakura 鎌倉
Ten-en Hiking Course 天園ハイキングコース
Kita Kamakura Station 北鎌倉駅
Kamakura-gu Shrine 鎌倉宮
Mount Fuji 富士山
Enrakuji Temple 円覚寺
Meigetsu-in Temple 明月院
Kenchoji Temple 建長寺
Ten-en 天園
Zuisenji Temple 瑞泉寺
Mt Ohirayama 大平山
Ten-en Tea House 天園茶屋
Kamakura Station 鎌倉駅
Tokyo 東京
Yokosuka line 横須賀線
Shinjuku 新宿
Shonan Shinjuku line 湘南新宿線





Hike – Ashinoko (Hakone) 芦ノ湖(箱根)

6 12 2009

Quick Overview

Lake Ashi

This is a pleasant (if long) walk around Lake Ashi (Ashinoko) 芦ノ湖.  With views of Mt Fuji 富士山, and access to transport to many other sightseeing places in the area, it’s quiet scenic.  The trail is mostly flat and well-defined and signed.  Usually very quite, as most tourists use the boats to cross the lake, but a good option if the weather is fine and you have the time.  Suitable for anybody who can walk long distances.  Also has a few beaches along the way to stop at and have a picnic lunch (but no shops or toilets).

Distance: 12km
Duration:  3 to 4 hours
Difficulty: easy
Season:  April to December
Starting point:  Hakone Machi 箱根町
Finishing point: Togendai 桃源台

Maps


Note, the last few kilometers of this trail won’t show on the embedded map, but you can access the whole map on googlemaps!

A full map of the hike  can also be viewed at GPSies

The Mapple 山と高原地図 map series number 29, which includes Hakone 箱根 and it’s surrounds, can be bought on Amazon.co.jp. Note, these maps are in Japanese, but have some English and furigana.

The Hike

From the bus stop at Hakone Machi 箱根町 follow the edge of the lake around to the left.  You will have to walk along a couple of streets, but as long as you stick to the route closest to the lake edge you will be able to pick up the trail.

Initially you will walk on a service road around a small mountain.  There are a number of different short trails on the mountain if you want to do some extra exploring.  If you keep to the service road you will come to a picnic area with some public toilets and a large gate.  This is the last toilet until the end of the walk.  Next to the  gate is a smaller gateway for people. Just pass through that and you will be on the path to Togendai 桃源台.

The path follows the edge of the lake, and the only deviations are little paths that lead down to the lake edge.  Occasionally you will be able to access a stone beach next to the lake, so bringing a picnic lunch and something to sit on is a pleasant way to spend some time.

Towards the end of the hike you will join a bitumen road nearby a flood gate and boat ramp.   Here, again, stick to the path closest to the lake’s edge.  After a kilometer or so, you will come to a large river crossing the path.  You will have to cross the river on the main road.  On the other side  of the river is a large camp ground.  Follow the road around the camp ground, and keep going until you reach Togendai Ropeway station 桃源台ロープウェイ駅.

To and From

As always, the following routes are just recommendations.  Please use Hyperdia or Jorudan’s Train Route Finder to find the most suitable route for you!

From Tokyo 東京, you can either catch the JR line or the Odakyu 小田急 line.  The JR Tokaido line 東海道線 leaves from Tokyo Station 東京駅, and takes 86 minutes and 1,450 yen.  Or you can catch the Kodama Shinkansen to Odawara 小田原 from Tokyo Station 東京駅, costing 3,640 yen and taking 36 minutes.  The Odakyu 小田急 line leaves from Shinjuku Station 新宿駅 and goes to Hakone Yumoto Station 箱根湯本駅.  You may have to change at Odawara 小田原 to continue further on.  The Odakyu 小田急 line either costs 1,150 yen and takes approximately 110 minutes, or if you catch the Romance Car (reserved seating) takes 89 minutes and 2,020 yen.

From Odawara 小田原 or Hakone Yumoto 箱根湯本 catch the Odakyu 小田急 bus to Hakone Machi 箱根町.  From Odawara 小田原 this takes about 60 minutes and 1,150 yen.  From Hakone Yumoto 箱根湯本 it takes 45 minutes and 790 yen.

Departing from Togendai 桃源台 you have a few options.  There is a bus back to Hakone Yumoto 箱根湯本 and Odawara 小田原 taking 45 or 60 minutes respectively, and 840 or 1,200 yen respectively.  Or you can take the scenic route over Owakudani 大涌谷 by catching the Ropeway.  The other option is to catch the boat back to Hakone Machi 箱根町 or Moto Hakone 元箱根, and then catch the bus from there.

If you are staying in the Hakone 箱根 area for a few days Odakyu 小田急 has a Hakone Freepass, which covers return trip from Shinjuku 新宿, and many of the other forms of transport around the area.  The 2 day pass is 5,000 yen, and the 3 day pass is 5,500 yen.  Details can be found here.

Links

Odakyu Hakone Freepass – http://www.odakyu.jp/english/freepass/hakone_01.html

Hakone Zenzan, some other hikes in the Hakone area and weather reports- http://www.hakone.or.jp/english/osusume/hike_list.html

HakoneNavi, tourist information site for Hakone – http://www.hakonenavi.jp/english/


Useful Kanji

Lake Ashi (Ashinoko) 芦ノ湖
Hakone 箱根
Hakone Machi 箱根町
Hakone Yumoto 箱根湯本
Hakone Yumoto Station 箱根湯本駅
Moto Hakone 元箱根
Mt Fuji 富士山
Odakyu 小田急
Odawara 小田原
Owakudani 大涌谷
Shinjuku Station 新宿駅
Togendai 桃源台
Togendai Ropeway station 桃源台ロープウェイ駅
Tokaido line 東海道線
Tokyo 東京
Tokyo Station 東京駅





Hike – Nikko Senjogahara Marsh 日光 戦場ヶ原

21 11 2009

Quick Overview

Yugawa

Yugawa

A nice and easy walk along a river from Lake Chuzenji 中禅寺湖 to Lake Yu 湯ノ湖.  There is a lot of beautiful scenery to look at along the way like waterfalls and the marsh.  It’s very popular when flowers are in season or when the leaves change in autumn.  Suitable for families, as it is mostly a walk up a gentle slope,  and there are many places to stop for a picnic lunch.  The area also has a number of other walking trails so it’s worth picking up a map (in English) at the Tourist Information Center in Tobu Nikko Station 東武日光駅.

Distance: 8km
Duration: 2 to 3 hours
Difficulty: easy
Season:  All year, however in winter the area does have snowfall.
Starting point:  Ryuzu Falls/ Ryuzu-no-taki 竜頭ノ滝 bus stop
Finishing point:  Yumoto Onsen 湯元温泉

Maps

A map of the hike  can also be viewed at GPSies

The Mapple 山と高原地図 map series number 13, which includes Nikko and it’s surrounds, can be bought on Amazon.co.jp. Note, these maps are in Japanese, but have some English and furigana.

The Hike

Ryuzu Falls

This hike follows Yugawa 湯川 to Yunoko 湯ノ湖, and is very popular and well signed.  From the Ryuzu-no-taki 竜頭ノ滝 bus stop, turn right and cross the road to get to Ryuzu Falls 竜頭ノ滝.  Here there is a small restaurant and souvenir shop from where you can take a picture of the bottom of the falls.  To the right is a small shrine.  Take the path on the left of the shrine to follow the falls to the top.  It’s not a very tall waterfall, and it should only take about 10 minutes to reach the top.

From the top of Ryuzu Falls 竜頭ノ滝, cross the road and follow the path that runs along side the river.  You will be walking in a lightly wooded area for about 10 minutes, until you reach another road.  Cross this road and stick to the path that runs along the right hand bank of the river.  There are a couple of alternative routes from here (on the left) if you want to go to Oshirogahara 小田代原.  Continuing on, you will walk for another 10 minutes until you reach another alternative path to Oshirogahara 小田代原 (over the bridge).  Follow the sign pointing to Akanuma 赤沼 for a short distance, and you will reach another sign post.

Entrance to Senjogahara

If you turn towards Yudaki 湯滝 you will enter the Senjogahara marsh 戦場ヶ原.  This portion of the walk is all board walks, and is really easy with a number of bench seats and tables along the way.  It’s also super pretty!  You’ll walk along the boardwalk for about 45 minutes until you reach a more wooded area and another sign post indicating another route to Oshirogahara 小田代原.  Keep headed towards Yudaki 湯滝 and Yumoto 湯元, and after 10 minutes there will be a sign post pointing to Kotaku Pond 光徳沼.  Again keep on to Yudaki 湯滝.

Senjogahara

From this point you are leaving Senjogahara 戦場ヶ原, but will still be following the boardwalk alongside the Yugawa river 湯川.  20 minutes along the river you will reach Odaki Falls 小滝.  From here you can take either path to Yudaki Falls 湯滝.  The path to the left is 15 minutes, and 10 minutes to the right.  At Yudaki Falls 湯滝 there is a toilet and some small shops with food.  Walk up the stairs on the right side of the falls to reach the top.  At the top of the falls is Yunoko 湯ノ湖.  You can walk around either side of Yunoko 湯ノ湖 to reach Yumoto Onsen 湯元温泉.  Both paths take 30 minutes.

Yunoko

In Yumoto Onsen 湯元温泉 the bus terminal is 3 blocks back from the lake on the largest road in town.  Just turn away from the lake at the Nikko Yumoto Resthouse 日光湯元レストハウス, and you’ll see it on the right.

To and From

As always, the following routes are just recommendations.  Please use Hyperdia or Jorudan’s Train Route Finder to find the most suitable route for you!

From Tokyo 東京 to Nikko 日光, the easiest and cheapest way is the Tobu Nikko line 東武日光線 leaving from Asakusa 浅草.  The Limited Express (reserved seating) costs 2,620 yen and takes about 1 hour and 50 minutes.  The Rapid train (no reserved seating) is a little longer, but cheaper, at 1,320 yen and 2 hours and 10 minutes.

If you are travelling on a JR pass, catching the Shinkansen to Utsunomiya 宇都宮, and then the JR Nikko line 日光線 to Nikko Station 日光駅 would be faster.

From either the JR or the Tobu Nikko Station 日光駅, catch the Tobu Bus that’s headed towards Yumoto Onsen 湯元温泉.  The hike can be started from either the Ryuzu-no-taki 竜頭ノ滝 bus stop (as described here), or from Yumoto Onsen 湯元温泉 if you want to walk down hill.    To Ryuzu-no-taki 竜頭ノ滝 it takes 70 minutes (depending on traffic) and 1,350 yen.  To Yumoto Onsen 湯元温泉 takes 90 minutes and costs 1,650 yen.

If you want to spend some time in Nikko 日光 and see the sights or do more hiking, the Tobu All Nikko Pass covers the return trip from Asakusa 浅草 and all Tobu buses in a set area.  It’s valid for 4 days and costs 4,400 yen.  See this site for more information.

Links

Tobu Railways website – information about Nikko and Kinugawa (English) http://www.tobu.co.jp/foreign/index.html

Tobu Railways train timetables (English) http://www.tobu.co.jp/foreign/timetable.html

Tobu Bus routes and schedules in Nikko (Japanese) http://www.tobu-bus.com/pc/area/nikkou.html

Nikko Tourist Association – Lots of information about Nikko and the surrounds. (English)  http://www.nikko-jp.org/english/index.html

My Flickr photo set from Senjogahara http://www.flickr.com/photos/michelelisa/sets/72157622526837139/

Map of hike on GPSies http://www.gpsies.com/map.do?fileId=hpjtrradwajkqali

Useful Kanji

Nikko 日光
Senjogahara 戦場ヶ原
Lake Chuzenji/Chuzenjiko 中禅寺湖
Yunoko/Lake Yu 湯ノ湖
Tobu Nikko Station 東武日光駅
Ryuzu Falls/Ryuzu-no-taki 竜頭ノ滝
Yumoto Onsen 湯元温泉
Yugawa (river) 湯川
Oshirogahara 小田代原
Akanuma 赤沼
Yudaki (falls) 湯滝
Kotakunuma (pond) 光徳沼
Odaki (falls) 小滝
Nikko Yumoto Resthouse 日光湯元レストハウス
Tokyo 東京
Asakusa 浅草
Utsunomiya 宇都宮





Hike – Kamakura Daibutsu Hiking Course 大仏ハイキングコース

28 10 2009

Quick Overview

Kamakura Great Buddha

A short hike that takes you from Kita Kamakura Station 北鎌倉駅 to the Great Buddha 大仏.  There’s lots of interesting shrines to see on the way, and a large park where you can have a picnic lunch.  A nice alternative to the crowded tourist areas in Kamakura 鎌倉.  Suitable for families, but not many shops if you need to buy food.

If you are interested in this hike, you might also be interested in the Kamakura Ten-en Hiking Course.

Distance: 5.8km
Duration: 60-90 minutes
Difficulty: easy
Season:  Suitable all year
Starting point:  Kita Kamakura Station 北鎌倉駅
Finishing point:  Kotoku-In (Great Buddha) 高徳院(大仏)

Maps

This map of the hike  can also be viewed at GPSies

There are a number of nice walks in the hills surrounding Kamakura 鎌倉.  The Mapple website has a map of the area that includes trails – http://map.mapple.net/_mdspot_sc40000_sidG01401136102_lon139.5506925_lat35.3307686111111/index.htm, but is only in Japanese.  The trail head for the Daibutsu course is marked by the flag, and trails are marked with a blue dashed line.

The Hike

From Kita Kamakura Station 北鎌倉駅, take the south west exit and head out to the main road.  Before leaving the station area, it’s possible to access Engakuji Temple 円覚寺, the second in Kamakura’s top five Zen temples, from the east side.  Continuing on the west side of the tracks, take a left and follow the road for about 5 minutes.  On the right you will pass Shokozan-Tokeiji Temple 松岡山 東慶寺.  This used to be a nunnery that was also a sanctuary for women seeking a divorce. Grounds include a garden and Treasure house, and entrance is 100yen (not including the Treasure house, which is a further 300yen).  Another 5 minutes along the road, and you will see Jochiji Temple 浄智寺 on the right.  This is the start of the trail.

Entrance to Jochiji

God of Luck

Jochiji Temple 浄智寺 is another of the five main Zen temples of Kamakura. Grounds include a garden, well, bell tower, and statue of the god of luck.  Entrance is 200yen.  To continue hiking, follow the road alongside the temple on the left.  At the end of the road the trail heads up into the hills.  Follow this path to Kuzuharagaoka Shrine 葛原ヶ岡 and Genjiyama park 源氏山公園.  Kuzuharagaoka 葛原ヶ岡 is a shrine built on an execution ground from the Kamakura Period.  From here the park is along the path to the right.  This is a good place to stop and rest.

In approximately the middle of the park is a road to the right leading down to Zeniarai Benten Shrine 銭荒弁天.  Here you can wash your money to make it double, or buy a talisman that a priest will bless by striking a flint over it.  The shrine is on the right of the road through a stone tunnel.  Once you are finished here, continue down the road to the residential area.  Follow the road until you reach a Y intersection leading to the right with signs pointing to Sasuke Inari Shrine 佐助稲荷.  Walk along this road to the end and up the stairs to the shrine.  Keep climbing the stairs that lead up behind the shrine until you reach the top (don’t worry, it’s not far!)  At the top you can rejoin the Daibutsu Hiking Course 大仏ハイキングコース by turning left.

The rest of this trail only takes about 20 minutes to finish, and you will come down hill and exit on Route 32 next to a tunnel.  Just turn left and follow the road to the next corner, then turn left again.  On the left is Kotoku-In 高徳院 and the Great Buddha 大仏.  Entrance is 200yen, and an extra 20yen if you want to enter the Buddha.  The Kamakura Daibutsu 大仏 is the largest outdoor Buddha in Japan and certainly worth a look.

To and From

As always, the following routes are just recommendations.  Please use Hyperdia or Jorudan’s Train Route Finder to find the most suitable route for you!

From Tokyo 東京, catch the JR Yokosuka line 横須賀線 to Kita Kamakura 北鎌倉駅.  It takes 50 minutes and costs 780yen.  Or from Shinjuku 新宿 you can catch the JR Shonan Shinjuku line 湘南新宿線 to Kita Kamakura 北鎌倉駅.  It takes 52 minutes and costs 890yen.  Trains run regularly on these lines.  Sometimes a train won’t take you the whole distance and you might need to change to go further on.

From Kotoku-In 高徳院 buses leave regularly from the entrance to Kamakura Station 鎌倉駅 for 190yen approximately.  Or you can walk the 1.4km back to the station.

Links

Kamakura Today  http://www.kamakuratoday.com/e/index.html an English site with information on the sites in Kamakura

Tokeiji Temple http://www.tokeiji.com/pc/en/

Mapple Map of Kamakura in Japanese http://map.mapple.net/_mdspot_sc40000_sidG01401136102_lon139.5506925_lat35.3307686111111/index.htm

Map of hike on GPSies http://www.gpsies.com/map.do?fileId=krlwluqtzmqdquny

Useful Kanji

Kamakura 鎌倉
Daibutsu (Great Buddha) 大仏
Hiking Course ハイキングコース
Kita Kamakura Station 北鎌倉駅
Kotoku-In  高徳院
Engakuji 円覚寺
Shokozan-Tokeiji 松岡山 東慶寺
Jochiji 浄智寺
Kuzuharagaoka 葛原ヶ岡
Genjiyama Park 源氏山公園
Zeniarai Benten 銭荒弁天
Sasuke Inari 佐助稲荷
Tokyo 東京
Yokosuka line 横須賀線
Shinjuku 新宿
Shonan Shinjuku line 湘南新宿線





Hike – Mt Mitake and Mt Hinode 御岳山と日の出山

24 10 2009

Quick Overview

View from Mt Hinode

View from Mt Hinode

In the Oku-tama 奥多摩 region, Mt Mitake 御岳山 is a sacred mountain.  You can catch a cable car up most of the way, and at the top is Musashi Mitake Shrine 武蔵御岳神社 and treasure house.  From Mt Mitake 御岳山 it’s an easy hike to Mt Hinode 日の出山, which offers views of the Tokyo skyline.  From Mt Hinode 日の出山, its downhill to the station.  An easy hike, suitable for families if you just want to do the Mt Mitake 御岳山 section of the hike, and with many shops and restaurants around Mt Mitake 御岳山 (but not further on).

Distance: not including bus and cable car -11km
Duration: 3-5 hours
Difficulty: easy to slightly challenging (lots of stairs)
Season:  Suitable all year, but use your discretion in the winter months
Starting point:  Mitake Station 御嶽駅
Finishing point:  Hinatawada Station 日向和田駅

Maps

A map of the hike  can also be viewed at GPSies

There are many different and interesting hikes in this area, so I recommend you buy a map.  The Mapple 山と高原地図 series number 23 map is of the Okutama region, and is available on Amazon.co.jp.  Note, this map is in Japanese, but does include some English and furigana.

The Hike

From Mitake Station 御嶽駅 head out the only exit and turn right.  Not far down the road on the opposite side is a bus stop.  From here you can catch a Nishi Tokyo Bus 西東京バス to Cable Shita ケーブル下, the Takimoto Station 滝本駅 of the Mitake Tozan Railway 御岳登山鉄道.

Head up the road from the Cable Shita ケーブル下 bus stop, and you’ll see the cable car station on the right.  If you want to hike all the way up, just continue following the road.  To the top cable car station by foot should take about an hour.

At the top cable car station is a few shops and an area to sit and have a rest.  To start walking towards the summit of Mt Mitake 御岳山, take the path to the left, also known as Main Street.  Just before Main Street is a map showing you the route to the shrine.  Following the path along, after a short while you will enter a village.  Keep following the main path upwards between houses, shops and hotels, and you should get to the steps leading to Musashi Mitake shrine 武蔵御岳神社 within 20 minutes.

Map of Mt Mitake

Map of Mt Mitake

A quick trip up the stairs to the shrine will have you at the summit of Mt Mitake 御岳山.  The shrine itself was a place of worship popular with Samurai, so just down from the main building is a treasury building holding a couple of lovely examples of armor (entry 300yen).

Musashi Mitake Shrine

Musashi Mitake Shrine

Please also note, the toilets around the shrine and village are the last until just before the end of the trail.

To hike to Mt Hinode 日の出山, walk back down the stairs, and past the shops in front of the shrine.  Instead of turning back the way you came, take a right turn and follow the path through the village.  It can be a little confusing walking through the village, so keep an eye out for signs pointing to Mt Hinode 日の出山.  Once you pass the village you’ll be walking along a ridge line for about an hour.

Along this ridge are a few alternatives, but if you keep to the left and head up hill you will arrive at the summit of Mt Hinode 日の出山.  There are great views from Mt Hinode 日の出山, looking back towards Mt Mitake 御岳山 and the Tokyo skyline.  There is also another rest stop and tables for picnic lunches (but no shops).

When you want to continue on, descend down the other side of the summit.  Once again there are alternative paths, but initially stick to the left and follow the signs that point to Hinatawada 日向和田.  Walking down through the cedar you will pass a road, and eventually a small shrine full of Maneki Cats (lucky cats).  From this point the path will become a little steeper, zig-zagging back and forth, with tall steps.

Towards the end of the hike you will walk alongside a golf course.  It takes about 2 hours to reach here from Mt Hinode 日の出山.  Where the trail joins the road is a portable toilet.  Keep following the road until you reach the traffic lights.  You’ll have passed a Plum tree park on the right along the way.  At the lights turn left, and then at the next set of traffic lights turn right.  You can follow this road along, across a bridge, until you reach the train lines.  Hinatawada Station 日向和田駅 is just a little down the road on the right.

To and From

As always, the following routes are just recommendations.  Please use Hyperdia or Jorudan’s Train Route Finder to find the most suitable route for you!

From Shinjuku 新宿, catch the JR Chuo line 中央線 to Tachikawa 立川 and change to the JR Ome line 青梅線 towards Okutama 奥多摩.  It should take about 90 minutes and costs 890yen, but you might need to change trains at Ome Station 青梅駅 to go further on to Mitake Station 御嶽駅.  Trains run regularly on these lines.

From Mitake Station 御嶽駅 catch the Nishi Tokyo Bus 西東京バス to Cable Shita ケーブル下 bus stop.  Buses leave at least once or twice an hour from Mitake Station 御嶽駅 and cost 270yen for the 10 minute ride.

The Mitake Tozan Railway 御岳登山鉄道 cable car leaves at least once every half hour and costs 570yen.

From Hinatawada Station 日向和田駅, catch the JR Ome line 青梅線 to Tachikawa 立川 (again you might need to change at Ome Station 青梅駅), and then the JR Chuo line 中央線 to Shinjuku 新宿.  This should take about 75 minutes and costs 780yen.

Links

Mt Mitake Tozan Railway http://www.mitaketozan.co.jp/english/index.html includes cable car timetable and map of Mt Mitake

Mt Mitake Tourist website (Japanese) http://mitakesan.com/index.html

PDF Time Table of Nishi Tokyo Bus to Cable Shita (Japanese) http://www.nisitokyobus.co.jp/data/topics/2009/lib/objects/mitake%20kable%20r%20090722.pdf

My Flickr photo set from Mt Mitake and Mt Hinode http://www.flickr.com/photos/michelelisa/sets/72157622492689516/

Map of hike on GPSies http://www.gpsies.com/map.do?fileId=njychfygcovmfwsv

Useful Kanji

Mt Mitake 御岳山
Mt Hinode 日の出山
Okutama 奥多摩
Musashi Mitake Shrine 武蔵御岳神社
Mitake Station 御嶽駅
Hinatawada Station 日向和田駅
Nishi Tokyo Bus 西東京バス
Cable Shita bus stop ケーブル下
Takimoto Station 滝本駅
Mitake Tozan Railway 御岳登山鉄道
Hinatawada 日向和田
Shinjuku 新宿
Chuo Line 中央線
Tachikawa 立川
Ome Line 青梅線
Ome Station 青梅駅





Hike – Mt Tsukuba 筑波山

14 10 2009

Quick Overview

Mt Tsukuba

Mt Tsukuba

Within a couple of hours from Tokyo by train and bus, this twin-peaked hike is a nice and easy day trip, suitable for families.  Mt Tsukuba offers a lovely view of the Kanto plain, and occasionally Mt Fuji.  Facilities include restaurants, a cable car and rope way.

Distance: 5km
Duration: 2-3 hours
Difficulty: easy to slightly challenging (some rocky bits, and lots of stairs)
Season:  Suitable all year
Starting point:  Tsutsujigaoka bus stop つつじヶ丘
Finishing point:  Tsukubasan-jinja Iriguchi bus stop 筑波山神社入口

Maps

A map of the hike can also be viewed at GPSies

The Mapple 山と高原地図 map series number 20, which includes Mt Tsukuba, can be bought on Amazon.co.jp. Note, these maps are in Japanese, but have some English and furigana.

The Hike

You can hike from either Tsukubasan-jinja Iriguchi 筑波山神社入口 or Tsutsujigaoka つつじヶ丘, however this report starts from the later.  From Tsutsujigaoka つつじヶ丘 you can follow a trail to the summit of Mt Nyotai 女体山, across the ridge to Mt Nantai 男体山, and then down to Tsukubasan-jinja Iriguchi 筑波山神社入口.  Regardless of which mountain you climb first, there are a lot of stairs, but if you prefer to climb up rocks rather than down, climbing Mt Nyotai 女体山 is recommended.

Starting from Tsutsujigaoka つつじヶ丘, the bus stops in the middle of the parking lot for the ropeway.  This ropeway goes to the peak of Mt Nyotai 女体山, and costs 600¥ one way, or 1070¥ return.  To hike, walk past the shops, ropeway station, and up the trail next to the giant toad. This is the Otatsuishi course おたつ石コース.  From the car park you can see a fair section of the trail leading up.  The first half is quite open, so bring a hat on sunny days.  It is also possible to hike to Tsukubasan-jinja Iriguchi 筑波山神社入口 using the trail to the left at the trail head (the Mukaeba course 迎場コース).

Tsutsujigaoka trail head

Tsutsujigaoka trail head

After about 40 minutes of some pretty average hiking up stairs, you will reach a rest stop at the ‘Site of Benkei Cha-ya’ 弁慶茶屋.  From here take the path to the right to climb to the summit of Mt Nyotai 女体山.  The path to the left leads to Tsukubasan-jinga Iriguchi 筑波山神社入口(these paths are both part of the Shirakumobashi course 白雲橋コース).  Continuing up the mountain, from the rest stop, the path becomes steeper and rockier.  It also features a number of interesting rock formations.

Some of these rock formations are a little abstract, but interesting none the less.  A few of the rock formations are ‘Benkei returns seven times’, Takamagahara (a small shrine on a tall rock), ‘Mother’s womb’, ‘Departing and arriving ship’, Hokuto, and ‘Big Buddha’.

After approximately another 40 minutes you will reach the summit for Mt Nyotai 女体山.  There is a small shrine and a wonderful panoramic view of the Kanto plain.  On clear days you can see the Tokyo skyline and Mt Fuji.

Summit of Mt Nyotai

Summit of Mt Nyotai

From here, head down the other path.  You will come to a clearing with two paths.  The one on the left leads to the ropeway, and the other leads to Mt Nantai 男体山.  On the way to Mt Nantai 男体山 you will pass a couple more rock formations, the famous Toad Rock and Wagtail rock, and a few radio/TV towers.

Fork in the path - to the left the ropeway station, to the right Mt Nantai

Fork in the path - to the left the ropeway station, to the right Mt Nantai

Shops and Cablecar station with Mt Nantai in the background

Shops and Cablecar station with Mt Nantai in the background

Just before Mt Nantai 男体山 there are a number of little shops, the cable car station, and toilets.  These are good places to get some lunch.

Opposite the cable car station are stairs leading upwards, follow these if you want to go to the summit of Mt Nantai 男体山, although the view from this summit is poor compared to Mt Nyotai 女体山.  There is also a nature trail that circles around the top of Mt Nantai 男体山, accessible on the left behind the restaurants above the first flight of steps.  This circular trail takes about 20 minutes, is very easy, and exits next to the toilets in the cable car/shop area.

To descend Mt Nantai 男体山 take the path on the right of the cable car station.  If you choose to use the cable car instead, the cost is 570¥ one way, or 1020¥ return.  The path, known as the Miyukigahara course 御幸ヶ原コース, leads all the way down to Tsukubasan-jinja Iriguchi 筑波山神社入口, running mostly parallel with the cable car lines.  When you reach the bottom the path branches out, but if you continue heading down on the right you will get to the cable car station.  On the left is Tsukubasan Shrine 筑波山神社, which is worth a quick look.

Heading through the shrine complex, you will pass the main building, a gate, an old wooden bridge and a stone tori-gate before finally arriving at the road.  Follow this road down until you pass through the big red tori-gate.  On the right here is the Tourist Information Center (a bit late to use, but you can pick up a free map in English here).  On the opposite side of the road is a car park, toilet and a souvenir store.  The bus back to the Tsukuba Center つくばセンター leaves from this car park.

Tourist Information Center

Tourist Information Center

Tsukubasan-jinja Iriguchi bus stop and shops

Tsukubasan-jinja Iriguchi bus stop and shops

To and From

As always, the following routes are just recommendations.  Please use Hyperdia or Jorudan’s Train Route Finder to find the most suitable route for you!

From Akihabara 秋葉原 you can catch the Tsukuba Express つくばエクスプレス line to the Tsukuba Center TXつくば駅/つくばセンター.  The rapid train takes 45 minutes, and costs 1150¥.  Trains leave regularly.

From the train station take Exit A4, and turn left to the bus terminal.  Currently the shuttle bus to Tsukubasan-jinja Iriguchi 筑波山神社入口/Tsutsujigaoka つつじヶ丘 leaves from Bus Stop 1 every hour on the hour between 8am and 3:30pm on weekdays, and also on every half hour on weekends.  The shuttle bus costs 700¥ to Tsukubasan-jinja Iriguchi 筑波山神社入口, and 850¥ to Tsutsujigaoka つつじヶ丘(40 and 50 minutes respectively).  Make sure you can catch the last bus back to the Tsukuba Center, leaving Tsukubasan-jinja Iriguchi 筑波山神社入口 at 5:10pm.

Check the Tsukuba-san Website for current bus time tables (all in Japanese) http://www.kantetsu.co.jp/bus/tsukuba_shuttle/tsukuba_shuttle_index.html

There is also a discount ticket that includes return fare on the Tsukuba Express, return shuttle bus, and return cable car or ropeway for 4300¥ from Akihabara.  The ticket is valid over 2 days and available at Tsukuba Express stations.

A JR Bus also runs from Tokyo Station Yaesu South Exit to the Tsukuba Center and takes 65 minutes.  The cost is 1150¥ and the bus leaves every 20 minutes.

Links

Mt Tsukuba official website (Japanese) http://www.tsukubasan.co.jp/

Mt Tsukuba Tourist website (Japanese) http://www.mt-tsukuba.com/ (also includes a map of all hiking courses on the mountain)

Mt Tsukuba Shuttle Bus website (Japanese) http://www.kantetsu.co.jp/bus/tsukuba_shuttle/tsukuba_shuttle_index.html

My Flickr photo set from Mt Tsukuba http://www.flickr.com/photos/michelelisa/sets/72157622368085803/

Map of hike on GPSies http://www.gpsies.com/map.do?fileId=wywylzdtcntmkryi

Useful Kanji

Mt Tsukuba 筑波山
Tsutsujigaoka つつじヶ丘
Tsukubasan-jinja Iriguchi 筑波山神社入口
Mt Nyotai 女体山
Mt Nantai 男体山
Otatsuishi Course おたつ石コース
Mukaeba Course 迎場コース
Benkei Cha-ya 弁慶茶屋
Shirakumobashi Course 白雲橋コース
Miyukigahara Course 御幸ヶ原コース
Tsukuba Center TXつくば駅/つくばセンター








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