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
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.
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.
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.
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
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.
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
Amida-ji Temple 阿弥陀時
Gora Station 強羅駅
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
Shinjuku Station 新宿駅
Tokaido line 東海道線
Tokyo Station 東京駅