Hike to Mount Buko in Chichibu

Mount Buko (武甲山) is a 1,304m high mountain in Chichibu, in Saitama prefecture, about 1h30 north-west of Tokyo. The face visible from the Chichibu Basin is scarred by a large limestone quarry.

I found out about the mountain from this blog post (map included) and I roughly followed the plan described in the page, except for the starting and ending stations. To get to the beginning of the hike from Tokyo, I took the Seibu-Ikebukuro / Seibu-Chichibu line from Ikebukuro Station in Tokyo and got off at Yokoze station. This time, I splurged for a Limited Expres (Red Arrow) train ticket, to avoid changing trains too many times. Since there is no bus service to the base of the mountain, I then had to walk all the way to the First Torii of Ontake Shrine. The road was a bit dangerous since there was no sidewalk at times and there are a lot of trucks going up and down the road. At the Torii, I finally entered the forest path leading to the summit of Mount Bukou. The view of Chichibu from the summit was really spectacular. I then went down on the other side of the mountain, to reach Urayamaguchi Station, operated by Chichibu Railway.

Above, Yokoze station.

Above, first view of Mount Buko.

Above, limestone processing plant.

Above, “Beware of bears” sign.

Above, reaching the First Torii.

Above, fellow hikers on the way up.

Above, Fudou Fall.

Above, shrine just before the summit.

Above, summit.

Above, view of Chichibu Basin from the summit.

Above, limestone processing plant. Part of the quarry is visible in the foreground.

Above, on the way down to Urayamaguchi station.

Above, wonderful autumn colors in the mountains.

Above, pampas grass in the sun.

The entrance of the Hashidate stalactite cave is right next to this. Unfortunately, I didn’t know about it when I visited.

Above, Urayamaguchi station.

Above, Mount Buko. I actually missed the train at Urayamaguchi station so I walked to Kagemori station, where trains are more frequent.

Above, Chichibu Railway operates a steam locomotive called the Paleo Express.


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