Otama Walking Trail: Hike from Kori to Okutama

The Otama Walking Trail is a nice and easy 8km trail in Okutama, in western Tokyo. It follows the valley formed by the Tama River from Kori station to Okutama station. I had already followed the section of the trail in Hatonosu Valley last autumn but I came back for the whole trail in spring. It took me about 3.5 hours to reach Okutama.

Continue reading Otama Walking Trail: Hike from Kori to Okutama


Kamakura Hiking Trails part 1: Gionyama Hiking Course

Kamakura is surrounded by the ocean in the south and by wooded hills in all other directions. Attractive hiking trails lead through the woods along these hills and connect Kamakura’s numerous temples and shrines. It is possible to walk them all in one go, starting and ending at train stations.

Here is a map of the full path I walked that day (download KML):

In red, the Gionyama Hiking Course, followed by a walk to Zuisen-ji, as described in this post. In green, the Tenen Hiking Course. In blue, the Daibutsu Hiking Course.

Here is a map of the Gionyama Hiking Course (the short trail east of the river: The rest is a walk through shrines and temples on the way to Zuisen-ji), starting from the Kamakura train station:

I started in the morning at the railway station and made my way to Myohon-ji Temple and the nearby Yakumo Shrine, where the Gionyama Hiking Course starts. The trail ends not very far from the Tsurugaoka Hachimangu Shrine, which I visited next. I then walked on the road until Zuisen-ji Temple, stopping on the way at Egara Tenjin Shrine and Kamakura-gu Shrine. I will make a specific post about those shrines and temples. The Tenen Hiking Course (which I already did in the other direction) starts next to Zuisen-ji. This will be for Part 2.

Above, gate to Myohon-ji Temple.

Above, statue of Nichiren.

Above, Yakumo Shrine.

Above, the Gionyama Hiking Course starts on the right of the torii.

Above, squirrel.

Above, alley to Tsurugaoka Hachimangu Shrine, decorated with lanterns for the Kamakura Festival.

Above, torii of Tsurugaoka Hachimangu Shrine.

Above, on my way to Zuisen-ji Temple.

Above, at Egara Tenjin Shrine.

Above, a statue of a brush: the E-hude-zuka, covered with kappa.

Above, torii of Kamakura-gu Shrine.

Above, arriving at Zuisen-ji.

Above, main temple building.

Above, meditation cave,

Snow at Mount Takao: Trail #6 / Konpiradai Trail

Mount Takao has many trails to and from the summit. This time, I took trail #6 to get to the summit. There was still a lot of snow left. On the way down, I started on trail #3 then followed the paved road (trail #1) until Konpiradai, where I took a trail through the forest. I then walked to the Takao Keio station.

Continue reading Snow at Mount Takao: Trail #6 / Konpiradai Trail

Tenen Hiking Trail in Kamakura

The Tenen Hiking Trail connects Kenchoji Temple in Kita-Kamakura with Zuisenji Temple in the east of the city, leading mostly along the ridge of the hills. I had come back to Kamakura intending to do the 3 hiking trails listed on that page but it was not great because of the melting snow that made the trail very muddy. I ended the day in Enoshima instead.

Here is a map of the path I walked (download KML):

Above, at Kenchoji Temple.

Above, on the path to Hansobo Shrine, behind Kenchoji Temple.

Above, Tengu statues before the shrine.

Above, view of Kenchoji Temple from the observation deck.

Above, on the trail.

Above, view of Yokohama and the Landmark Tower in the distance.

Above, summit of Mount Ohira. At 159m, it is the highest point of Kamakura.

Above, at Zuisenji Temple.

Above, plum tree in blossom.

Hike to Mount Iwatakeishi & Mount Bounoore

A few weeks ago, I went back to Mitake to continue the trail to Mount Bounoore (aka Mount Bounomine) I had planned to do then but abandoned due to the fog.

Here is a map of the path I walked (download KML):

I basically followed the plan outlined here (with map). I started at Mitake station in the morning. After some time in the valley, I started on the trail to Mount Iwatakeishi (岩茸石山; 793m). The last time I was there, I could not see anything because of the fog but, that day, the view was great. Then I continued to Mount Bonoore (棒ノ折山 or 棒ノ嶺; 969m), passing Mount Kuro (黒山) along the way. I then went down to Hyakkenja-ya Camping Ground (百軒茶屋) and walked the mountain road all the way down to Kawai station.

Above, at Mitake station.

Above, at the trailhead.

Above, summit of Mount Sogaku.

Above, view from the summit of Mount Iwatakeishi.

Above, view of Mount Takamizu.

Above, on the trail to Mount Bounoore.

Above, the red fruit of the plant called Mamushigusa or Japanese Cobra Lilly (Arisaema Serratum). It is quite toxic.

Above, the tip of Mount Fuji.

Above, view of Lake Naguri (名栗湖), an artificial lake created by the Arima Dam.

Above, summit of Mount Bonoore.

Above, trail on the way down to Hyakkenja-ya.

Above, field of wasabi.

Above, Obata River at Hyakkenja-ya.

Above, mountain road on the way to Kawai station. There are buses that go to the station but they are not very frequent.

Above, bridge on Tama River, seen from Kawai station.

Hike in the Fuji 5 Lakes area: Lake Kawaguchi, Mount Ashiwada, Aokigahara Forest

A couple of weeks ago, I went on a day trip to Fujikawaguchiko, in Yamanashi Prefecture. The area is located on the north side of Mount Fuji, west of Tokyo, and is famous for being a great spot for watching the mountain. It also known under the name “Fuji Five Lakes” (after Lake Kawaguchi, Lake Sai, Lake Shoji, Lake Motosu and Lake Yamanaka). On top of the lakes, the area has mountains and swathes of woodland, the most well-known being Aokigahara Forest, also called the “Sea of trees” (and sometimes “Suicide Forest”).

While I was there, starting from Kawaguchiko station, I walked on the south bank of Lake Kawaguchi for a while, until I reached a mountainous area. I then hiked a forest trail up to the summit of Mount Ashiwada. It was possible to see Mount Fujji along the way. Then, I went down towards Aokigahara Forest, stopping to enjoy the views at Sankodai and Koyodai. In Aokigahara, I walked the well-marked trails and visited the Ice Cave and Wind Cave. Finally, I went to Lake Sai to catch the bus back to the train station.

Here is a map of the path I walked (download KML):

Above, fishermen on Lake Kawaguchi.

Above, Mount Fuji.

Above, Mount Fuji from the bridge.

Above, the path next to the lake. It goes all the way to Katsuyama Road Station and offers splendid views on the lake, the surrounding mountains and, occasionally, Mount Fuji.

Above, a Peace Pole with the usual message: “May Peace Prevail on Earth”.

Above, Mount Ashiwada.

Above, view of Katsuyama Road Station and Lake Kawaguchi from the trail.

Above, Lake Kawaguchi.

Above, Mount Fuji from the summit of Mount Ashiwada (Gokodai).

Above, Lake Sai.

Above, it did not feel that cold but some ice still formed on the ground.

Above, Sankodai view point.

Above, mountains, with Aokigahara Forest in the foreground.

Above, view of Lake Motosu from Sankodai.

Above, view of Mount Fuji from the Koyodai observatory.

Above, view of Lake Sai from Koyodai.

Above, Aokigahara Forest.

Above, entrance to the Ice Cave.

Above, entrance to the Wind Cave.

Above, Lake Sai.

Above, back at Lake Kawaguchi. The bus actually goes all the way to the train station, but I got off earlier so I could watch the last of the sunlight on the mountain.

Above, “See you again” sign on the way to the train station.