Mt. Nokogiri in Chiba Prefecture
Mt. Nokogiri is located in Chiba Prefecture and is not that high (only 329m) but has amazing view from the top of the mountain. Hiking up to the mountain does not take more than one and a half hours but there is a lot of amazing spots to stop by on the way. You can get to the hiking trail either by train or by car.
Access from Tokyo to Mt. Nokogiri via public transportation
The easiest way to get to the trailhead is to take the express train called Tokkyu Sazanami from Shinjuku station to Hamakanaya station. It depends on which station you depart from in Tokyo but it takes approximately two and a half hours to get to Hamakanaya station from Tokyo. I wouldn’t say it is very close from Tokyo but still, it is worth visiting the mountain. The picture below is Tokkyu Sazanami which runs only 5 or 6 per day between Tokyo and Chiba so I would recommend to check out the timetable before your trip.
Hayakanaya station (picture below) is very local and small.
The trail we went on this time is called Sharikimichi which starts from the area that is about 10 minutes walk from the Hamakanaya station. There is information center on the way to the trailhead where you can get the map of the area and trails. As you climb up the trail, you are able to see the ocean (Tokyo Bay) between the trees.
The first spot that appears in front of you after 30 to 40 minutes hike is called Quarry Trace (Ishikiriba Ato). The picture below shows the traces of stones that were cut out in the past. It does look surreal but it is true that more than 100 years ago, people were here to find good quality stones and cut them out for their stone businesses. Cutting stones out seems to be a huge work when you look at the steep cliff in the picture below but surprisingly, those were women’s job in the Meiji/Taisho era.
The map below shows that there are so many spots on the trail where you can see quarry traces.
One more picture that shows a sharp angle of the stone cliff. It reminds me of the fantasy movie called “Castle in the Sky.”
The way the stones were carved out was really unique which looks almost like a staircase in the picture below. As it is explained in the pictures below, the stones were carved out based on the geological characteristics of Mt. Nokogiri as people looked for good quality stones. I am sure there weren’t that good machines more than 100 years ago so it is pretty impressive how people were able to cut out the stones in such a delicate way.
The picture below is the machine that was used to curve out the stones in old days.
Another stunning angle!
After an hour walk or so, we were able to see amazing ocean view like below.
As you get closer to the top of the mountain, we were also able to see a Bodhisattva sculpture which was pretty dynamic.
Toward the top of the mountain, there is a spot called Jigoku Nozoki (View of Hell) which I believe is the spot where people can have the best view from Mt. Nokogiri but may be scary as hell as it is located on the edge of the stone cliff. Not very surprisingly, there is a lengthy line to the view of hell so we decided to just take the pictures from nearest spots which were already quite incredible.
Although it is a bit blurry in the picture, we were able to see Tokyo, Yokohama, and Yokosuka areas from the mountain.
You may think biggest Buddha in Japan is in either Nara or in Kamakura in Japan. However, it is actually located in Nihonji Temple in Mt. Nokogiri. The Buddha here was originally built in 1783 and was majorly fixed in 1969. The entire statue is 31 meters high and Buddha’s face itself is 6.5 meters. The Buddha’s height in Nara is 18 meters so the size of Buddha in Mt. Nokogiri is well over the height of Buddha in Nara.
There is a little picnic area near the Buddha which was filled with people who were there for hiking. We took a different route on our way back to the station (Hoda station which is one stop next to Hamakanaya station). Climbing down the mountain took much less time (i.e. about 30 minutes) so we decided to stop by at a local supermarket (Michino eki) near the Hoda station where we were able to buy local groceries, including local vegitables and fruits.
The picture below is beautiful natural flowers on the road to the Hoda station. Mt. Nokogiri was a great place to visit for easy hike, but with stunning view from the mountain. As it is not too close from Tokyo, the place is less crowded with lots of interesting things to see. Highly recommended!