Mt. Daruma (達磨山)

Starting from the historical and very picturesque onsen town of Shuzenji, you could complete the loop that’d take you back to your starting point and a relaxing soak in an onsen, or you could choose to complete your hike at the foot of Mt. Sanagi-yama at Heda port to enjoy a sunset view of the bay. If you’re in need of a long walk and some quiet to soak in the views of the mountains and the sea without having to navigate a challenging trail or clamber over tree roots and rocks, this is the hike for you.

The trail from Heda Pass to Mt. Daruma and onwards to Funabara Pass is a very well-maintained trail, considering it’s not exactly swarming with hikers. There are clearly marked signs pointing you in the right direction. This is a good solid 4-hour hike that’d take you from the sleepy port of Heda inland to the ridge that divides the Izu Peninsula. You also have the option of extending the hike from Mt. Kinkan to Mt. Sanagi-yama, if you have 8 hours to spare. Note that this part of the course isn’t as well-maintained, but there is the option of walking along the road if you are worried about getting lost.

The trail is easy to moderate, depending of how much you liked stair work. Be prepared for a stair-master workout to get to the top of Mt. Daruma. The course is accessible year-round. There would be light snow on parts of the trail in winter. Stock up on food and water at Shuzenji station. There are lockers at the station. Tip: prepare a wide-brim hat that would shield your face and neck from the sun. There are very few trees along this course so you’d be at the mercy of the sun.

If you attempt the longer trail, you’d be hitting 7 peaks in total, with a total distance of 15km.

Heda Pass -> Mt. Kinkan 816m -> Mukou Pass -> Mt. Okuyama 761m -> Sanagiyama Pass -> Mt. Sanagi-yama 491m -> Sanagiyama Pass -> Mt. Kinkan -> Mt. Kodaruma 890m -> Mt. Daruma 982m -> Mt. Kokiyama 920m -> Mt. Garanzan 860m -> Funabara Pass -> Omagari-chaya bus stop

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Map at the start of the Heda Pass

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Access

From Shuzenji station, take a bus at bus stop number 6 headed towards Heda. You’d arrive at the trailhead to Heda Pass in 27 minutes. The fare is at 740 yen. Buses ply this route infrequently and there are only 5 buses leaving per day at these times: 7:38am, 9:15am, 11:30am, 2:20pm and 3:45pm. The schedule for the bus from Omagari-chaya to Shuzenji Station is: 1:14pm 2:12pm, 3:14pm, 4:12pm, 5:12pm, 6:14pm, 7:32pm and 8:17pm.

Hitting the Trail

Trail option 1: Mt. Kinkan to Mt. Darumayama to Funabara Pass (4 to 4.5 hours)

Trail option 2: Mt. Kinkan to Mt. Sanagi-yama (Return trip: plus 4 hours)

Useful Japanese:

Shuzenji station Shuzenji-Eki 修善寺駅
Bus stop Basu Noriba バス乗り場
Mt. Daruma Highland Campsite Daruma-yama Kogen Resuto Hausu だるま山高原レストハウス
Heda Pass Heda Touge 戸田峠
Mt. Kinkan Kinkan-zan 金冠山
Mt. Okuyama Oku-yama 奥山
Sanagiyama Pass Sanagi-yama Touge 真城峠
Mt. Sanagiyama Sanagi-yama 真城山
Mt. Kodaruma Kodaruma-yama 小達磨山
Mt. Daruma Daruma-yama 達磨山
Mt. Koki Koki-yama 古稀山
Mt. Garan Garan-zan 伽藍山
Toi Pass Toi- Touge 土肥峠
Funabara Pass Funabara Touge 船原峠
Omagari Tea House bus stop Omagari-chaya basu-tei 大曲茶屋バス停

 

Tip:

If you wish to check out the Daruma Kogen Highland campsite and lookout point for a really good view of Mt. Fuji, alight at the bus stop before Heda Pass.

Shuzenji is a really lovely onsen town with many foot baths dotting the town for visitors to enjoy free-of-charge. In the past, many exiles were banished to this part of the Izu Peninsula, for example, the second shogun was exiled to Shuzenji Temple, where he was assassinated. You could see his death mask which is displayed at the temple. Shuzenji also attracted many writers, the most famous being Natsume Soseki. He used to stay at the Kikuya ryokan. The inn is still in business and you could stay here and look at the literary shrine dedicated to Natsume Soseki.

This course could be attempted as part of an Izu literary hike. The Odoriko (or Dancing Girl) hiking course around Mt. Amagi is the setting for the novel “The Dancing Girl of Izu” written by Yasunari Kawabata.

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