Mt. Joyama (城山) to Mt. Katsuragiyama (葛木山) to Mt. Hottanjoyama (発端丈山) Part 3

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Mt. Katsuragiyama is a good spot for looking at sakura and momiji

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Take the path leading down onto the trail going to Mt. Hottanjoyama

From Mt. Katsuragiyama, take this trail toward Mt. Hottanjoyama. It’ll take around 90 minutes. En route to Mt. Hottanjoyama, allocate an hour for a detour to the Masuyamadera Temple. This mountain shrine is really pretty and has two old trees on its premises. The best time to visit this shrine is in autumn when the trees are crowned with red and gold leaves.

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Take a detour to Masuyama Temple

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View of Masuyama Temple flanked by a very old gingko tree on the right and a very old maple tree on the left

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A tree needs some support too

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Back on the trail, it takes 40 minutes to get to the top of Mt. Hottanjoyama and a really lovely view of Mt. Fuji. Enjoy a short break and the view before heading down the mountain toward Mito and the bus stop for the bus back to Numazu Station. It takes an hour and twenty minutes to get to the foot of the hill, but it’s best to allow for more time to stop for photos of the bay.

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Mt. Hottanjoyama

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View from Mt. Hottanjoyama

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View of the Uchiura Bay and Mt. Fuji

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Turn left to get to the Nakahama Trailhead

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The overgrown Mito Chuo trailhead

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Mt. Hottanjoyama hiking course

The coastal town is also really pretty, as is the bus ride along the coastal road. There are two buses to Numazu every hour. Even though, this is a sleepy little town, there is a large convenience store near the bus stop and a fish market for the freshest catch. The bus ride to Numazu station takes 40 minutes.

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Mt. Joyama to Mt. Katsuragiyama to Mt. Hottanjoyama Part 1

Mt. Joyama to Mt. Katsuragiyama to Mt. Hottanjoyama Part 2

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Mt. Joyama (城山) to Mt. Katsuragiyama (葛木山) to Mt. Hottanjoyama (発端丈山) Part 2

Finding the trailhead:

From the exit at Ohito station, turn left to walk along the car park, cross the train tracks and keep walking until you hit the intersection of 2 major highways. Keep walking in a south-west direction, cross the Kanogawa river and you’d see Mt. Joyama jutting out of an otherwise flat landscape, to your right. Keep following the road until you see the abandoned Peace Hotel. The road leading to the start of the trail is behind this hotel.

Tip: There is a convenience store a couple of blocks from the hotel. Keep walking along the highway until you get to a traffic intersection, and you’d see it across from where you are. Stock up on snacks and water and visit the very clean restroom before you hit the trail. Walk along the small road flanked by rice fields, with the Peace Hotel to your right and Mt. Joyama within sight in the distance. You’d see a sign that says that the trailhead is just up ahead. There is a car park and a small cemetery at the trailhead. It takes around 20-25 minutes to walk from Ohito station to the trailhead.

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The Kano river is to your right

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The abandoned Peace Hotel with Joyama in the background

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Almost at the trailhead

Hitting the Trail:

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The trail starts here

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Hiking map

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Start hiking up a rocky path, past an overgrown and unkempt bamboo grove, toward the first fork in the trail. This is a popular rock climbing site and you’d see climbers attempting to scale up the cliff.


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Rock climbers

That should take around 35 to 40 minutes. At the fork in the trail, take a right turn toward the top of Mt. Joyama. The return journey from the fork to the top of the mountain should take at most an hour or less.

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Forest trail

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Gnarly trees

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A break in the trees

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Is that were tanukis live?

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Mt. Joyama

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First peek of Fuji-san!

Once you’re back at the fork, you could return to Ohito station or continue hiking to Mt. Katsuragiyama.

 

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Pick your trail – turn right to go to Mt. Joyama and turn left to go to Mt. Katsuragiyama

Take the trail away from Mt. Joyama and you’d notice that you are suddenly looking at very different trees from the trail to Mt. Joyama. The tall straight-trunked pine trees on your left are a completely different type of trees from those on your right. The reason for this is that you are standing on the juncture where two massive land masses collided to form the Izu Peninsula million of years ago. Imagine a moving island, with its own thriving fauna, propelled by earthquakes and underwater seismic upheavals crashing into the main island of Honshu. That was how the Izu Peninsula came about. There is a sign at the start of the trail explaining this in greater details. It’s pretty fascinating.

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Walk along this trail for 5 minutes, until you see a sign that says “Outer Mountain” or “Inner Mountain”. A kind soul had scrawled in permanent marker informing fellow hikers that the “Outer Mountain” trail leads to Mt. Katsuragiyama and Mt. Hottanjoyama. Turn left and continue onward.

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Take the Outer Mountain trail to go to Mt. Katsuragiyama

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There are 500-year-old pine trees here

Walk until you see this sign Mt. Katsuragiyama.

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Decide if you wish to take it easy or take on a more challenging trail. For a leisurely and longer walk, continue along the main trail and it’ll take you 50 minutes to reach the top of Mt. Katsuragiyama. Or do what I did and turn right into the forest. This trail is definitely not easy to pick out and overgrown, and take note, it is steep. Follow the strips of coloured strips of ribbon guiding you upward. Some of these strips aren’t easy to pick out and you will have to scramble along, clinging onto trees and hauling yourself from one tree trunk to the next. A pair of gloves would come in handy here. Mid-way through the trail, I did wonder if I had made a mistake and looking down, I dreaded the thought of tumbling down back to the main trail. Did I mention I suffer from vertigo too? The good thing was, it was over in 25 minutes. I made it onto the top of the clearing and had a quiet spot to myself to enjoy the view. This side trail cuts hiking time by less than half, but it’s not for hikers who aren’t too sure-footed.

Tip: Do not attempt this hike if it had been raining or the trail is muddy. Landslides occur here quite often, and the winds are pretty strong.

 

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View from Mt. Katsuragi

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The next piece of good news is that you don’t have to go back the same way you came from. Mt. Katsuragiyama is also very different from the rough-and-tumble trail you’ve left behind you. There is a park at the top of the mountain and it is accessible by ropeway. A return journey to Panorama Park on the ropeway costs 1,220yen. There is a shrine, cafeteria and gift shop at the park, mini climbing wall for children, and playgrounds for kids and fur kids. There is also a free onsen footbath with a really good view of Mt. Fuji.

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Soak your feet for free, while soaking in the view

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Playground for dogs

The view of Mt. Fuji is pretty spectacular and there is the 100 Jizo Power Spot. Soak up some power here and pray for good health.

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Mt. Joyama to Mt. Katsuragiyama to Mt. Hottanjoyama (Part 1)

Mt. Joyama to Mt. Katsuragiyama to Mt. Hottanjoyama (Part 3)

Mt. Joyama (城山) to Mt. Katsuragiyama (葛木山) to Mt. Hottanjoyama (発端丈山) Part 1

Total Walking Time: 4.5 to 6 hours

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Located in Izunokuni in the Izu Peninsula, uou can see some of the best views of Mt. Fuji on Mt. Joyama, Mt. Katsuragiyama and Mt. Hottanjoyama. The hike is a pleasant long walk along the mountain range that connects these three peaks. The course is mostly easy and along a well-trodden trails, with add-on options including a walk in the park, a relaxing ropeway ride, and a really steep scramble up (and down) an unmarked trail, depending on what you fancy your hikes to be like.

Tip: If you do not wish to pack food for your hike, there is an option of stopping for a quick lunch at Mt. Katsuragiyama. There is a cafeteria serving hot food and vending machines at the Panorama Park. There is also the option of taking the ropeway from Mt. Katsuragiyama down the mountain.

I started from the central part of the Izu Peninsula, near the spa town of Shuzenji, heading westward toward the coast of western Izu. For this hike, I recommend starting from Ohito station and completing the journey at Mito, a coastal town along the Uchiura Bay. It is possible to complete this trail in reverse but this means you’d be walking with your back to Mt. Fuji and might miss out on seeing some really good views.

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The course is easy to moderate and accessible year-round. For the most part, this trail is well-trodden with hikers, and it’s mostly well-maintained and very clearly marked with signs. There is a section of the trail which is a little more challenging, but it’s optional. A walking stick could be helpful but not essential. Bring a hat, gloves, flashlight, snacks and water, mosquito repellent in summer. A shirt for a spring or autumn hike, your lightest and most effective sweat-wicking clothing and a sweat towel in summer (it gets very hot and humid), and a light jacket or windbreaker in winter.

Access:

From Mishima Station, take the privately-run Izu-Hakone train from Mishima Station (along the Tokaido line). Ohito station is two stops away from the last station, which is Shuzenji station. There are lockers at the station, but if you follow the recommended itinerary, you won’t be heading back to Ohito Station. Alternatively, you could opt to leave your bags at Numazu Station in the morning before going to Mishima Station to transfer to the Izu-Hakone train to Ohito.

Useful Japanese:

Numazu Station Numazu-eki 沼津駅
Mishima Station Mishima-eki 三島駅
Izu-Hakone Railway Izu-Hakone Tetsudo 伊豆箱根鉄道
Izu-Nagaoka Station Izu-Nagaoka eki 伊豆長岡駅
Nirayama Station Nirayama-eki 韮山駅
Ohito Station Ohito-eki 大仁駅
Shuzenji Station Shuzenji-eki 修善寺
Kano River Kanogawa 狩野川
Mt. Joyama Joyama 城山
Joyama Pass Joyama-touge 城山峠
Rindo Pass (Forest Trail Pass) Rindo-touge 林道峠
Mt. Katsuragiyama Katsuragiyama 葛城山
Katsuragiyama Pass Katsuragiyama-touge 葛木山峠
Panorama Park パノラマパーク
Masuyamadera Temple Masuyama-dera 益山寺
Mt. Hottanjoyama Hottanjoyama 発端丈山
Nagahama Trailhead Nagahama-touge 長浜峠
Mito Town Mito 三津
Uchiura Bay Uchiura-wan 内浦湾
Nirayama Reverberatory Furnaces Nirayama hansharo 韮山反射炉
Strawberry Picking Ichigo-gari 苺狩り

Mt. Joyama to Mt. Katsuragiyama to Mt. Hottanjoyama Part 2

Mt. Joyama to Mt. Katsuragiyama to Mt. Hottanjoyama Part 3

Around the Izu Peninsula