If you want to take a 1-2 hour hike while adventuring to find Buddhas, Arafat, and views of Tokyo Bay and Mt. Fuji I recommend Nokogiryama, Chiba (Mt. Sawtooth). I have very mixed opinions of Nokogiriyama, Chiba since I felt that although it was interesting to see the sights, I did find it was quite expensive considering the transport, cablecar fee and also entry fee to see the Budha and Temple. However, if you want a day break from Tokyo and have a car, you can enjoy a drive across the Aquiline visiting the Umihotaru parking area in the middle of Tokyo Bay and see the Chiba side of Tokyo bay on your way to Nokogiriyama. Depending on Traffic it takes about 1-2 hours to get to Nokogiriyama which is right off the Tateyama expressway. Nokogiriyama is the home to a 1,300-year-old temple and stone quarry. While in the area you can also combine with a trip to Mother Farm or the Mitsui Outlets.
Nokogiriyama, Chiba – Hike to View Tokyo Bay and Mt. FujiItinerary
- With kids take the cable car up Nokogiryma – 5 min ride after they take pictures of all groups you can buy at decent (Roundtrip 12+: 930 JPY, 6-11: 250 JPY, 5 and under free) – the cable car runs every ten mins
- Once at the top head to the Jigoku Nozoki aka “View of Hell” which is about a 20 min walk with little feet (more than 150 steps) – You can lean out on the cliff and see amazing green views and views of the northern part of Tokyo Bay and on a clear day Tokyo.
- After viewing Hell go down the stairs and take a quick right to venture through a chiseled mountain to see the standing Hyaku-Shaku Kannon Goddess of Mercy which was carved in remembrance of those who perished in WWII. This area reminded my kids of our family trip to Petra on a mini version.
- After visiting Hell and the Kannon head down the mountain heading to the temple complex. On the way, you will pass the 1,500 Arafat (small stone statues) along the stairway down the mountain. Most of the climb is newly made cement steps which are not for folks with weak knees. It takes about 20 mins to descend the steps. Many of the Arafat are headless due to anti-Buddhism movements over the ages. Spend some time to look at the faces of the statues which are all different. Some happy, sad and terrifying.
- At the bottom of the big stairs, you will come to the Temple complex (entry 600 JPY for 12+, 250 JPY for 6+). Once you enter the complex walk about ten mins down a road to view the Ishidaibutsu. The Budha carved into the cliff 1783 is twice the size of the Budha in Kamakura. It is a Budha of healing so make a prayer near the Budha, and you might be healed. There are bathrooms, vending machines, a small gift shop and picnic area.
- Finally leave the Budha area and head down about 10 mins further to visit the Nihonji (Buddhist temple). The temple used to function as a monastery is presently under reconstruction. If your feet are tired, once could skip the temple. Remember you need to climb back up.
- Take your time climbing back up to the Cable Car. There is a road but, pedestrians are not allowed (does not seem to make sense to me since it would be a more gradual climb). But rules are rules.
- Make sure you don’t miss the last cable car down at 4:00. You can grab some ice cream, rice dango or drinks waiting for your ride down.
- November 16th to February 15th 9:00 to 16:00
- February 16th to November 15th 9:00 to 17:00
- (During Summer: 9:00 to 18:00)
Nokogiriyama, Chiba – Hike to View Tokyo Bay and Mt. Fuji************
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