Tokyo, THE return: Episode Two

nogokiriyama tokyo chiba

Impressive site in Nogokiriyama

Sunday was forecast as a day in the nature. When we lived in Tokyo we often jumped on a train on the weekends so that we could get out into the countryside, be by the seaside or in the mountains to enjoy the different seasons. However, during my “rediscovering Japan through new eyes ” research I discovered Nogokiri Yama in Chiba Prefecture for the first time. A bit more research into this place on the internet and our Sunday was organized. Nogokiri Yama seemed like a perfect destination but I had never heard of this place before, which made me a little ashamed …

nogokiriyama tokyo

There are a lot of statues around

 What is Nogokiri Yama?

The Old Quarry

Nogokiri is the name of a mountain, where Nihonji Temple was built in 752. It is the mountain of saw teeth (literal translation from the Japanese), which sit at the top of this 329 meter mountain. This is the highest point in Chiba prefecture. The mountain served as a quarry for the building of Tokyo during the Edo period (including buildings such as Yasukuni Shrine). Standing on the saw teeth at the top of mountain you can look across Tokyo Bay for wonderful views of the city.

nogokiriyama

nogokiriyama

The Kingdom of Statues

ere you can find one of largest Buddhas in Japan – its height of 31 meters dwarves the great Buddha of Kamakura, which is also a day trip from Tokyo but a lot more famous. To reach the Daibutsu (Big Buddha) you stroll by 1,500 statues of arhats (those who have achieved enlightenment), which although damaged during the Meiji period of anti-Buddhism, provide charm and mystery to the mountain. At the end of your walk you are rewarded with an audience with the Daibutsu – the  “Hundred Shaku Kwannon” is an impressive Buddha built into the rock in memory of the victims of the Second World War.

nogokiriyama chiba tokyo

nogokiriyama chiba tokyo

View of nogokiriyama from the Ferry

 A nice little walk in the countryside

The discovery of Nogokiri Yama was also an opportunity to escape the city into the Japanese countryside . We rode the cable car up the mountain but we headed down the other side of the mountain on foot towards Hota Station. A very beautiful walk that includes more temples and peaceful rural scenes.

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Nokogiri Yama is now firmly on my list of favorite Tokyo area walks. What walks have you enjoyed the most in and around Tokyo?

 Voyagista’s Tips

  • To get to Nogoki Yama, the fastest express train is the Sazami (1,000 yen more than the normal train) from Tokyo Station to Hamakanaya. You can find the timetables on Hyperdia.

  • The cable car allows you to quickly rise to the top of the mountain (500 yen each way). You can have lunch at the restaurant at the top, but don’t expect anything to fancy.

  • The entrance to the mountain costs 600 yen and this gives you access to the entire mountain. I recommend you to do the trip in this order: cable car up the mountain – visit the Hundred Shaku Kwannon – visit the Ruriko Observatory – descend to the great Buddha passing by the arhats –  descend down to Hota Station.

  • For the return we crossed the bay on the ferry to Kurihama (700 yen). The boat leaves every hour and takes  40 minutes. It was a very nice way to finish the day especially as the sun was setting. At Kurihama, take the bus or a taxi to the train station.

map nogokiriyama

Map of Nogokiriyama

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