[Visited on October 3rd, 2021]
The first time I hiked Mt. Myojogatake and Mt. Myojingatake, it was a gloomy, rainy day. Mist was covering everything and I couldn’t see any further than 2 meters in front of me. The otherworldly atmosphere was much appreciated, but considering that there is a literal rim of a caldera to see, it was such a bummer. A year passed, and I was ready to attempt this hike again, this time with the sun on my side. Let’s see how Mt. Myojingatake actually looks like!
Read the original article, including details about the hike in the post below
After the initial slope which is covered by thick foliage, as soon as you reach the ridge close to Mt. Myojingatake, an excellent view of the active Mt. Hakone appears. You can recognize the crater from the steady white puffs that come out of it. These sulphuric gases are the reason why Owakudani, a popular sightseeing spot for the volcanic activity, is currently closed. On the right of Hakone, Mt. Fuji (also a volcano) stands tall and graceful. In between, at the valley, lie the villages of Gora and Ashigara. The last peak on the right is Mt. Ashigara-Kintoki. Keep that name in mind, because it needs a post all for itself!
Mt. Myojogatake is nothing special, apart from being the location for a summer ritual, that of burning a giant kanji that spells ‘big’ (大). On a sunny day, it’s easy to maintain a fast pace and reach the next peak, Mt. Myojingatake relatively quickly. The caldera rim is visible, and the purple flowers are still in place.
The biggest difference, landscape-wise, was that instead of looking from the rim of the old caldera into a white and fluffy void, now you could see and gauge the depth of the valley and the distance to the volcano. A lot of hikers took advantage of the good weather, so most of the picnic tables at the top of the mountain were constantly occupied.
This time around, the way downhill towards Sengokuhara had the most breathtaking views. Despite practically running down (due to a non-existent path exit and an early sunset), it was hard not to stop for a minute to enjoy the scenery. Dense, vivid-green bamboo sprouts are covering the entire mountainside, with only small cracks hinting the path below.
The proud tree I saw last time was staying put, ready to keep company to passer-by hikers. With the same pace, we continued all the way towards the intersection for Mt. Kintoki. Despite it looking awesome from the side, unfortunately we didn’t have enough time left to continue onto that one (we did go on another day). On a rainy day, I wasn’t even able to see the Kintoki’s peak, much less to observe the patterns of the mountain paths!
My final thoughts are that I can’t decide which hike I prefer. During the rainy-day hike, my boots were slipping, I almost fell a couple of times and I couldn’t see beyond my nose. On the other hand, the mist makes everything appear magical, while the path remains relatively safe due to the absence of rocky ground. On a sunny day, there’s so much more to observe and more chances to appreciate the colourfulness of nature. Plus, Mt. Fuji! Which one do you prefer?