Day Hike from Tokyo: Rokkokutoge to Kamakura

Ok, so it snowed again in Tokyo this week, plus it’s Ume blossom season and you don’t feel like walking much. You’d much rather find a nice viewpoint to have a picnic and some drinks, preferably relatively close to the sea. Alright, I’ve got you covered. Today we are going to traverse Miura peninsula, from Yokosuka to Kamakura.

Let’s say you find yourself roaming around in Yokosuka, but it’s quite early. You’ve visited Taura park before, you went to the retro district already, you did the military port cruise and the cruise to Sarushima. There are not so many options left to explore. What you can do, is head to Kanazawa-Bunko station (not to be confused with Kanazawa city in Ishikawa prefecture). If you have limited time, you can roam around the traditional garden of Shomyoji (称名寺市民の森). But it’s better to focus on the west side and make a leap across the mountains, in order to end up in elegant Kamakura.

Walk parallel to the train tracks until you find the entrance of the Rokkokutoge hiking trail (六国峠ハイキングコース 金沢文庫口). Climb up the stairs and you will reach a plateau, where the ruins of Nokendo (能見堂跡) are located. A sign board shows a picture of the exact same spot 100 years ago. The photograph was probably taken from foreign (American?) visitors, as the inscription “NOW KEN DOW” hints. On top of the hill, there is a variety of plum trees, both white and pinkish. It was a bit early for the blossoming when I visited, but the trees should be getting ready by now.

This was the location of a Buddhist temple in the 1600s. A famous Zen master from China stood at this hill and while observing the view, reminisced of eight magnificent views of his hometown. The “eight views of Kanazawa” became a prominent theme for ukiyo-e painters, including Utagawa Hiroshige, and the spot rose to prominence.

Less than an hour later, you will arrive at Kanazawa Zoo. I’m not so fond of zoos, so I just walked on the wooden deck path of the Will Rice Field Valley (しだの谷). From the Sekiyaoku Viewing Platform, you can observe a nice view of the sea. Continue walking and you will find an extremely large cemetery. I will be honest, it was one of the largest I’ve ever come across, so I took a second there to contemplate about death.

While you marvel at the bamboo grove, follow the signs to Tenen (天園). This spot gives the name to the ridge as Rokkoku (六ヵ国 means six countries)), because you could see the six provinces of Izu, Sagami, Musashi, Awa, Kazusa, and Shimousa. I saw the ruins of an abandoned tea house, but it seems a newer one (天園休憩所) is operating nearby. It also seemed abandoned to me, but at least it had a working vending machine to grab a bottle of water. The landscape changes a bit from here, since you have to hike down a path that cuts the rocky substrate in half. A lot of rock formations have names, as per usual, for example the lion rock below (yeah, it doesn’t look like a lion at all, I know).

Eventually, you are going to find a few more blossoming plum trees. This is the entrance to the Yofukuji Temple site. There is not much to see, apart from the foundation of some old buildings from the era of the Kamakura shogunate. I would advice moving towards the shrine next door, the Kamakura-gu (鎌倉宮). The lucky charms are shaped as cute red lions and there a lot of fun pilgrimage activities (if you are 5 years old) like throwing tiny plates to a rock or rubbing a stone turtle for luck. The shrine is an imperial one, so they distribute a pamphlet with the emperor’s genealogical tree together with the goshuin stamp. They seem to be fond of cats, because they have a program for supporting stray cats and also celebrate the cat day on the 22th of February with honors.

After almost three hours, you have finally arrived in Kamakura. There are millions of things to do here, but I chose to lay low and have lunch with fresh seafood and frozen yogurt with honey. Alternatively, you could go for tea or old school coffee or visit one of the myriad temple gardens if it’s early in the afternoon.

If you want to check out the details of this hike, you can follow the route in alltrails. If you liked this article, share it with your friends. Do you have any hiking tips for the area? Add them in the comments. You can also follow this blog, follow me on Instagram or Facebook, to never miss a post. Until next time!

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