Day Hike from Tokyo: Mt Takatori, Mt Nenbutsu and Mt Azuma

Let’s say you are tired of people and would like to find a serene route to retreat to. If that’s the case, then Mt. Takatori (高取山) at Hadano in Kanagawa is an ideal option.

You might come across the name Takatori for various mountains around Kanto, but in this case, I am referring to one of the low peaks of the Tanzawa mountain range. At 705.7m height, it is an ideal choice for beginners. It is nearby Kiyokawa and Aiko villages, which I visited previously, on my way to Mt. Bukka. Apparently, Mt. Bukka, Mt. Kyogatake, Mt. Kegon and Mt. Takatori, all around 700m height, form a low mountain range called the Bukka-renzan (仏果連山). These mountains form many narrow and steep mountain trails called “thin ridges”; therefore one can enjoy superb views on both sides of the path.

First things first, get a bus to Minoge bus stop (蓑毛) in Hadano and grab a coffee from the mountain-whale (山くじらコーヒー) coffee shop, if you can spare a minute. Follow the road for a little bit and you’ll eventually reach the trailhead for Minoge-pass (蓑毛越) on your left. You will come across signs that head to Mt. Oyama, so you can consider a change of course if you’d like. However, for today’s hike, I recommend turning south-east, towards Mt. Terayama (寺山) and Tsurumaki-onsen (鶴巻温泉). No strange detours or turns, just move along the ridge.

After a while you will reach a landmark stone column, devoted to god Fudo-Myo, which marks the Iyori pass (いより峠). Occasionally, you might listen to the voices of golfers from the country club nearby. If you do, then rest assured that after a quick push on the steep ridge and a swim among the thick shrubs, you will reach Mt. Takatori. There are no landmarks on the peak, apart from a few signposts and a magnificent view to Hadano city.

The next peak is Mt. Nenbutsu (念仏山) and as you can tell, all mountains in the area have a strong connection to Buddhism, maybe due to their proximity to Mt. Oyama and because they are old pilgrimage routes for the Yamabushi. You will find a couple of Jizo statues scattered around, and a few wild chrysanthemums if you time your hike well. This spot is relatively untouched by humans, and it only got its name after 1940. Apart from the local mountain god and inari god, two more spirits are worshiped at this peak. These are the tengu Tarobo (太郎坊) and Jirobo (次郎坊). The eldest son was usually called Taro and the second son Jiro, while -bo is a suffix expressing affection used for young boys.

Continue until Zenba pass (善波峠) but don’t linger there too much, because apparently baby ghosts hang around the tunnel. You can continue to Mt. Kobo, which is famous for its spring cherry blossoms, but I recommend turning towards Tsurumaki-onsen, because who doesn’t need a relaxing soak? The last peak is called Mt. Azuma (吾妻山) and is related to a legendary hero Yamato Takeru. While he was on his way with his fleet to conquer Boso peninsula, the sea was turning rough and dangerous. His wife Ototachibana-hime (弟橘比売) then decided to sacrifice herself by jumping from the ship in order to appease the sea god Watatsumi. She dropped to the sea 8 mats made of sedge, 8 mats made of leather and 8 mats made of silk, somehow sat on them (whoa whoa there baby Jesus) and she quietly drowned in the water. Suddenly, the sea calmed down and Yamato Takeru completed his campaign successfully. When he returned back to Kanagawa, legend has it that he was standing on this hill looking towards Miura peninsula, reminiscing of his late wife. For those who read the blog in detail, you might have heard the exact same story about a small peak in Mt. Otake, so probably Takeru was reminiscing of his wife quite a lot everywhere he went. Apart from that, there are some seashores around Tokyo Bay with names such as Sodegaura, and Sodegahama, named after parts of Ototachibana-hime’s kimono parts that drifted ashore.

The final stop is Tsurumaki onsen which offers a few hot spring spas, such as Kobo no satoyu (弘法の里湯). Last but not least, I want to inform you to be weary of bears along this route. There were a couple of signs informing about recent sightings of bears. Furthermore, it took me a while to understand that the reason that the trail was suddenly blocked with a tall fence, was in order to keep wild animals away. So, if you come across the fence door, open it to cross to the other side and just remember to close it behind you.

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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