Japan is a mountainous country, and nobody can deny this claim. Hikers are everywhere, tackling the natural beauty this country has to offer. You don’t need to venture out to Mt Fuji or take the pilgrimage walk of Kumano Kodo to fully appreciate the wonders of the mountains in Japan.
I took a train from the nearest station up to the last stop on the line: Myokenguchi. I had no idea going up there what I would find. I saw on Google Maps that there would be a cable car to the summit of Myokensan nearby, and in thinking that I could just walk down the mountain, I thought I was looking at a pretty easy day taking in the views. The station is surrounded by houses and vending machines, with a small shop or two. It portrays a peaceful, small-town image typical of Japan. I looked at a sign pointing in the direction of the cable car and headed up a hill, fully trusting the wooden signpost.
Eventually, I arrived at the cable car stop. It looked bizarrely quiet… I slowly walked up to the ticket counter only to realise that as it was outside of the hiking season, the cable car wasn’t running either. Bummer… Round the side was a path seeming to go in the similar upwards direction as the cable car but with a sign posted on the front with a lot of text. Basic summary: No entry. I went in.
The hike up was intense. Quite steep climbs and since I hadn’t exercised in a while, it made it a lot more difficult than it should have been. I basically followed a stream up and halfway through, came to a temple with a waterfall inside. A building was located nearby and some individuals came out with nothing but a fundoshi. We spoke briefly and they explained that they were going under the waterfall. It’s supposed to clear your mind and cleanse you. Whilst it was hard to decline their invite, I wasn’t too keen on going under a cold waterfall in December. I declined and proceeded upwards.
At the top of the mountain was a larger temple with a post office inside it. It was a nice place which was very peaceful. I found an udon restaurant which really hit the spot at the time. An hour of hiking in the cold later requires some good, hearty hot food. Sansai udon is most definitely the perfect compliment to the hike up the mountain. A brief look around the temple area after lunch, I decided to head down a different route back to the train station.
The sun came out in its full glory on my way down, making it all worthwhile in the end. The sun streaking through the trees and the fresh air was exactly what I needed at the time to clear my head of pure negativity. The path going back was quite rocky and required me to cross the river several times, warranting better shoes, but possible nevertheless.
If you want to go hiking, there is no doubt a mountain on your back door just waiting to be climbed. The views will be stunning no matter where you go.
Directions: Take the Hankyu train to Myokenguchi and just walk…