A friend of mine recently suggested we climb a set of stairs on the corner of the road because we were pretty sure there would be a carved stone Buddha at the top somewhere. You can guess that we found it from my pictures!
As part of a larger network of trails, the entrance closest to the Oppama Station on the Keikyu Line is a pretty direct path to a stone carved Buddha and some really neat bouldering and top rope climbing spaces coordinated and maintained by the local climbing club (as per their bulletin board). The trail can go to an Observation Tower, to the Jinmuji Temple, and into Zushi and the JR Line station Higashi-Zushi or to the Jinmuji Station on the Keikyu Line next to the Ikego Detachment.
At this point I have only done the trail from the stairs closest to the Buddha to the Observation Tower and back. But when I manage the other portions, I’ll link to the blogged experience.
A little hard to tell but there is Mt Fuji sort of visible in the background just to the right of the power line structure.
Getting to a Takatoriyama Trailhead from Ikego
You can get to the trailhead to see the Buddha from the west exit of the train station at Oppama or Taura. The Oppama station is supposedly 20 mins walk and the Taura station is supposedly 23 mins walk.
Alternatively, we drove and parked alongside a field in a nearby neighborhood at this pin. I believe there is also a way to park at the grocery store Seiyu (and grab lunch after), but spots are quite limited so I’m not sure I recommend that. There are other places to informally park, like a playground nearby with a wider street but we haven’t personally done that yet, either.
Length of the Course
I love this part of the trail because you can fit it easily into a morning or afternoon and still have time for a meal and you aren’t rushing. One time, including a stop after to find some bento and onigiri for lunch from Seiyu we drove there from Ikego, hiked and drove back in two hours total. It’s only 15 mins from Ikego by car!
However, I will warn that there are a lot of stairs (as you could imagine). Some stairs are concrete, some are more natural with the wood or the more hardy plastic-y wood logs and earth, and some are rock. Higher up near the observation tower the ground is smooth sandy rock. Make sure to wear shoes with good grip.
We’ve done this climb with a range of ages 5-63 and my 1.5yr old attempted to climb a lot of it on his own, but did get a ride in the carrier or on my hip. There are bathrooms and a drink vending machine near the observation tower. Bring hand sanitizer and/towel for after the bathroom.
The Carved Buddha
Part of the magic of this trail includes a carved Buddha in the side of large stone face (the flat cliffs are leftover from a quarry). The old quarry really creates cool spaces to walk through and has a very peaceful feeling. There are “beware of bee/hornet signs” on the barricades in front so maybe best for cooler months. Also, lots of plants have signs made by local school children to identify the species. You can tell this portion of the trail is used a lot by the community.
I’ll let you guess or find out the history of the Buddha when you go on the trail but a hint – it’s not super old!
Observation Tower on Mt Takatoriyama
On a clear day you can see Mt Fuji in one direction and the Yokohama Port in the other. Hidden in the trees you can see the face of the carved Buddha from another side. The top level of the observation tower is blocked off, but the first level still gives great views – very windy! Unfortunately, but necessarily, there are power lines across the space near Mt Fuji but what can you do.
Bouldering and Rock Climbing at Mt Takatoriyama
There are posted signs from the local mountain climbing organizing and usually at least one group harnessed up! It’s such a cool place but definitely connect with the climbing group as per this sign to do everything safely.
Top rope is super interesting to watch, you might be more familiar with it happening in controlled gym environments but at many spaces along this course there are perfect spots to climb. Again, if interested seek out the safety course and guidance from the mountain climbing group as posted.
- Bug spray, or better yet those bug repellent clips or bands for kids. Also, beware of bees/hornets in summer.
- Water (or yen)
- A mostly charged phone/translation device (if you are poor at Japanese)
- Good grippy shoes
- Follow all posted signs, some areas are marked off because loose rocks may fall or there are other dangers – respect the signs and stay safe.
Want a longer trail?
Consider hiking to Jinmuji Temple; signs near the observation tower point the way. It’s next on our list, but we might do a point to point hike from Jinmuji Station through to the Oppama Station to take the train back home. Reportedly, this trail can get tricky at times between the trailhead and the Observation Tower, but is navigable. Some reports on AllTrails.com also describe a loop path from Keikyu-Taura Station as well.
Side note about the Grocery Store Seiyu
Seiyu accepts credit cards (yay!) and had a good selection of prepared foods and ingredients in general. We grabbed some onigiri, nigiri platter, fruit and cream sandwiches, and drinks. Plus some salmon, sake and other things for dinner. All in all, a wide selection of daily needs items and foods. Also, they had some parking.
There is some space in front of the store to rest and eat outside if you want, too.
Final Thoughts on this Portion of the Mt Takatoriyama Hike
Overall, I would recommend the loop on Mt Takatoriyama from the carved Buddha to the Observation Tower to anyone! It’s a relatively short trail, lots of stairs, great views and almost always breezy! Bonus in the spring the cherry blossom trees would be super gorgeous. Our first hike there was just past the season and we saw petals everywhere and some still floating around on the breeze.
We’d love to hear about your trail adventures! I’m pretty new to hiking, so also take my words as general advice but I have more to learn. If you’ve got suggestions of other places to check out, let me know in a comment or email!
Always remember to be safe, and as prepared as possible on hikes. Have fun exploring!