Ougiyama and Momokurayama

by kenji SAITO on August 15, 2016

Hiking Ougiyama and Momokurayama

I continued my annual tradition of doing a solo post hike after Mount Fuji. My only change was that I wore my La Sportiva shoes, as they were so comfortable. Left the slippers back at the hotel.

Torisawa

Torisawa

The train ride from passenger packed Shinjuku and the connecting station of Takao took roughly 90 minutes to Torisawa. I walked out of the station and was pleasantly surprised to find Ougiyama trail signs across the street. No bushwhacking on this hike. Just follow the road.

Torisawa

Torisawa

The road took me under the Chuo Expressway, which is a major road artery connecting Tokyo and Nagoya.

Torisawa

Torisawa

Trail signs intermittently posted in the densely packed residential area kept me from straying into somebodys bonsai garden.

Torisawa

Torisawa

Hmmm, guns are prohibited in hunting area. Just have to watch out for those samurai swords. What do they hunt around here?

Torisawa

Torisawa

Gaining elevation. Still on the road.

Torisawa

Torisawa

The helpful trail signs disappeared and since I had passed a junction earlier, I stopped an old man out for a walk to ask in my mangled Japanese if I was on the right road. Hai (Yes).

Torisawa

Torisawa

The trail signs popped up again.

Torisawa

Torisawa

Beware of bears! Is this what the hunting signs were talking about? Great. Here I am without any bear bells or bear spray. All by myself. Bear bait.

Torisawa

Torisawa

The road bended and soon shadowed a golf course. Fah!

Trailhead

Trailhead

I made it to the bus stop aka trailhead, roughly 50 minutes after leaving the train station, without running into any bears. Safe and sound. Wait, don’t bears live in the woods? Or was that sh*t in the woods?

Ougiyama Trail

Ougiyama Trail

A Buddhist statue at the trailhead was dedicated to all the hikers that had unfortunate encounters with bears. Actually, it was of Kannon, goddess of mercy. Erected to honor the residents and hikers that died in 1907 when part of this mountain collapsed. Met a couple also hiking the trail.

Ougiyama Trail

Ougiyama Trail

A lot of signs to digest. Let’s see … 1 hour 50 minutes to the summit … Prevent forest fires …. Watch out for bears … What’s that old joke? You don’t have to be the fastest runner. Just don’t be the slowest one.

Tombo

Tombo

A dragonfly at rest. The predator insect is the oldest known design used on pottery in Japan and called the victory insect by the ancient samurai due to the fact that the insects don’t fly backwards and for their hunting prowess.

Ougiyama Trail

Ougiyama Trail

I exchanged “konnichwa” greetings with the couple and passed them on the clearly marked trail.

Ougiyama Trail

Ougiyama Trail

Crossing this bridge over a trickling stream that lead to …

Water hole

Water hole

… a blue bucket of water. Potable?

Mountain Spirit

Mountain Spirit

The trail lazily switch backed up the mountain, passing a small shrine.

Ougiyama Trail

Ougiyama Trail

The heat and humidity were off the charts. Soaked in sweat.

Ougiyama Trail

Ougiyama Trail

The trail took on a slightly steeper pitch towards the top of the ridgeline, where I turned right for the summit.

Ougiyama Trail

Ougiyama Trail

Hiking up the pitched and rooted trail …

Ougiyama Trail

Ougiyama Trail

… which soon leveled off …

Mount Ouyigama

Mount Ouyigama

… and lead to this panoramic view of the 3,733′ summit. A sign said this was #6 of 12 nice views. No view of Mount Fuji. What nice view?

Mount Ouyigama

Mount Ouyigama

Another hiker soon joined me at the summit. He promptly took off his sweat soaked shirt. Reminded me to replace my sweat with sweat. Pocari Sweat.

Ougiyama Trail

Ougiyama Trail

I headed back down the ridgeline and met up with the couple that I had passed earlier coming up. Konnichiwa.

Trail

Trail

The trail dropped in elevation as I went down into the saddle between the mountains.

Trail

Trail

Noticed somebody coming up the trail. Konnichwa. Just glad it wasn’t a bear.

Junction

Junction

The trail contoured to the left …

Trail

Trail

… and started to pick up the lost elevation.

Junction

Junction

I continued straight on the trail for Momokura. Noticed that a lot of trees were banded with white ribbons. Shinto purification? Tree cutting?

Pine cones

Pine cones

Open for ovulation.

Trail

Trail

The trail became steeper as I approached the summit.

Mount Momokura

Mount Momokura

Panoramic view of the 3,290′ summit. A sign said this was #7 of 12 nice views. No view of Mount Fuji. Again. What nice view?

Mount Momokura

Mount Momokura

The summit had a nice picnic bench with tree blocked views of the surrounding mountains.

Trail

Trail

Making my way down the corridor of white banded trees.

Junction

Junction

I made a left at the junction that would take me down to Saruhashi station. No time to check out the other 10 nice views.

Trail

Trail

The trail gradually wound its way down the mountain and took me to …

Scenic point

Scenic point

… a bench with a view of Otsuki City.

Trail

Trail

Butterfly blocking the trail.

Trail

Trail

All downhill from here.

Trail

Trail

Google translation = Shimowada Saruhashi Eki = Going down the right way.

Water hole

Water hole

Thirsty? Got steripen?

Trail

Trail

I could see the light at the end of the trail.

Mountain Shrine

Mountain Shrine

The trail ended at a small parking lot and another small shrine.

Road

Road

The long road downhill.

Mountain Shrine

Mountain Shrine

Knock. Knock. Nobody home. No time for mountain mediation.

Road

Road

The road took me underneath a bridge and out to …

Road

Road

… ice cold refreshment. Replaced my sweat with sugared caffeinated water. Love the land of vending machines.

Momiji Tree

Momiji Tree

It would be nice to come back for the “fall” showing.

Road

Road

Back in the ‘hood. Signs keeping me straight.

Satoimo

Satoimo

I was looking for the Hawaiian Plate Lunch Wagon.

Road

Road

Where are the sidewalks?

Road

Road

Almost there. My ride home was on the other side of the elevated bridge.

All pau

All pau

I made it to the cover of the Saruhashi train station just as the rain picked up in intensity and duration.

GPS Tracks

GPS Tracks

My two mountains for the price of one hike covered 9.33 miles with no bear sightings. Post hike meal at Hidakaya. A big bowl of hot and tasty ramen for only 390 yen ($3.90). You can’t beat the price!

Leave a Comment

{ 4 comments… read them below or add one }

stuart October 28, 2016 at 3:40 am

Nice dude, I am going to get over to Japan this coming year, I read about the Japanese Alps area that looks like some awesome mountain trekking.

Reply

kenji SAITO October 28, 2016 at 8:19 am

Aloha Stuart,
Thanks! You should come with us in July when we go back for the fifth time. Yeah there are a lot of mountains to hike over there.
Mahalo

Reply

brent June 15, 2017 at 5:27 pm

Hi Kenji,

Been a long time follower of your blog. I’m from Hawaii, but have been living in Japan for Tokyo for the past 3 years.

I do this hike about 5 times a year, since it’s relatively close to Tokyo and you get a good burn. Especially during that last leg up momokura!

Anyway, lmk if you’re ever in japan and need some hiking buddies!

Reply

kenji SAITO June 15, 2017 at 6:08 pm

Aloha Brent,
Thanks! I might take you up on that offer as we will be there next month! Want to hike some new trails while I’m there, any suggestions?
Mahalo

Reply

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