Every mountain you’ll ever climb will be different. But sometimes, there are those that simply stand out. For me, Mt, Nokogiri belongs to that group.

Chiba is one of the seven prefectures of the Kanto region. As its western neighbor, Tokyo, it is one of the often visited areas in the country. The prefecture is a usual waypoint for foreign tourists primarily for two reasons. First, Japan’s busiest airport is located in Chiba’s northern city, Narita. And second, it is home to the world-famous Tokyo Disney Resort.

Chiba’s majority is actually composed of the Boso Peninsula. It is bordered by the Tokyo Bay on the west and the Pacific Ocean on the south and east, making it partially isolated from Japan’s major island of Honshu. This geography is one of the key reasons why, despite being within reach from the Greater Tokyo Area, much of its natural wonders are still in near pristine form up to this day.

One of Chiba’s natural and cultural treasure is the Mt. Nokogiri in Awa District. The”saw mountain”, as the name literally translates to, was derived from the ridge’s serrated profile that resembles that of the Japanese carpentry tool.

Mt Nokogiri stands for just a little over 300 meters. Although a relatively small mountain for a full day hike, it is still one most unique outdoor destinations anyone would find in the Kanto Region. Aside from offering breathtaking views of the Tokyo Bay and Boso Peninsula’s jungle, Nokogiriyama is also a showroom of jaw-dropping rock facades and stone sculptures.

Mt. Nokogiri Sight and Scenes

Every mountain you’ll ever climb will be different. But sometimes, there are those that simply stand out. For me, Mt, Nokogiri belongs to that group.

Our climb to Mt. Nokogiri was in July as we were nearing the tail end of  the rainy season. We arrived at Kanaya port around 9 in the morning, after crossing the Tokyo bay for forty minutes. At this point,  visitors need to walk their way to the mountain’s base.

Like most popular hiking spots in Japan, Mt. Nokogiri also has ropeway facilities. Walking from the port going to the ground station usually takes about fifteen minutes.

Although cable cars can save you time and energy, I would still suggest walking at least one way. There are some pretty interesting sights along Nokogiri’s trail that you’ll miss if you ride the ropeway.

Maps are available at Kanaya port for free, so make sure to get one. It has directions for the hiking route including pictures of the five junctions you’ll come across to.

Mt. Nokogiri’s track are well established and easy to follow. It is mostly covered by tall forest trees with a few narrow portions. There are some sections which could be slippery during rainy days so wearing of appropriate shoes is important.

 

Hikers will notice that much of the Nokogiris facade have straight surfaces and edges. It is because the mountain was a previous quarrying site during the Edo Period. Today, these rock faces are evidences of the activities from centuries ago.

If you look at them closely, you might imagine them as part of an ancient fortress hidden in the jungle.

 

The climb to the summit usually takes less than two hours. If the sky is clear,  Mt. Fuji is visible on the west. 

Mt. Nokogiri

View from the summit. Unfortunately, the clouds were low during our hike

Climbing to the top is actually just half of Nokogiri’s highlights. Even more interesting sights awaits once you reach the main complex.

If coming from the summit, visitors will be greeted by the Hyaku Shaku Kannon. It is a thirty-meter -high image of the Buddhist goddess of mercy carved into a rock face. It was created in memory of those people killed during WWII.

After passing through some more stone walls and climbing further up is the Jigoku Nozoki. It is a protruded portion of a vertical cliff that serves a viewing deck for the visitors. The name literally means “view from hell”,  and you’ll get the idea why once you stand on its edge.

It’s amazing that a small mountain like Mt. Nokogiri can offer such awe-inspiring panorama.

Within the complex are small Arhat stone sculptures displayed along a looping walking path. There were originally 1500 of these hand carved images but only over 500 of them survived today. One will notice that many have a missing head and it is because of the Haibutsu kishaku (Abolish Buddhism) movement that took place during the Meiji Period.

Located on the southern slope of Mt.Nokogiri is the Nihon-ji Temple. Founded in the year 725, it is one of country’s most important cultural property. The temple houses Japan’s largest stone-carved Buddha image (Daibutsu) reaching up to 30 meters on its highest point.

The massive sculpture was created in the 1780’s by the master artisan, Jingoro Eirei Ono, and over twenty of his students. It depicts Yakushi Nyorai, the buddha of medicine and healing.

The giant Daibutsu has often been regarded as having a peaceful expression which perfectly compliments Mt. Nokogiri’s serene environment.

 

Hot to get to Mt. Nokogiri, Chiba

By Train : The two nearest train stations to Mt. Nokogiri are Hamanakaya and Hota stations of the JR Uchibo Line. From Central Tokyo, the travel time could take about 2 and a half hours one-way. Fare is around 2000 Yen if coming from Shinjuku.

By Ferry : A good alternative, and the best way if coming from Kanagawa area, is to cross the Tokyo Bay via ferry from  Yokosuka. Take the Keikyu Line bound for Misakiguchi then alight at Kurihama Station. Then hop on a bus going to Kurihama Port at bus platform 2. Here, take the Tokyo Wan ferry going to Kanaya port, Chiba.

Mt. Nokogiri Facilities Information

Admission Fee

  • Kids : 400 Yen
  • Adult : 600 Yen

Ropeway (Cable Car)

  • Kids : 250 Yen one way, 450 Yen round trip
  • Adults : 500 Yen one way, 930 Yen round trip

Hours 

  • 8:00 – 17:00 (November 16 to February 15)
  • 8:00 – 16:00 (February 16 to November 15)

Website

Little stone Buddhas in Nihon-ji Temple

Tokyo Wan Ferry Information

One way :

  • Kids – 360 Yen
  • Adults – 720 Yen

Round trip

  • Kids – 660 Yen
  • Adults – 1320 Yen

Website 

 


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