Hello my Lovelies, 🙂
It’s Sunday and my mind was wondering about my first trip to Japan. I miss travelling. I know that we all miss our lives before COVID-19 changed them drastically. So I decided, let’s have a chat about one of my favourite adventures in Japan. 😀
My husband and I were so excited to go to Japan in 2018 and we wanted to see as much as possible in the three weeks we would be there. I knew that it would be like a dream come true for me, so we planned our trip as filled as the time would allow us. Every day a different place or city or just another adventure.
We had watched the British motorcycle show „Top Gear“ at some point and they had a special which took place in Japan. Two of them (James May and Richard Hammond) went by train and the third one (Jeremy Clarkson) drove a car from the west coast of Japan to the east. They wanted to check which way of transport would be faster. I don’t want to be a spoiler if you would like to watch this race for yourself; I can assure you, it’s really fun to watch. 😉 On part I can tell you, they had the destination called Mount Nokogiriyama. The pictures were absolutely fabulous. So we did some research and we decided to go there for one day as well.
Let’s have a little backround check before I tell you more about our day 😉
The mountain can be found in Chiba Prefecture (next to Tokyo) and it is 329.5m (1,081 ft) high. You can visit the largest pre-modern, stone-carved Daibutsu (Buddha) there and there is a huge amount of sculputures along the way. Since it isn’t far away from Tokyo, so you can go for a day trip to the mountain quite easily. It is a really popular tourist spot (very mostly for Japanese tourists) too.
If you would like to visit the mountain then you can take a train from Shinjuku Station and enjoy a lovely ride or you can go by ferry through Tokyo Bay. We decided to go by train because we wanted to see more of the countryside.
It was May 5th 2018. We left out hotel in Shinjuku quite early and walked to Shinjuku Station. The train we took wasn’t a Shinkansen, it was a limited express train of JR (Japan Railway) East. Every seat was taken and we were lucky to find two unreserved seats. The train got really packed with more people with every station on the way and we were wondering where they would like to go. At Shinjuku Station, I had bought a little sandwich box for us as breakfast. There were three different sandwiches inside: egg salad, ham with cheese and salad, and potato salad. The potato salad was really a surprise (because it looked like egg sandwich at first glance) and very yummy. 🙂
Well, we realised a little bit later that we travelled during Japans most important holiday season: „The Golden Week“. A lot of Japanese people are on vacation at that time because there are a several bank holidays after another which is a perfect combination for taking a break.
After about 90 minutes we arrived at a lovely little train station called Hamakanaya Station. It was so adorable. There are just two tracks and a little office building. My husband fell in love with this little station because it had an amazing atmosphere.
I would say that 90 percent of the people on the train were leaving with us.
From the station you walk through the village along the main street up to the cable car.
You can walk to the top of the mountain but it is said that you need really good understanding of the Japanese language because there are signs on the way but everything is only in Japanese.
That was a little bit too risky for us, so we took the cable car; and to be honest, my sense of direction isn’t quite the best. 😀
So we walked along the road and there were so many cars in a long queue. We were wondering if there was some accident or road works but there wasn’t anything like that. Some of them were waiting to get a parking slot on the space next to the cable car.
Well, we just saw the cable car station and a queue in front of it. A long queue. A really long queue and we had to wait there as well. But it moved, not fast but it was in a modest speed and very steadily. Then there was a lovely elderly lady who tried to explain to us that we needed some tickets first. This queue was for those people who had tickets and wanted to go up by cable car. So, wrong queue! We saw another queue right next to us.
So my husband went straight to the other queue . Oh gosh it was quite risky because my queue moved faster than his queue. I nearly reached the steps to go to the cable car when my husband came with our tickets. That was quite a close call! 😀
In total, we waited for one hour to get in one of the cable cars. The view, however, from it was incredible. I have to say that we had lovely weather that day. It was sunny and warm, simply a wonderful day.
It was just WOW! It was a breathtaking view. We saw Hamakanaya and the street which we walked along. Even though there were so many people, it was peaceful and we enjoyed our first view.
So we thought „We are on top of the mountain, how hard can it be to discover the Daibutsu from Top Gear!“. Oh a mountain can prove you wrong. 😀
We aren’t hikers, maybe I would describe us as walkers. It is important to know, so keep it in mind. 😉
From the top cable car station, we went to the entrance and we „met“ the first stairs. These stairs were just wood and stones. There was just one handrail which wasn’t the strongest. There was just a little checkout area where you get your tickets and a map and then you can start your adventure.
On the map it looked like paths but unfortunately it was all stairs… just stairs without handrails. The steps had different heights, so you had to be careful.
At first we were motivated and thought that it won’t be just stairs. There were some paths as well but not many. You could walk up- or downstairs most of the time. We were also joking around because we were so exhausted after two hours. 😀
The landscape, however, was absolutely incredible. The view of the Daibutsu was wonderful and there was our first stop for a little rest. I sat down next to this huge stone-craved statue and felt relaxed and a part of the exhaustion was gone. I watched the people around me. Lots of families were there and enjoyed the trip. The fresh wind which blew from the nearby Pacific Ocean that day helped to recover as well.
It was fascinating to see that everybody else had the same troubles. It was irrelevant if you were skinny, curvy, young or elderly; we all had trouble to breath and were looking for a place for a rest.
We finally went to the top of the mountain where you can go to a cliff and look down what is called „View into Hell“. There was such a large queue that we decided not to wait for a photo. The view from where we were was so beautiful nonetheless.
Interestingly, I have never found a place like Japan where I can be so relaxed even with hundreds of people around me.
From the top we went a bit down to the second statue which is carved into a stone wall. It was really impressive – and this was the „Top Gear Buddha“ we were looking for 🙂
Eventually, after six hours of climbing up- and downstairs we decided to take the train back to the hotel.
We had Japanese curry for dinner and a long bath after it. I know that we couldn’t sleep quite long because at the next day we started our trip to Osaka – our first journey with the world famous Shinkansen.
Wisdom of the Day: Adventures can be hard and exhausting but when you will have arrived at your destination, your efforts will have been worth it.
Love to you all,
The Evil Journalista