Mt Awataka (364m) & Mt Shouu (320m), Kamogawa City, Chiba Prefecture, Sunday, February 5, 2023

I wanted to do a hike on the Boso peninsula, since winter is the best time for hiking there and my last trip to the area was nearly a year ago. I found a suitable hike in my mountains of Chiba guidebook, close to Kamogawa city on the Pacific Ocean, but accessible from the Tokyo Bay side. I could take the limited express from Akihabara to Hota station, from where it was a short bus ride to the start of the hike; I would return the same way. The weather was supposed to be mostly sunny with mild temperatures, and so I was looking forward to seeing the views of southern Boso and the Pacific Ocean.

View from Atago Shrine of Mt Atago

Hiking between Mt Awataka and Atago shrine

I had a perfect view of Mt Nokogiri under light blue skies, after getting off at Hota station, a little before 10am. I had some time before my bus so I went to check out the view from the nearby Hota Beach: I could see Oshima island and the Miura peninsula, but Mt Fuji was hidden in the clouds. I rode the nearly empty bus to a 7/11 at an intersection, and after getting ready, set off a little after 11am.

Climbing through the cedars at the start of the hike

First view of the day, halfway up the mountain

I had good views of the east-west ridgeline of today’s hike, as I walked north along a road, which started to rise gently after crossing Kamogawa River. Half an hour later, I reach the start of the hiking trail on the right. It was relatively easy to follow the trail, but several fallen trees made it harder to walk; apparently, there had been little maintenance since the powerful typhoons of 2019.

View towards Kamogawa City and the Pacific Ocean

Mt Takago (foreground) and Mother Farm (background)

Halfway up, I had my first view of the day: through a gap in the trees, I could see Mt Atago. Around noon, I emerged onto a forest road, the Takayama Line (林道高山線), hugging the south side of the top ridge. I turned right and soon reached the entrance of the trail for today’s mountain. After a short climb, I was at the top of Mt Awataka (安房高山 あわたかやま awataka-yama). It was mostly in the trees, but I could see Mt Takago and Mother Farm on the north side; a few meters in the other direction, was a better view on the south side.

Mt Atago is the highest mountain in Chiba prefecture (408m)

Walking on the Takayama forest road

I had a view of the long east-west ridgeline on the other side of the Kamogawa river, as well as of Kamogawa City and the Pacific Ocean; on the way up, I had a glimpse of Tokyo on the east side, so I glad I had been able to see both during this hike. Since it was nearly 1pm, I found a place to sit and had lunch. Afterwards, I went down the same way. Back on the forest road, I turned right, heading west, and soon took another trail uphill. The first part was a little damaged, but beyond, it was easy to walk, with few trees and with a wide view of the valley below.

Hiking trail above the forest road (left) Stairs leading to Atago shrine (right)

One of the best views of the day from near Atago Shrine

This was by far the best section of today’s hike; it felt like I was hiking at a much higher elevation; looking eastwards, I could see Mt Iyo and Mt Tomi., both climbed in 2015. A little before 2pm, I reached a steep staircase below Atago Shrine (愛宕神社), also the top of Mt Shou (請雨山 しょううさん shouu-san). It was completely in the trees; I followed the ridgeline a few minutes northwards, but failed to find any views. I walked back down the steps, and continued along the trail, now heading down via some steps.

View Southeast of Kamogawa

View Southwest of Mt Iyo and Mt Tomi

I followed the narrow, forested ridgeline westwards, typical of the area. In no time, I was back on the forest road. The ridge trail continued to the next peak, Mt Migoori, but that would be for another time. I turned left and soon reached a junction, where I took the right branch, heading downhill. At 2h30, I was on the main road again, near the start of the morning trail, and by 3pm, I had was back at the 7/11.

Back on the Takayama line

I checked out a nearby store for Kameda sake Brewery, since I had some time before the return bus. At Hota station, I caught the limited express for the comfortable 90 minute ride back to Tokyo. Although the hike had taken less than 4 hours, I had been rewarded with some news, and some ideas for the futures hikes in the area.

The rice fields of Kamogawa


Watch a video of the Mt Awataka hike

See a slideshow of some more pictures of the Mt Awataka hike

Mt Takatsuka (216m), Minamiboso City, Chiba Prefecture, Tuesday, December 20, 2022

This is a hike from my mountains of Chiba guidebook. Although it can be done as a day trip, by walking one hour from Chikura station on the Uchibo line, I decided to drive from Tokyo and spend the night at Nojima cape, the southernmost point of the Boso peninsula; from there, it was a short drive to a parking near the trail entrance. I had done many hikes on the Boso peninsula, but it would be my first to hike in Minami-Boso.

View of the Pacific from the summit

Walking to the trailhead through the fields

I had been wanting to climb this low peak for several years, but had to be patient since the hiking trail was closed for a while after the powerful typhoons of 2019; online reports showed that the path was now more or less back to normal. After heading straight up the mountain, I go down following the ridgeline, and then walk back through the countryside. The weather was supposed to be sunny and so I was looking forward to new views in a new area.

View of the forested ridge through a break in the trees

Late autumn leaves on the summit

I drove along the Pacific coast under the late morning sun to the nearby Nanbo Chikura Bridge Park Parking (南房千倉大橋公園), from where it was a 20 minute walk to the trailhead next to a temple. At 1230, I started up a series of steps, following the winding path through the evergreen forest of Japanese stone oaks (マテバシイ matebashii). Very soon the trail became level and the forested summit ridge appeared through a break in the trees.

Fantastically shaped trees along the summit ridge

Summit shrine (left) / Valley bottom lake (right)

A little further, I passed under a stone Shinto gate at the top of a flight of steps, looking like the entrance to some long-lost ruin. I then made my way up a steep, muddy path, being careful not to slip, and at 1pm, emerged onto the flat summit of Mt Takatsuka (高塚山 たかつかやま takatsukayama), a kanto 100 famous mountain; the summit marker, wrecked by the typhoon, and had yet to be replaced and was nowhere to be seen.

Shinto gate at the mountain base (different from the one on the mountain itself)

Temple at the base of Mt Takatsuka

I was surprised to see a towering oak above a tiny shrine, its yellow trees still clinging on at the very end of autumn. On one side was a bench in the sun, with a view of the Pacific ocean, the perfect spot for lunch on a cool day. Before heading down, I explored a path behind the shrine building leading to a view point from where I could make out the faint outline of Mt Fuji. Once back down at the stone gate, I took a small path on the left side.

Mt Takatsuka in the late afternoon sun

Heading back through the fields

I marveled at the fantastic shapes of the tall trees as I followed the ridgeline northeast, here and there broken branches sill on the ground. The path descended gradually into a quiet, forested valley and ended at a peaceful lake, next to a paved road. After enjoying this magical spot, I walked down the road to the base of the mountain. From there, I followed a footpath through fields, golden in the late afternoon sun, past the starting point of the hike, and arrived back at my car just after 3pm.

See the views of the Mt Takatsuka hike

Slideshow of more photos from the Mt Takatsuka hike

Kinone Pass (171m) and Reisui Peak, Minamiboso City, Chiba Prefecture, Sunday, March 20, 2022

I definitely wanted to make one more trip to Chiba this year before the warmer weather arrived. Leafing through my guidebook, I selected a loop hike on the Tokyo bay side of the Boso peninsula. Although it was on the short side, access was straightforward as I could ride the Sasanami limited express there and back. The weather forecast was supposed to be sunny in the morning and cloudy in the afternoon. I was looking forward to getting some good sea views and wondered whether I would get a view of the Mt Fuji on the other side of the bay.

The yellow, red, blue of the beach house roofs

I had my first glimpses of Tokyo Bay from my train seat, ninety minutes after boarding the limited express in Akihabara; it was amazing to think that one of the biggest cities of the world was located on the opposite side. I got off at Iwai station just before 10am, and headed south on a busy road before turning left onto a quiet lane through the countryside. Next, I turned right onto a path parallel to the railway tracks, squeezed between the bay and the hillside. Half an hour later, I reached the entrance of Takasaki park (高崎公園) and continued straight on the slowly rising path.

View of Iwai bay from Takasaki Park

Navigating some course obstacles on the way

I was soon high enough to get a view of the colorful beach house rooftops. I turned left onto a curving log staircase, and at 11am, reached a viewpoint at the top of the park. I could see the dark blue waters of Tokyo and Sagami bays, with the outline of the Miura peninsula beyond; directly below, was Iwai bay, its light blue waters contrasting with the green forested ridge on the north side. As much as I strained my eyes, I could not spot Mt Fuji, normally visible to the northwest according to an illustrative sign board. After a short break, I headed back to the park entrance.

Panoramic view from Reisui peak

Yellow flower fields on the way to the Mt Harada highway

I turned right onto a road leading away from the blue sea and into the hills. I eventually reached the entrance of the hiking path on the left. It was a peaceful trail, through beautiful nature; occasionally I had to duck under a fallen tree, a reminder of the powerful typhoons from 2019. A little after 11h30, I reached Kinone Pass (木ノ根峠 きのねとうげ kinone-touge), its name meaning “tree root”. Despite being a pass, it’s one of the hundred low mountains of Boso; looking back, I had a view of Iwai bay framed by the vegetation. According to my guidebook, I could get a better view a little further east along the ridge.

Exiting the tunnel into a forested valley

These trees were probably knocked down by the 2019 typhoons

The trail was faint, but thanks to pink ribbons attached to branches, I emerged from the trees onto Reisui Peak (冷水ピーク), just before noon, and was rewarded with a panoramic view to the north: as before, I could see the two bays, Miura peninsula and Iwai beach; in the distance, I could now make out the skyscrapers of Yokohama, but Mt Fuji was still hidden; straight ahead, the ragged top of nearby Mt Nokogiri was visible. I sat on a lonely bench to enjoy an early lunch with a view. After, I went down the same way, and followed a road to a tunnel, the start of the “Harada-yama Sawayaka Gaidou” (原田山さわやか街道), built on top of an old highway.

The peaceful Iwabu lake

I was stunned by the sight of a picturesque, forested valley as I emerged from the unlit tunnel. I walked on a road with no traffic and passed through two more dark tunnels (see video). At 2pm, I reached Iwabuko Lake (岩婦湖 iwabuko), at the bottom of a slope lined with cherry blossom trees, their buds still firmly closed. The quiet of the lake was punctuated by birdsong coming from the trees on the opposite shore; a fisherman drifted across the lake on an inflatable floating device. I found a rocky spot near the water and enjoyed the rest of my lunch. From the lake it was another 30 minutes back to the station, where I caught the limited express for the 2 hour ride back to Tokyo.

See the views of Iwai bay, walk the dark tunnels of Mt Harada and listen to the birds of Iwabu lake

Kasamori Green Path (highest point 135m), Chonan Town, Chiba Prefecture, Sunday, January 9, 2022

I hadn’t been to Chiba since March 2019, because so many trails had been damaged by the powerful typhoons of 2018 and 2019. I found a hike from my guidebook relatively close to Tokyo, in the northern half of the Boso peninsula. The trail seemed to be in good condition, although a bit short for a day trip. Luckily, it could be extended, if needed, since it was on the Kanto Fureai no Michi. I wouldn’t be hitting any summits, but instead following a path with the intriguing name of “Green Path” and ending at a Buddhist Temple in the middle of the forest. I could take a bus from Mobara station to Chonan town, about a couple of kilometers from the start of the hike; at the end, I could catch a different bus back to the station. The weather was supposed to be sunny in the morning and afternoon, with a cloudy period around noon. I was excited to revisit Chiba after a three year interval and enjoy some low-altitude winter hiking.

View of northern Chiba from Nomikin park

The very green Kasamori “Green Path”

It took about one hour on the comfortable Wakashio Limited Express to reach Mobara station, and then another half an hour by bus to get to Chonan town. I first headed downhill towards a wide flat area through which the Habu river flows. At around 10h30, I finally spotted a sign for the Fureai no Michi, leading onto a small road through the countryside. I was surprised to see snow and ice on the shaded sections and had to be careful not to slip, especially when the road started to lead up a slope.

Looking eastwards from the Nomikin park viewpoint

Looking northwards from the observation tower

The road became snow-free as it turned towards the sun. At 11am, I reached a breathtaking viewpoint at the top of a hill inside Nomikin Park (野見金公園). Although I was only about 120m high in an area without any remarkable features, I had an unobstructed view east and north; flat forest stretched away in the distance, divided by a highway through Mobara city ten kilometers away. I had a coffee at Miharashi Terrace, just next to the viewpoint, and then headed over to an observation tower on the next hill.

Kuramochi lake, a paradise for birds

Heading up the “Green Path

I had a fantastic 360 degree view from the top; on the west side, I could even see the snowy summit of Mt Fuji, 130 kilometers away. It was already past noon, so I continued on my way and soon reached Kuramochi lake. I was surprised to hear many kinds of birdsong while standing on the bridge over the lake (see video). Ten minutes later, I arrived at the start of the Kasamori Green Path (笠森グリーンルート kasamori green route). True to its name, the path was entirely surrounded by forest, as it followed a hilly ridge northwards. Although I didn’t get any views, I enjoyed the changing scenery from the top of each set of steps.

The many up and downs of the Kasamori “Green Path

View of the Chiba countryside

After ninety minutes of up and down, I arrived at another observation tower. From the top, I could hear successive gongs from the bell tower of the closeby Kasamori temple, famous for its main hall built on top of wooden stilts. I gave up on a visit as it was quite crowded and rang the bell instead. Since it was only 2pm, I decided to continue north along the Fureai no Michi. I followed small, winding roads through charming countryside and reached my bus stop around 4pm; one hour later, I was back at Mobara station where I caught the limited express for the short ride to Tokyo.

Some snow on the Fureai no Michi

Listen to the bell of Kasamori temple

Mt Goten (364m), Mt Takatori (364m) & Mt Dainichi (333m), Minamiboso City, Chiba Prefecture

This is a good hike to do in the winter since Chiba usually gets less snow and the temperatures are milder. It’s also relatively short so it can be combined with another mountain in the area, like Mt Tomi. I’d recommend using a car for this hike since there is no suitable bus to the trailhead. There is also a convenient parking lot near the start of the trail, in front of Koshoji Temple 高照寺.


First views of Minamiboso at the start of the hike

It takes about an hour to get to the top of  Mt Goten 御殿山. Following the ridgeline, the trail goes past Mt Takatori 鷹取山, and ends at Mt Dainichi 大日山 one hour away. Although the trail is mostly through the forest, there are good views of Mt Tomi and Tokyo Bay from each peak. One might even see Mt Fuji on a very clear day.  Although the path continues Southwards down to a road, there is no public transport, so the return is back the same way. It should take a little less than 2 hours to get back to the parking area along the up and down trail.


View West towards double-peaked Mt Tomi



Mt Nokogiri (329m), Kyonan Town, Chiba Prefecture

Mt Nokogiri (鋸山 のこぎりやま nokogiriyama), literally “Saw Mountain”, due to its jagged summit, is a popular sightseeing spot situated on the Tokyo side of the Boso peninsula. In the Edo period, it used to be a quarry, which explains its smooth cliffs below the top ridge. It can be reached from Hama-Kanaya station on the Sazanami limited express (about 2 hours from Shinjuku), or by using the Tokyo Bay ferry from Kurihama on the Miura peninsula, Kanagawa prefecture (40 minutes each way).

View south of Minami-Boso from the top of the ropeway

View of the Kanaya ferry port

Most visitors prefer to take the Nokogiriyama ropeway up, and then make the roundtrip along the ridgeline to the observatory at Jigoku Nozomi (地獄のぞみ), meaning ” A peak into hell”, a ledge of rock overhanging a cliff. Looking west, one can gaze upon Tokyo bay and Mt Fuji in the distance. Although an entrance fee is required, it also gives access to Nihon-ji temple (日本寺) and the Nihon-ji Daibustu (日本寺大仏), both worthwhile sights on the south side of the mountain.

A peak into hell, the highlight of a visit to Mt Nokogiri

For those wanting more exercice, it’s possible to walk down to the base of the ropeway on the north side via the Kangetsudai trail (観月台コース), also part of the Kanto Fureai no Michi. On the way, you’ll pass by the impressive Haykushaku-Kannon (百尺観音), carved into the cliffside. For a longer hike, it’s possible to start from Hota station and approach via the Ura-Nokogiri trail (裏鋸コース, the Nokogiri back trail), leading around the back of the mountain and over its highest point. Whichever option you choose, Mt Nokogiri makes a fun and interesting daytrip from Tokyo.

Kannon carved into the cliffside

See the views of Mt Nokogiri