The Iwatoyama and Yugawara Mongawa Hiking Course
[Walking time: about 3 hours (reverse course: about 3 hours and 20 minutes) Suited for average hikers]
This is a course with a fine view along the ridge from Jukkoku-toge Pass.
It takes 40 minutes from Atami Pass to Jukkoku-toge on a bus destined for Moto-hakone and Hakone-en. Get off at Jukkoku-toge. It is a 3-minute cable-car ride to the top of Higanesan.
As its name implies, the top (Jukkokutouge Sancho Station) overlooks ten provinces (Izu, Suruga, Totoumi, Kai, Shinano, Musashi, Sagami, Awa, Kazusa and Shimousa), and you can get a fine view of Mt. Fuji from there, too. (“Jukkoku” means “ten countries or provinces.”)
With Mt. Fuji at your back, go down the broad grassy road. You will pass an inscription on the right of the tanka poem by Sanetomo Minamoto, the third general of the Kamakura era, and go on descending. You can view the streets of Atami and Hatsushima Island ahead of you.
When you have come to the bottom of the slope, you’ll find Higanesan Sando Road from Atami Pass.
At the entrance to the Higanesan Cemetery, you’ll find the starting point of Himenosawa Park’s Athletic Hiking Course to the right.
If you follow the paved road to the left, you will come to Higanesan Tokoji Temple. After paying a visit, go down the front stone steps and head for Iwatoyama.
On the left-hand side of the stone steps you’ll find the chobutsu of 42-chome built along Higanesan Road. Go through the shrubs that block the view and you’ll pass the branch road to Yugawara on the left.
Beyond the Children’s Limbo you’ll find an open space covered with lawn. It is called “Sasa no Hiroba,” which overlooks Atami and the mountain range on the Izu Peninsula. Here is the stone Buddhist image of 35-chome. If you go straight downhill, you’ll come to Kinomiya Shrine via Tosawa.
This is also one of the Higanesan pilgrimage routes, and constitutes the chobutsu-lined, Sekibutsu-no-michi Hiking Course.
To head for Iwatoyama, turn left (you’ll find another narrow path on the left, which is for inspecting a pylon) then go down the gently sloping road covered with grass, and through the shrubs.
In about 30 minutes from Tokoji Temple, you will come to a fork in the road below the top of Iwatoyama. If you go up to the left, you’ll be taking a shortcut to Iwatoyama.
If you go straight, you’ll be taking a detour that goes around the foot of the hill, but you can still stand on the top of Iwatoyama after going up the long wooden stairs (168 steps). The streets of Atami and the ocean you see below will look like a miniature garden.
If you go toward the east from the top, you’ll have to zigzag down a steep slope, so it will be easier to go south down the wooden stairs and around the foot of the hill.
→ Currently, part of the road is closed to traffic.
You’ll find a junction at the entrance to Iwato Kannon (Goddess of Mercy) Temple. If you have time, how about visiting Iwato Kannon, too?
From the junction, go down the wide road, without a view, along the high tension cable.
If you go down the branch road to Nanao and Izusan Shine on the right, you will come to Nanaohara, where 3 pylons stand. Go down a little more, and you’ll come to a wide paved road.
If you go down the log steps on your right, you’ll be taking a short cut to the Nanao Housing Complex and Izusan Shrine.
Since the paved road has sidewalks, you can walk safely along the downhill road. It is lined with major firms’ rest homes and training institutes and others, and you’ll come to Nanao Pass along the prefectural road. You’ll find Oki-denki Kenpo-mae bus stop there. In order to follow the course, go along the paved road in the direction of Izusan by going downhill a little to the right, and turning left at Pension Prince. It is a road used by automobiles, and at the nearby T junction, turn left.
Go down for a while until the road meets another from the left (waste road). Since no guideposts can be found, you are likely to get lost if you have come uphill from the opposite direction.
Right below is the Urushigakubo First Distributing Reservoir. If you go along the wide road, you’ll come to Ookurosaki. Staying on the course, pass the reservoir and go toward the left (refer to the A section of the detailed map). It is easy to lose your way here, too, so please be careful.
From this point the road has many Japanese red pine, cypress trees and shrubs.
This place commands a magnificent view of the mountains of Hakone, Shiroyama, Makuyama and Yugawara. Beyond this point the road is paved, and you will go down steadily through a mandarin orchard with stone walls.
The wider view of Manazuru Peninsula and the Yugawara area will make your descent pleasant and agreeable, however, the road slopes in such a way as to make your knees ache. At the bottom of the hill you will find National Route 135.
Chitose Bridge over the Chitose River on the immediate left forms a prefectural border, and if you cross it, you’ll be in Kanagawa Prefecture. If you go up a little along the river, you’ll find Kawabata Koen bus stop.
If you go a little along the national highway, you’ll find Hachiman Jinja bus stop. If you choose to walk, you can get to Yugawara Station in 20 minutes.