The Tenshozan & Momiji-no-sato Hiking Course
We recommend this course if you enjoy walking enveloped in greenery.
A virgin forest of cedar, pine, Japanese chinquapin and other trees surrounds the area, and sunshine filtering through the leaves creates various patterns on the roads. The songs of wild birds echo in the trees and the atmosphere of a deep forest hangs in the air.
Enjoy the nature of Oku-yugawara, going around Hakuun Waterfall, the waterfall which looks as if silk threads are pouring into a pool of green, and Tenshozan Shrine, whose beauty varies from season to season. If you are up to the challenge, it’s also a good idea to go a little further to a new scenic spot called: “Momiji-no-sato.”
Take the bus for Oku-yugawara from Yugawara Station. It’s an 18-minute ride. Get off at the last stop “Oku-yugawara.”
Or you can take a bus for Moto-hakone via Daikanzan, and get off at Oku-yugawara-iriguchi. If you prefer an easier walk, you can take the same bus and get off at “Tenshozan,” and descend from there.
Go up the gently-sloped road along the Fujiki River, and, after passing Hirogawara bus stop, you will find the guide post of the Tenshozan Hiking Course at Jogao Bridge (1,500m to Tenshozan Shrine, 1,850m to Hakuun Waterfall).
Turn right here and go up the paved forest road called Hirokawara Rindo. You’ll soon come to the end of the paved section, so continue up the wide forest road along the Fujiki River. Within 15 minutes you will reach the torii gateway at the entrance to Tenshozan Shrine. You’ll find a parking lot and a restroom.
At the side of the torii stands the signboard calling to hikers, and a guidepost saying: “850m to Tenshozan Shrine, 1,250m to Hakuun Waterfall.”
When you go up the steep log slope, you will find a waterfall formed by abundant water in a large dam. Some benches are placed in an open space immediately ahead.
Go along the road to the right, zigzagging up the steep slope through the cedar grove. Cross the wooden bridges across two small streams running from the right. In early summer, this is the place where you can see the plant called “himeuwabamiso” growing in great plenty at your feet.
Cross the two log bridges before the two big maple trees ahead of you, and you’ll come to an upslope paved with stone.
From the top of the zigzag road through the cedar grove you can see “Kyorai-no-taki” waterfall. There is a shortcut leading to Tenshozan Shrine which starts from the place a little before the top.
Tenshozan Shrine was built in 1931. The Sun Goddess, the Great God of Sarutahiko and the Great God of Taisei are enshrined there, and at the annual festival held on May 22 every year, the shrine is crowded with believers making a pilgrimage. The shrine is surrounded by cedar, cherry, maple and other trees, and many hydrangeas, azaleas, camellias and other plants are also planted. Following the guide post on the right-hand side of the shrine, go up the gentle slope under the maple trees, and you can hear the sound of a stream below on the right. It seems that the sound comes right from the top of Kyorai Waterfall. About 10 minutes from the shrine, you will see more striped bamboos at your feet, and when you come to a giant kaya tree (Torreya nucifera), you can see the 30m-high “Hakuun Waterfall” ahead of you (photo above).
Around this place Japanese box, Japanese andromeda and maple trees grow in abundance. The term “shinzan-yukoku” (deep in the mountains) is perfect for describing this scenery.
You can see a small torii gateway and a miniature shrine nearby, and above, a stone Buddhist image sits alone on a high rock, which looks as if it is on the verge of collapse.
With the waterfall on the right, go up the steep slope in the shrubs. The slope, equipped here and there with bamboo handrails for safety, zigzags upward. At the end of the shrubs you will see dense striped bamboo bushes on the side of the road. The slope becomes gentler, and when you go through a torii gateway, you’ll come to a large open space. You may notice a guidepost, a monument of patriotic tree planting and other things.
Further ahead is Tenshozan bus stop. You can wait for a descending bus here, but only a few bus services are available, so you can also walk back along the same route you have taken.
The Ikemine Hiking Course (Momiji-no-sato Hiking Course) can be accessed from Ikemine Bridge in front of Oku-yugawara bus stop.