The Iwatoyama & 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 great view along the ridge from Jukkoku-toge.
It takes about 40 minutes to arrive at Jukkoku-toge via Atami Pass, by riding a bus destined for Moto-Hakone/Hakone-en and disembarking at Jukkoku-toge Noboriguchi Bus Stop. From the rest area there, it is a 3-minute cable car ride to the top of Higanesan. The cable car runs every 15 minutes.
True to the “ten countries/provinces” meaning of “Jukkoku,” Jukkoku-toge Sancho Station on Higanesan overlooks ten provinces: Izu, Suruga, Totoumi, Kai, Shinano, Musashi, Sagami, Awa, Kazusa, and Shimousa. The view of Mt. Fuji from there is beautiful as well.
By heading down a grassy road from the Jukkoku-toge observation deck, with Mt. Fuji behind you, you can find a monument inscribed with a tanka poem by Sanetomo Minamoto, the third shogun of the Kamakura era. Hatsushima Island and the streets of Atami can also be seen in the far distance ahead.
At the foot of this slope is Higanesan Sando Road from Atami Pass, which if you follow the paved road to the left, will lead you to Higanesan Tokoji Temple.
After paying a visit, go down the front stone steps and head for Iwatoyama. From the top of Iwatoyama, Atami and the ocean below will look like a miniature garden.
There is a grass-covered open space called Sasa no Hiroba, which overlooks Atami and the mountain range on the Izu Peninsula. This is one of the Higanesan pilgrimage routes, and is part of the chobutsu-lined Sekibutsu no Michi hiking course.
Also located on the course is the Iwato Kannon (Goddess of Mercy) Temple, which is another worthwhile stop.