Is Mitsumine Shrine the most beautiful mountain shrine in Japan? That’s what I set out to discover the answer to last weekend.
Located in Chichibu on the last stop (Mitsumineguchi Station) of the Chichibu Line, I set out bright and early with friends on a near 2-hour journey to get to the station. The coordinator of our excursion forgot that the bus from the station only ran about five times a day on weekends, so we had to wait an hour for the next one after we arrived. No worries though, we were still in good spirits as we ate our lunch while we waited.
You can take the bus from the station straight to the shrine, or you can get off at Owa and hike the 3 km up the mountain.
My team was looking for adventure, so we decided to get off at Owa and hike. Across the street from the entrance to Torii gate is a shop that my friend said makes the best udon he has ever had in his life. I’ll have to confirm that for myself next time.
Once you pass the gate, head over a photogenic bridge, and up a slight hill, you’ll get to the start of the trail and a warning sign to watch out for bears.
At this point, things started to go downhill for me. I was fortunate enough not to meet any bears on my trek. However, I was not prepared for the hike. The elevation was not my friend, and on a scale of 1-5, this walk was a solid 3.5-4 for me in difficulty.
After huffing and wheezing my way halfway up the mountain and battling my fear of slipping and sliding over a ledge to a painful death, I had to turn around.
So to answer my question, I don’t know if Mitsumine Shrine is the most beautiful mountain shrine because I never made it! I do think that with as impressive as the forest was, the top was probably even better. If anything, I’m inspired to work on my fitness level so I can tackle the hike again and see the shrine for myself.
Does anybody else have any fails they would like to share?