Japan, Saitama Adventures

Travel Fail: Hiking to Mitsumine Shrine

Mitsumineguchi Station
Mitsumineguchi Station

         Is Mitsumine Shrine the most beautiful mountain shrine in Japan? That’s what I set out to discover the answer to last weekend.

View from the station
Signs on the way

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.

The shop that is supposed to have the best noodles my friend has ever eaten in Japan
Crossing into another world

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.

Watch out for bears! (Carry your bells to ward them off!)

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.

On the mountain!

 

 

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 beautiful!

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?

 

2 thoughts on “Travel Fail: Hiking to Mitsumine Shrine

  1. Too bad to hear you didn’t make it to the top, its a very nice payoff for a difficult trek! It’s interested you say there were sheer cliffs that scared you so much to the point of turning back. When I did this hike it was very misty and foggy (which of course added to the mystique and wonder of the old forest around us) but I couldn’t see very far so maybe I missed the scary overlooks (I’m glad because I’m deathly afraid of heights I would’ve turned back too).

    Tip to other travelers that want to do this hike or see this temple: there’s a guy who runs an airbnb/hostelworld guesthouse that’s very close to the base of this hike. The house is his old traditional family home and it overlooks just gorgeous scenery. We got into mitsumineguchi station around 5 the first night and stayed at the guesthouse then our host drove us to the base of the hike in the morning and then picked us up when we were done with our bags in the car and took us off to the train station so we could continue our journey onward. Wonderful experience!

    1. Hi Rachel!

      That’s an awesome tip. Next time I go back, maybe I can check that guesthouse out and stay overnight as it was a bit of a journey for me to get there.

      As for the hike, I don’t know. I don’t hike often but my friends had run on ahead and I was alone for a long while without another soul on the path and I guess I started to panic a little bit. I’m going to try again this year though! I’m hoping it really isn’t as scary and I initially thought it was.

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