Having conquered Mt Ōyama I’m eager to continue the theme of scaling new heights each and every week.
My calves have finally recovered from the previous ordeal; it only took 5 days. So now I’m feeling fit and healthy and full of energy. Just as well.
Taking my cue from the intrepid orchid and her experiences climbing Mt Nabewari I decide to make it my next destination.
I’m more interested in the prospect of the famous Nabeyaki Udon awaiting me at the top.
Mt Nabewari (鍋割山) literally means “pot or saucepan + proportion or divide” which seems an appropriate place for a meal to be served. Mind you, it’s first necessary to climb to the 1273m peak to claim your prize.
With another warm day forecast, albeit cooler than last week, I make my way to Shinjuku station once again. Exactly the same Odakyu Odawara Line as before but this time I need to alight a few stations further on at Shibusawa (渋沢), about ¥600 one-way.
Fortunately I manage to catch the less crowded 7.01am Express to Shibusawa but it doesn’t help me as I’ve just missed the Kanagawa Chuo Kotsu 02 bus (from terminal 02). Never mind. They depart every 1/2 hour or so.
When I eventually hop on the 8.40am bus it takes less than 15 minutes to reach my destination, the last stop: Okura.
But once there I find it’s actually harder than I expected to know where to go next. There doesn’t seem to be any signs in English and my instructions don’t really help me:
“just follow the signs that lead from Okura to the Nishiyama (西山: west mountain) woodland path and then to Futamata (二俣) – the entrance to the Mt Nabewari climbing trail. From Futamata you’ll come out along a ridge – head for Ushirozawa Nokkoshi and onto the summit.”
So I ask for directions and with my limited Japanese manage to work out where to go. Essentially I’m following a bunch of other hikers who I discover are going to Mt Tōno-dake (塔岳).
I can see from my recently purchased map that this is to the east of Mt Nabewari yet the two mountains share a common route. So I figure I’m heading in the right direction.
I’m thankful that it’s cloudy and not sunny as this provides some respite from the heat. As do the tall trees.
After about 30 minutes we arrive at a sign that gives us a choice but essentially they go to the same place, meeting up later.
At this stage the going is much easier than Mt Ōyama. There are not the same big steps. And the incline is a lot less steep. I am lulled into a false sense of complacency thinking that this is going to be quick and simple.
The trail is compacted earth and occasionally mud. Some rocks too. But not too many.
Once again the trail is not overly crowded.
There are fewer shrines on this hike although they do pop-up.
Several buildings and rest points are scattered along the way. One offers climbers drinking water but I’m well supplied and keen to reach the top as usual so I rarely slow down let alone stop.
It’s also more picturesque than before so I find myself stopping often yet briefly to snap a photograph here and there.
The green undergrowth is incredibly vibrant. Although when you have to watch your every step it’s hard to fully appreciate the scenery.
The steep climb begins in earnest as my illusions of a fast trek evaporate. The path is often made easier to negotiate with wooden boards and steps similar to those on the descent from Mt Ōyama.
A couple of hours into the climb and a set of stairs with open-air appear before me giving hope that this could be the end.
Alas, it’s a false hope.
But I’m not complaining as the views are magnificent from up here above the clouds.
Again, the trail opens up and it looks like it may be the peak.
With it comes some respite albeit short lived. This is only a detour.
There are plenty of people up here. And a number of buildings. I’m guessing some of it may provide accommodation for those doing longer hikes who need a place to sleep as no camping is permitted.
This may be the summit of Mt Tōno-dake (1491m) but I’m hungry and keen to see Mt Nabewari.
level of difficulty : 13/20 (combined Mt Tōno-dake + Mt Nabewari climb)
duration : 7.5 hours