Hello! I’m Kaori (@ kaori_castlelove.jp), a castle instagrammer and tourist ambassador for Yoshino Town!
I usually introduce historical tourist spots on Instagram, mainly focusing on castles all over the country!
In this article, I would like to introduce the [Omine Okugake Path], which is registered as a UNESCO World Heritage Site under the name of “Sacred Sites and Pilgrimage Routes in the Kii Mountain Range.” When you hear the term “Shugendo,” you might think of someone hiking along a rugged mountain path for many days. There is an impression that it is not an easy thing to do. But don’t you worry! On the Omine Okugake Path, you can fully experience Shugendo in as short a time as 2 days and 1 night!
- First preparation! Climbing season and belongings
- Depart from Gyoja-gaeri Tunnel! The first thing to come is a steep slope!?
- A mansion in Shugendo! ? Shobo-no-juku
- 360-degree panoramic view of Mt. Misen!
- Appreciate the rising sun on Mt. Hakkyo-ga-take
- Refresh in a hot spring
First preparation! Climbing season and belongings
The climbing season of Mt. Omine is from April to November, and I went backpacking in August. I challenged the mountain wearing running gear, hiking shoes, and thin long-sleeved clothing!
The temperature in Yoshin Town was about 30 degrees and felt quite hot, but the mountains are cooler, becoming chilly after the evening. This time I stayed in the mountain hut known as “Misen” to appreciate the rising sun the next morning. Since it is a mountain hut, there are no baths or showers…! I think there are many people who are not used to staying in mountain huts, so I will introduce what I brought with me for the stay: I brought long-sleeved clothing, towels, toiletries, body wipes (in large quantities), clothes, and an extension cord. When staying at lodging facilities such as mountain huts, I always carry an extension cord, assuming that there are very few power outlets in the room.
Misen Mountain Hut:
Address: 158 Kitozumi, Tenkawa-mura, Yoshino-gun, Nara
Business hours: April 28 – late November (No staff in November)
May close early due to snow conditions
Price: Reservation required
With half -board: 8,000 yen
No meals: 5,500 yen
Remarks: Meal time: Breakfast 6:00 am, dinner 5:00 pm
Toilet, bedding (futon, pillow, blanket): Yes
Bath / shower, amenities (towels, toothbrush, etc.): None
Depart from Gyoja-gaeri Tunnel! The first thing to come is a steep slope!?
The trailhead is accessible by car and located at “Gyoja-gaeri Tunnel West,” where there is a parking lot that you can use for 1,000 yen/day.
I left the car at the parking lot and headed to the trailhead. At first, the trail was flat and fairly easy to walk, but a short distance after crossing a river near the trailhead, it suddenly became a steep upward slope. I was maintaining a good pace from the start, but about midway through course the trail became rocky and rugged and I found myself slowing down as I experienced a state of oxygen deficiency. If you don’t normally walk in the mountains, climb at a reasonable speed!
A mansion in Shugendo! ? Shobo-no-juku
After walking for about 3 hours, I reached the Shobo-no-juku Ruins. There is a statue of Shobo Rigen Daishi, who revived Shugendo back in the Heian Period. On the other side of the statue, there is a small area of flattened ground. It is said that there used to be a mansion here. I wonder who made it, why it was made, and who used it…!
360-degree panoramic view of Mt. Misen!
Walking for about an hour from Shobo-no-juku, I reached the summit of Mt. Misen. The Misen Mountain Hut is also located in this area.
There were moss and ferns growing all around and as I looked down at them all, I felt as if I had tripped into the world of Ghibli.
In addition, there is a shrine called the Misen Shrine on the summit of the mountain, which has a connection with the Tenkawa Shrine, one of Japan’s best “power spots.” It was relaxing to pray at the shrine and observe the moss, ferns, and the surrounding mountain scenery.
Appreciate the rising sun on Mt. Hakkyo-ga-take
Getting to Mt. Hakkyo-ga-take takes just a few hours on foot from the Misen Mountain Hut.
Mt. Hakkyo-ga-take was named after the fact that En-no-Gyoja, the founder of Shugendo, buried the eight volumes of the Hokke Sutra there.
The summit of Mt. Hakkyo-ga-take is covered with rugged rocks, but there is a lot of space as well, so I climbed up to a rocky viewpoint from which I could appreciate the view of the rising sun. By the way, it was very cold here in the early morning.
After appreciating the rising sun at the summit, I returned to the Misen Hut and took in all the views of the mountains that I couldn’t see before the sunrise.
Refresh in a hot spring
After having breakfast at Misen Hut, I descended the mountain.
After a lot of exercise, it’s great to refresh oneself in a hot spring!
Driving about 30-minutes from “Gyoja-gaeri Tunnel West,” you can find the “Amano-gawa Onsen.” This hot spring is called the “hot spring of beauty” because it beautifies the skin of those who bathe in it.
Amano-gawa Onsen Center:
Address: 232 Tsubonouchi, Tenkawa-mura, Yoshino-gun, Nara
Opening Hours: 11 am-8pm (last entry is 30 minutes before close)
Holidays: Every Tuesday (*if already a national holiday, it transfers to the next day)
December 29th to January 1st
(Opening hours shortened on January 2nd and 3rd)
Fee: adults 700yen
children 300yen (3 years old ~ elementary school 6th grade students)
“Omine Okugake-do Road”, where you can absorb power from Misen and refresh yourself with a hot spring of beauty.
I highly recommend this location to not only people who like hiking, but also people who are tired of daily life, those who lack exercise, and those of us who like to visit power spots!
Castle Instagrammer KAORI’s YouTube Channel
Video of Omine Okugake-do Road
text/photo/model：Castle Instagrammer KAORI
Instagram ID: kaori_castlelove.jp
＃おでかけ ＃修験道 ＃歴史 ＃世界遺産 ＃奈良