Just behind the Myojinkan ryokan in Tobira Hot Springs is a trail that leads up to the summit of Mt. Hachibuse. It’s a bit out of the way, but if you are staying at Myojinkan, then you’ll be right at the trailhead! (plus Myojinkan has a free shuttle bus) If you’re not staying there, you’re better off to take a taxi or your own car (park at the Hinokinoyu bathhouse).
To find the trailhead, walk past the Myojinkan building until you see a sign pointing to the trail entrance (it’s in Japanese, but marked with a big arrow):
To get all the way up to the summit, it will take about two to two and a half hours, but the trail is so nice that it’s worth hiking it even part way.
My friends and I walked the trail about half way and found a lush forest filled with mossy rocks, green ferns, interesting mushrooms, and a crystal-clear mountain stream. This first half of the trail is not too strenuous, making for a pleasant hike. Some parts of the forest even felt like a scene from the Princess Mononoke movie!
We caught a few glimpses of the local wildlife, too, including a huge frog and some very cute, striped squirrels that unfortunately would not let me get close enough to take a photo.
Thanks to the autumn weather, there were all kinds of weird mushrooms growing just about everywhere we turned. If you love finding this type of thing, this trail is great!
In a few places, you’ll be able to get a peek of the surrounding mountains too. If you do make it all the way up to the summit, apparently it offers some of the best views of the Japan Alps and valley below, too!
One of the best parts of walking this trail is that you can go to the Hinokinoyu hot spring bathhouse when you’re finished (located a 5-min walk from the trailhead). It has an amazing outdoor bath with a view of the mountain valley. Also, right next door is a small Japanese-style restaurant called Kakesu that serves delicious hot bowls of soba with wild mushrooms, tonkatsu (fried pork cutlet), grilled freshwater fish, and many other dishes. Just this past weekend they had soba noodles that included Japan’s most prized wild mushroom, matsutake:
If you’re taking a car, you can actually park here at Hinokinoyu and Kakesu’s parking lot. There is also a public toilet available here.
All in all, I highly recommend this hike (and the hot springs!) if you can make it here!
See also the « Mt. Hachibuse Hiking or Biking » page.