Our second trip to Nokogiri-yama was in winter. Which was a good decision really, considering that we had to hike up the mountain the first time round under the 35deg summer sun.
The Japanese winter, as we have come to discover is really pleasant. Cold yet filled with sunshine, it was the perfect combination for us who have grown up under hot and humid conditions.
The beautiful coastline has an idyllic feel of a seaside resort, with numerous fishing boats and yachts docked along its shores.
Deciding to take it easy this time round, we took the cable car up to the mid-way point of Nokogiri-yama. The journey up offered spectacular view of the western coast of Chiba, all the way to Kanagawa across the bay.
A viewing platform was located right behind the cable car station at the top. A family of black and white cats relaxed lazily under the sun, while others cozied up with a man who was feeding them.
Feasting our eyes on the sight, we took in views of the Boso peninsula and Tokyo Bay. Unfortunately, the sky wasn’t clear enough for us to catch Mount Fuji, an impressive sight it must have been.
Leaving the viewing point, we hiked across sheltered paths to Nihon-ji temple. Nokogiri-yama’s history as a quarry in the 14th-18th century was evident, judging from the smooth and straight lines of its cliff.
We made our way to the Jigoku-nozoki (glimpse into hell), a steep overhang which had resulted from the mining activity. From there, it offered another vantage point to take in the panoramic scene.
The Hyaku-shaku Kannon was a short walk from the Jigoku-nozoki. We couldn’t help staring in awe at the imposing figure of the Goddess of Mercy that had been carved into the rock surface. Created in remembrance of the victims of World War II, the 30m image stood solemn and austere.
The hike down to the Great Buddha took us through shaded paths, with more than 1,500 statues of Arhats and dieties scattered along the way. Each Arhat was said to depict a different face, a feat which must have taken considerable effort.
The Buddha of Nihon-ji was an impressive sight, being more than double the size of its more photographed counterpart in Kamakura. Constructed in 1783, it was a relatively new addition to the temple which was founded in the early 8th-century.
After making our way down to the base of the mountain, we arrived at Kanaya. We walked over to the port and enjoyed a lunch of seafood at Maruhama.
The spacious dining hall was lined with long tables, each sporting 2 basic grills. One could help themselves to as much seafood as they wanted, as long as they were within the 90minute limits. It was a unique experience, grilling seafood next to the shore, though it wasn’t an experience I would want to experience in a hurry.
The shellfish took a long time to cook, and the 90-minute limit hardly made it a relaxing experience.
Though it wasn’t the ideal ending we had in mind, Nokogiri-yama had been a great excursion. Having been there for summer and winter, a visit in spring or autumn would really complete the deal.