Out of all the mountains in the greater Kanagawa area that I have had the pleasure of hiking, I find that the path from Myoujingatake leading all the way to Mt. Kintoki the most pleasurable of them all. The surrounding flora drastically changes along the way and you get the sense that you are being transported into a new location everytime it happens. It’s a wonderful feeling, which is the reason behind why I decided to make my first guide about it.
What To Bring:
1) At least 2 liters of Drinks (H2O or Energy Drinks)
3) Change of clothes
4) Insect Repellant
7) First Aid Kit
8) Great Attitude
Getting to the starting point.
1) JR Odawara Station(小田原駅) @ 08:00
To minimise the risk of getting stranded in the mountains after the sun sets, I recommend you set the meet-up time at around 07:45〜08:00 AM, in front of the JR ticket gate since it’s closer to the East Odawara Bus Stop. The bus leaving for Togendai Station departs soon after, so once the party is complete, head for bus stop #4. Click here to see the bus stop topography.
2) Hakone Tozan Bus for Togendai Station（桃源台駅）
It’s best to take the bus that leaves at exactly 08:10 during weekends, and 08:15 during weekdays. Click here to see the bus stop schedule.
If you haven’t noticed yet, you need to board the bus with a T-mark akin to this one:
If you have any of the IC cards (Suica, Pasmo, Icoca, Kitaka etc…) then have the reader scan your card as soon as you enter the bus. This will allow the system to know which bus stop you boarded, and will make fare calculations accordingly. If you don’t know where the IC card scanner is, just show the card to the bus driver and he’ll direct you to it. If you don’t have an IC card, I suggest you get one, it’ll make your life easier. If you are adamant about not getting one and insist on remaining in the dark ages, then grab a ticket as soon as you board the bus. The ticket should be in close proximity to the IC Card scanner.
The ride will take roughly around 30 minutes, and, at that time of writing, costs 790 Yen. This will take you all the way to Miyagino Shisho Mae bus stop. Remember to press the stop button sign before you get to the bus stop. Lastly, have the reader scan your IC cards one more time to pay for the fare, before getting off at the stop.
3) Miyagino Shisho Mae Bus Stop(宮城野支所前バス停), the starting point.
Once you get off at this stop, I encourage you to take a toilet break (pee or poo) at the unisex restroom provided for in the bus stop.
Once all preparations are made, it’s now time to start the hike.
Face the road, and to your right is a stop light and a pedestrian crosswalk. Use that crosswalk to cross to other side, and straight into the road perpendicular to the street. This is the start of the hiking course.
If you’re not sure where to go, look for the sign that says “ハイキングコース”, which means hiking course in Japanese, written in Katakana. Just proceed and take care not to miss any of the signs.
A Sign to Remember
Well, it depends on which part of the hike you are but if you see either:
– 金時山(Mt. Kintoki)
then you should go there. If forced to choose between the two signs above, choose Mt. Kintoki and follow the signs up to the summit.
The Ascent to Hell
I purposedly skipped a lot of the details going to Mt. Kintoki, to not spoil future hikers regarding this path. I do however feel the need to discuss briefly the last 20-minutes before the summit. By now, some if not most of the hikers are feeling some form of burning sensation in their legs. You now have reached 乳酸地獄(Nyu-san Jigoku) phase, which simply means your body just started producing and using lactic acid instead of oxygen for energy. The last 20 minutes will even further that burning sensation to new heights. So prepare for that, and go at it at your own pace to avoid injuries.
At the summit there is a restroom, and 2 places where you can go and buy food. They serve a whole array of Japanese dishes but I chose Kintoki Udon simply because I love udon, and attached to it is the name of the mountain whose summit I spent the greater part of the day hiking.
Also, make sure to roam around the summit. Mt. Fuji is a given, but there are other things that you could get a glimpse of if the weather permits, including a bird’s eye view of the greater Kanagawa area.
Eat, rest, laugh and drink beer.
The Descent to Heaven
Well, now is the easy part, the descent. You won’t be going all the way back to where you started. This time, make sure to pay attention to the signs pointing you to:
– 金時神社(Kintoki Jinja),
which is rougly 70 minutes from the summit. Just follow the trail and you’ll reach the temple, which will be to your right, in no time. Keep on walking until you reach the main road, where the buses run. By now you should be able to see the 金時神社入り口バス停 (Kintoki Jinja Iriguchi Bus Stop).
Once you get there, head left, and look for the 仙石バス停 (Sengoku Bus Stop), which is the GOAL of this hike. You’ll pass by several bus stops along the way so make sure you walk until Sengoku Bus stop, which has its own waiting shed.
Once you arrive, line up and wait until the the bus headed for 箱根湯本駅(Hakone Yumoto Station) arrives.
That’s it! Congratulations. You’ve just conquered Mt. Kintoki!
Now relax, find an onsen(hot spring), and wash all the “tired” away.
Odawara Station East Exit Bus Stop ↓ [Bus: 30 min, 790Yen] Miyagino Shisho Mae Bus Stop (Start) ↓ [2:00] Myoujingatake ↓ [0:45] Hiuchishidake ↓ [2:00] Mt. Kintoki ↓ [1:10] Kintoki Jinja Iriguchi Mae Bus Stop ↓ [0:20] Sengoku Bus Stop (GOAL) ↓ [0:25] @ 750 Yen Hakone Yumoto Station