Nokogiriyama and Nihonji Daibutsu
After visiting Chiba Castle in the morning, my next destination was Nokogiriyama which is also in Chiba Prefecture (map).
Nokogiriyama can be easily accessed from Chiba, Yokohama or Tokyo.
It’s very common to go there by ferry or by train. I came by train and left by ferry!
Access to Nokogiriyama
Get off at JR Hamakanaya Station. From Chiba it will take about 80 mins. If you want to access from Yokohama or Tokyo, the ferry might be the better option!
You can also access via JR Hota Station, but the hiking trail from there might be confusing, so you better take a map with you! If you’re in a hurry, I don’t recommend this approach!
You can also access via the Hamakanaya Port’s ferry terminal.
From the Keikyu-Kurihama Station (south of Yokohama) you can either walk (20 mins) or take a bus to the Kurihama Ferry Terminal. From there the trip with the “Tokyo Wan Ferry” (東京湾フェリー) will take about 40 mins.
From either the Hamakanaya train station or the ferry terminal it’s a short 10-15 mins walk to the Nokogiriyama Ropeway.
That’s the entrance to the Nokogiriyama Ropeway Station. You can purchase one way or round trip tickets (for more information scroll down to the “Tourist Information box” at the end of this blog post).
The trip with the ropeway is rather short. After all Nokogiriyama is only at a height of 329m!
Nokogiriyama (鋸山) aka Mount Nokogiri literally means “saw (鋸) mountain (山)”. The name represents the mountain’s distinctive feature as it looks like a Japanese saw. This shape was formed in Edo period. People worked hard to build the biggest city of Japan, but there was only marshy land, so solid rocks were necessary to create a strong foundation for the buildings of Edo. Mount Nokogiri’s current shape clearly shows the hard work of all those people.
Although the mountian isn’t very high you’ll get some breathtaking views from up there!
Mount Nokogiri offers a spectacular 180-degree panorama!
Here you see Jigoku-nozoki (地獄覗き, “peering into hell”) a small rock platform which sticks out over cliff.
You DON’T want to fall down there!
The panoramic view from up there is really stunning!
Nokogiriyama has to offer more than just a great view! There’s also the Nihon-ji Temple (日本寺) complex which houses a big Buddha statue (Daibutsu).
As the largest pre-modern, stone-carved Daibutsu in Japan (31.05m) it’s taller than the famous Buddha statues in Kamakura (13.35m) and Nara’s Todaiji (18.18m). It’s in fact one of the largest Buddha statues in Japan. Nihon-ji Buddha is the seated image of Yakushi Nyorai, the Buddha of healing and medicine, dating back to the late 1700s. It was damaged due to an earthquake, but fully restored in 1966.
Nihon-ji Temple, also known as “Kenkonzan Nihonji” (乾坤山日本寺), was founded in Nara period in 752. Since then the temple complex has been damaged and rebuilt several times. It’s considered to be the only temple in the Kanto region that was built by the order of the emperor during the Nara period.
Right next to the great Buddha statue was this smaller Jizo stone statue, looking over millions of tiny jizo statues!
Jizo (地蔵) are the guardian of children and the bodhisattva of Hell.
These tiny white jizo statues are called “Onegai Jizo” (お願い地蔵). People buy them to make a wish or ask for help and then put them around the main Jizo statue.
If you visit Mount Nokogiri you won’t just get a great view from above and see one of the largest Buddha statues in Japan, there are also about 1500 hand-carved statues of Rakan (千五百羅漢道）.
Each of them is unique with its own facial expression and gesture!
During the anti-Buddhist Haibutsu Kishaku movement (1868~) many sculptures and facilities of Nihon-ji were damaged. Quite a few of the Rakan statues were beheaded at that time.
Another famous spot where you can see a lot of Rakan statues like that is the Otagi Nenbutsuji Temple in Arashiyama (Kyoto).
From the great Buddha statue there’s a trail that will lead you to all these fabulous stone statues.
On the left you can see “Asekaki Fudou” (あせかき不動). I really fell in love with the statue because of the different eye color!
There are a lot of stairs, but there’s so much to discover, so I highly recommend you take your time there!
The trail will finally lead you to the “Hundred-shaku Kannon” (百尺観音) which was carved as a memorial and prayer for vicitms of WWII. It took 6 years until completion (1960-1966). Nowadays people pray to this huge relief image of Kannon for traffic and travel safety.
The Hundred-Shaku-Kannon is 100 shaku high. Shaku (尺) is an old Japanese (Asian) unit of measure. 100 shaku are about 30m.
|Opening Hours:||Nihonji Temple: 8:00 ~ 17:00 (16:30 in winter)Nokogiriyama Ropeway: 9:00 ~ 17:00 (16:00 in winter)|
|Holidays:||always open (* ropeway occasionally shuts down due to weather conditions)|
|Entrance fee:||Nihonji Temple: 600 yen (adults); 400 yen (children: 4-12 yrs.)Nokogiriyama Ropeway: 500 yen (adults) – 900 yen (round trip); half price for children|
|Access:||JR Hamakanaya Station or Hamakanaya Port + 15 min. walk
JR Hota Station + a rather long hike
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Events in April 2016:
- Apr 1-30: Miyako Odori (Kyoto)
- Apr 1-3 : Beppu Hot Spring Festival
- Apr 2-3: Inuyama Matsuri
- Apr 2-3: Katori Jingu Otaue-sai (Chiba)
- Apr 3: Kanamara (Phallus) Festival
- Apr 10-17: Kamakura Festival
- Apr 13-17: Yayoi Festival (Nikko)
- Apr 14-15: Takayama Festival
- Apr 15-17: Ushibuka Haiya Matsuri (Kumamoto)
- Apr 21-25: Nagasaki Tall Ships Festival