This was a fun tour that I would recommend to anyone. It’s on the Chiba side of the Tokyo Bay though, so a bit awkward to get to by train which is why a group tour worked out better for us. I would recommend driving or for those in Yokosuka, there is a ferry from Kurihama to Kanaya I believe. Hamakanaya is the nearest train station. The bus dropped us off at the Nokogiri-yama ropeway where we took the ropeway up to the top of Mt Nokogiri, “Sawtooth Mountain” named after it’s hand-chiseled rock walls. The views were absolutely beautiful. We started making our way down the mountain, which is one of the reasons why I love taking tour buses on hikes. No need to worry about someone running shuttle or doubling your way back up the mountain to reach the car. I believe most of the hike after the initial view was part of the Temple Nihonji, which we paid 600yen (adults) and 400yen (children). Our first stop was the hundred-shaku Kannon, a huge relieve image carved into one of the quarry walls.
We kept walking down the mountain through the 1,500-Arhats. During an anti-Buddhist movement in the Meiji era, most of the stone images of sacred Arhats, depicting “the spirit of eternal benevolence” were destroyed or disfigured. These 1,500 have been saved and placed at Temple Nihonji as a refuge of sorts. Some more of the temple grounds as we made to the bottom parking lot where the bus was picking us up. The largest statue of the Buddha Daibutsu in Japan.
At the bottom of the mountain near the piers were shopping and restaurants. We hung out near the ocean since we don’t get to see it too often. I never know what food will be available to us that the boys will be willing to try and eat, so I usually bring sandwiches along to tide them over. Tasting the local food is always an added bonus if they try it.
These giant “jacks” are the seawall barriers.Our last stop on this tour was the Tokyo Bay Kannon, near Futtsu, Chiba. It’s a bit of an odd attraction, but the boys had a blast in it. There are 324 steps up, with stamps to collect in your brochure along the way. So off they set racing up the spiral steps, echoing along the way. They barely noticed the alters along the way with different deities. Once we starting getting towards the top, the fun began. Ladders and stairs separate the floors and you can get a bit turned around. Add some echoes and you’ll feel like a game of “marco-polo”. For awhile there I could not tell if my children were on the floors above me or below me. They had a grand time playing keep away from mom and there isn’t too much mischief they can get into up there. Although the ladders had me a bit nervous. They made it to the very top and recorded their names in the record book.