Day 18: Nokogiriyama and Onsen

The previous night was cold. The coldest I’d experienced in Japan. Before bed I, just sat in front of my space heater before bundling up in bed. The next morning, I ate my konbini breakfast (breakfast bought at the convenience store) and got to the a spot just north of Kujukuri Beach on the bike by 9:00. There was a cold north wind, and I hesitantly put on my soggy wetsuit, and only managed about an hour in the water. It was small and kind of closing out so I called it. I got the few waves I wanted for the day and came back in to warm up.

As I was packing up on the beach, I got a message from Osamu invinting me to go with his son to climb Nokogiriyama and see Fujiyama from accross the Tokyo Bay. I grabbed some onigiri from FamilyMart on my way back to the house and got ready.

It was about an hour and a half drive from where we were in Chiba to Mt. Nokogiri. On the drive I was able to get to know Osamu and his son a little better. We practice speaking in both Japanese and English. His English was quite good because he has spent 2 years in Australia for College. One thing that many Japanese do nowadays is travel or study abroad for extended periods of time. I think that time away from our home country allows us to get a new perspective on the world and the people around us. It lets us form bonds across culture which roots peace across society. I recommend traveling outside the country to everyone; especially to a place where they do not use your primary language.

When we made it to the base of the mountain, the trail started with 400 consecutive steps.

Victor and Osamu start the trail

As we ascended, we were only able to see a faint outline of the top of Fujisan above some clouds.

There are trails running allover the mountain and a temple at the top with a big stone Daibutsu (Buddha). Most of the other trails were closed though, due to the recent typhoon. But at the very peak of the mountain though there is a lookout point called Jigoku Nozoki meaning a “peek into hell.” It is a lookout point that you can climb down and look over the edge and look across Tokyo Bay.

On the rock at Jigoku Nozoki

When we came down the mountain, we were able to see a few monkeys crossing the trail.

When we got to the bottom, we enjoyed a traditional snack of a croquette from a local street stand. Then we were able to catch the sunset at the park by the harbor by where we parked the car.

While we were up at the top, I mentioned onsen to Osamu and how they did not really exist in the US and that I wanted to go to more while I was in Japan. He said that there was a bunch all over Chiba. So on the way back to Kujukuri Beach we stopped and relaxed in one of the many onsen. A perfect way to end the day.

I was able to get a photo of the outline of Fujisan as we were leaving the coast, driving to the onsen.

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