Hike to Shosenkyo Gorge and Yamanaka Lake
Hiking during autumn in Japan is one of the best to-do activities annually.
This year, we warmed up the season of hiking in Yamanashi, specifically in Shosenkyo Gorge, with a pal whose into hiking.
Shosenkyo Gorge is a national park located in Kofu City, Yamanashi.
There is a 4-kilometer trail starting from Nagatoro-Bashi in which you can enjoy the beauty of the rocks oddly formed like a monkey, Japanese goblin (tengu), and Mount Fuji.
Hikers can walk one way, take the bus back, or make a loop. We did the former.
You can finish hiking the trail in about two hours.
The trees were still pretty green when we went there. But signs of autumn have started.
We started hiking from the entrance of the trail. Toilets are accessible in some places.
We relished the hike and the stream echoing throughout the whole area.
Halfway through the hike, we passed by some bridges and checked on them.
We passed by the Bridge of Love. They said that if couples cross the bridge, it will forever seal their love. I wasn't aware of this bridge name until I made this blog. Kanji is hard to read. (laugh)
This is Rakanji-bashi. I found this one of the best simply because of the pine cone tree covering the bridge. I find pine cones beautiful in autumn.
There were some shops as well. However, they are closed, probably because we hiked on a Friday. Maybe the business will resume on weekends, or they'll start around late October to early December.
Finally, we found Ishi-mon. It is a stone gate formed by large granites. What makes this more interesting, apart from the fact that it is a spiritual place, is the tip of the upper part and lower part of the gate are not attached.
Kakuenpo, Japan's most beautiful gorge, is Shosenkyo's highest peak. There is a tradition that Japanese Buddhist monk Kakuen performed ascetic practice (severe self-discipline and abstention from all forms of indulgence, typically for religious reasons) at the top of it.
There's a tunnel people inserted 1-yen coins in the rock cracks. I felt scared of the danger it might break and put the hikers in danger.
The famous waterfall named Senga-taki is a waterfall caused by the earth's crust. The fall is part of the 100 most beautiful waterfalls in Japan.
We headed up more of the trail and saw this buddha and Japanese wind chime (furin). I love furin. We used to have this at home—a feeling of relief and calmness after that hike.
Various souvenir shops and gemstone shops are in the crowd in the area.
We stopped at a restaurant to eat Hoto. I finally fed my hungry stomach.
After the quick lunch, we passed by Meotogi Shrine, and this shrine is dedicated to fertility and childbirth.
We took the Shosenkyo ropeway to Panorama Dai Station, and as we headed up, we saw the Arakawa Dam.
The fare costs 1300 for adults.
The ray of sunshine hitting our faces made the 5-minute ride all worthwhile.
We met a lot of energetic children that time, probably on a school trip.
At Panorama-Dai Station, we can find Yakumo Shrine, famous for praying for marriage.
A short hiking trail leads to Yasaburo-dake summit, about 15 minutes, atop a natural platform of solid granite with a 360° view of Mount Fuji and the Southern Alps.
The peak is known for its "power spot" within Yamanashi Prefecture. It means it is a spiritual place where one can feel nature.
At the base of the ropeway, we can see golden carp (koi.) I had fun watching them shoaling, asking for food from travelers.
We now headed back to the entrance of the trail by bus.
We stopped over by Yamanaka Lake (Yamanaka-ko). My friend likes this place, and I am grateful to him for bringing me to this spot. I couldn't take so many images because I wanted to remember them in my eyes.
I scanned and memorized the beauty of the site - the sun, the bridge, Mount Fuji, the stillness of the lake, etc.
That was a pleasant and memorable hike, indeed.
I am looking forward to more hikes this year.
Let's enjoy our autumn the best way we can.