At 1,995 meters above sea level, it's the highest place in Tokushima prefecture. And even in West Japan, Mt. Tsurugi is only second to Mt. Ishizuchi.
Hearing this you may think that it raises the hurdle quite high for mountain climbing, but as a lift is available to the halfway point of the trail, it's an easy climb even for those who come with children, and popular as an ideal trekking course.
You can climb without taking the lift, too, but for beginners I recommend taking it easy and riding the lift, which is located in Higashiiya, Miyoshi city (quite deep in the mountains). You can get on the lift at Minokoshi station.
As the lift passes along the mountain slope, just riding it is quite refreshing. It takes around 15 minutes to climb the 330 meters to Nishijima station. From here, you have to continue to the top on your own two feet!
As you can see, there are many climbing routes available.
The longer the route you choose, the more beautiful scenery there is to see, but as I was 100% convinced we'd be exhausted, this time I chose the shortest route to the top.
The shortest route is 900 meters and takes around 40-minutes.
At the midway point, there is a perfect spot for photographs where you to feel as if you’re floating in the air.
Just as I'd thought, we began getting short of breath in the vicinity of the mountaintop.
It's just a little bit further on after you see this torii gate!
After passing through the torii gate and continuing on a little further, there is a restaurant where you can enjoy light meals such as udon noodles.
This is actually the Tsurugisan Chojo Hutte, a mountain hut where you can also spend the night. Staying at a place like this near the top of a mountain sounds quite exciting, don’ t you think? If you stay over, you might witness a sea of clouds early in the morning.
And if you take the stairs on the right, you will finally see the trail that leads to the actual mountaintop!
It was mid-May when we visited for this article, and as you might expect, as we got close to the mountaintop, it got quite cold…
We planned to eat our packed lunch there, but as it was just too cold, that plan vanished into thin air!
And this is the mountaintop!
Unfortunately, there was really thick fog, so we couldn't see anything!
Thick fog… or you could say that we were in a cloud! When it’s sunny, there is a magnificent view from, but as there were no sign of the fog disappearing, this time we gave up and descended the mountain.
On the way down, we took different route. And the reason for that was because we wanted to scoop up some of Mt. Tsurugi's goshinsui ('sacred water'), which has been selected among the top 100 most famous waters in Japan!
This hi~ghly appreciated sacred water gushes out at the foot of Gotouseki, a large stone formation that is worshipped as the deity of Tsurugi Shrine.
The water is abundant in minerals and is also known as the water of rejuvenation.
Though we weren't able to see the scenery from the mountaintop, we got to drink this water so we were satisfied!
Additionally, the trail to the top of Mt. Jirogyu, the mountain right next to Mt. Tsurugi is also refreshing and we recommend it for trekking.
Mt. Tsurugi Sightseeing Climber's Lift
Location: 205-25 Sugeoi, Higashiiya, Miyoshi city, Tokushima prefecture
Open: Mid-April thru the end of November
Hours: First lift at 9.00, last lift at 16.45. During the period from July 23rd to August 28th first lift at 8.00, last lift at 17.45
Fare: Adult round trip JPY1860, Child’s round trip JPY870
HP: http://www.turugirift.com/ (Japanese)
Tsurugisan Chojo Hutte HP: http://tsurugisan-hutte.com/ (Japanese)
Setouchi Finder Photo-writer: Daisuke Chiba
Daisuke Chiba / Photo-writer I was born in 1985 in Miyoshi City, Tokushima Prefecture, and now live in Tokushima City. After graduating university, I worked at a publishing company as an editor for various mooks, and in April 2014 I went freelance. I work as a photographer, copy-writer and editor, but also do product development and other stuff as well. If anyone needs me, I can do anything! Except, in spite of my being from Tokushima, dancing - I’m really bad at dancing Awa Odori!
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