Travel time: 60 minutes - Stations: Uenohara JR, Arai bus stop
Trail time: 5,5 hours - Effort: high

The many faces of an old friend

One of my favorite areas: easy to reach, nice to walk, great to explore

+ The good

  • Easy to access: Uenohara JR is just a few stations after tourist-magnet Takao and, if you feel adventurous, the 中央道 highway next to it has a good number of cheap buses
  • Very well kept trails: even the minor tracks are lovingly crafted and maintained
  • The Nodake area is a very well curated park, with beautiful nature, impeccable trails and a stunning 360° panoramic platform.
  • The stretch between Uenohara station and the beginning of the park is a well-kept "neighborhood forest" that still manages to pull off a few views and shrines (and vegetation that is not the usual sugi)
  • Typical snack: keep an eye around while crossing the center of Uenohara and you will find a few shops selling sake manju/酒まんじゅう, great for breakfast
  • All levels: the most casual walkers can climb up to the Yayeyama observatory and get back for a nice, safe walk, even with kids. The rest can probably continue up to Noudake then turn left and down to Arai bus station for the best compromise between challenge and reward. My loop above was a bit over the top, with a few slippery points and pointless climbs, but can be good fun for anyone wanting to really stretch their legs

~ The bad

  • Last month's typhoon left quite a few broken and uprooted trees along the way. Nothing dangerous, but sometimes it can be a bit unnerving to pass over/under them
  • Pay attention to your route until the Nodake park, as there are a few tricky crossroads

- The ugly

  • The last fourth of the trail is just a long stretch of paved road with no particular interest (and very hot in the summer). I took a detour through the woods, but taking the bus at Arai is probably the more rational choice