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Mount Nokogiri (鋸山): Discover The Most Heavenly Hike Through Hell

Mount Nokogiri is a famous mountain in Japan’s Chiba Prefecture known for its ragged, sawtooth shape. It is home to two massive Buddhas, incredible coastal views, and a steep cliff overhang with a “View to Hell”.

This mountain area is a relatively under-the-radar day trip destination from Tokyo and is the perfect addition to your itinerary if you live in or have visited the capital city a few times.

Mount Nokogiri is about 2-3 hours from Tokyo and the hike along the mountain can take 2-4 hours (depending on whether you hike the whole way or use the cable car). As a result, this is a full day excursion that will reward you with expansive views of Japan’s seaside and ancient worship sites.

In this guide, I’ll share my tips about how to best visit Mount Nokogiri.

What is the best way to visit Mount Nokogiri?

How To Get There

View of the water from the top of Mount Nokogiri


From Tokyo, it takes between 2.5-3 hrs to reach Mount Nokogiri using one of the below transportation options:

  1. Rent a car: there is parking throughout the town surrounding Mount Nokogiri. You can take the Nokogiriyama Tozan Expressway from coastal route 127.

  2. Train: From Kisarazu Station, take the JR Uchibo line to Hama-Kanaya Station. This is the easiest of the three options, but note that this line doesn’t run frequently.

  3. Train + expressway bus: there are various expressway buses that head to Hama-Kanaya Station, but most of the routes require tight connections.

The closest train station to the base of Mount Nokogiri is Hama-Kanaya Station. I recommend taking either options 1 or 2 if you can because the trains and expressway bus involved in option 3 require tight transfer connections that are difficult to make (I took the 3rd option and had to literally run between each leg of the journey).

Where To Stay

Most people visit Mount Nokogiri as a day trip from Tokyo or Chiba Prefecture. However, there are several stunning properties in the area where you can stay overnight to fully get the seaside experience.

I suggest staying at:

What To Do

The main activity of the Mount Nokogiri area is hiking around the main temples and Buddha statues while observing the stark cliff faces. You can either take the ropeway to the top of the mountain or hike up from the base.

The ropeway costs ¥950 (~USD $8) roundtrip and ¥500 (~$4) one-way for adults. There’s a significant amount of walking required between the sights once you reach the top, so feel no shame in taking the ropeway to get to the main areas! The cable car takes about 5-10 minutes and runs between 9AM-4PM in the winter, and until 5PM from February 16th to November 15th.

The hike from the base to the top of Mount Nokogiri is relatively easy and takes about 50-60 minutes one-way. You can take one of two main paths to reach the top: the Sharikimichi route (which is more winding) and the Kanto Fureai No Michi route (which is more direct but with steeper stairs).

Once at the top, you can fill about 1.5 hours walking around between the main attractions across the mountain.

Hiking

Sun peers through tall trees along a wooded trail

The path on the hike up Mt. Nokogiri

A heart shaped hole in the cliff of Mount Nokogiri

A heart-shaped cutout in the rocks


As I said earlier, while you can take the ropeway up the mountain, I recommend hiking the whole way if you have the energy and time. The hike is well maintained and appropriate for beginner to intermediate hikers, with only a few sections with steep stairs. At certain places the trail isn’t marked clearly so bring a map with you (you can get a copy from the ropeway station or take a photo of the sign in front of the trailheads).

Hyaku-shaku Kannon & Jigoku Nozoki (View of Hell)

A large standing buddha carved into the side of a cliff at Nihonji Temple in Chiba, Japan

Carving of Hyaku-shaku Kannon, the Buddhist deity of mercy

The famous cliff of Mount Nokogiri jetting into the blue skyline.

Jigoku Nozoki (View of Hell)


At the top of Mount Nokogiri, you will find two of the most iconic sights in Chiba Prefecture: Hyaku-shaku Kannon, the Buddhist deity of mercy, and Jigoku Nozoki, the sawtooth-shaped “lookout over hell”.

The massive carving of Hyaku-shaku Kannon was made over a six year period in the mid-20th century. By Buddhist standards, this is a relatively new construction. The carving is over 30 meters high and is flanked by the sharp remains of a stone quarry.

Jigoku Nozoki is a lookout point from a sharp, vertical cliff edge with views of Chiba’s Boso Peninsula and even Tokyo Bay on a clear day. The stark, unnerving drop-off of Jigoku Nozoki earns this spot the nickname as the “View of Hell”.

Nihonji Temple & Great Buddha Statue

Giant Buddha of Mount Nokogiri

Nihonji Temple is the oldest place of worship in the Kanto Region and was constructed over 1300 years ago. The temple grounds have several different sites of worship, but the central attraction is Yakushi Ruriko Nyorai, the Great Buddha of Mount Nokogiri.

At 31 meters tall, it is one of the largest Buddhas in Japan, even larger than the Kamakura Daibutsu at Kotokuin Temple. Most of the statue was carved in the 18th century and it was built to pray for world peace.

In addition to the giant Buddha statue, there are approximately 500 other smaller statues of deities on the temple grounds.

The Great Buddha statue is awe-inspiring to say the least. The incredible mountain backdrop emphasizes the scale of the statue and the interconnectedness of how humans and nature shape history together. For me, seeing this statue was the highlight of the day.

What To Eat

A hand holding up korokke with tonkatsu sauce drizzled on it against a backdrop of a rural Japanese street.

Korokke (a meat-filled croquette) from a local butcher stand near Hama-Kanaya Station


Only a few restaurant options are available immediately near the base of Mount Nokogiri. However, there are some more choices in the greater surrounding area.

Check out my recommendations of where to eat:

  1. 味はな (ramen)

  2. Café Edomons (coffee shop)

  3. Maruhama (seafood)

  4. Pizza Gonzo (pizza)

  5. Music & Coffee Shop Misaki (coffee shop)

  6. SANGA SOBA&COFFEE STAND (soba)

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