Autumn leaves will soon be at its peak and if you are looking for some challenging adventure, why not try hiking up Mount Hongu? Straddling the border of Toyokawa, Okazaki and Shinshiro cities, this popular mountain among locals offers a great workout. Although she stands at only 789 meters, it is certainly not for the faint-hearted.
You can take a train or bus to the hiking trail. By train, it is a twenty minute walk from Nagayama station, while a bus can also take you from Toyokawa station to Hongu no Yu bus stop, which will bring you near the start of the hiking trail. A large torii gate of height 4.83 meters welcomes you at the start of the trail.
Similar to Mount Fuji's ten rest stations, there are fifty "posts" here. Imagine repeatedly looking forward to seeing the next one for fifty times! There are some interesting posts to look out for, for example, at the 28th post, there is a rock named "Sun Moon" on which the characters sun and moon is said to be seen on the surface of the rock. At the 42nd post, there is a washbasin which draws water from the ground and flows all year round. Near the top at the 48th post, is a shrine where scholars conducted research in the olden days. The path was steep at times, rocks were sometimes uneven, and occasionally I had to even use my hands for balance. Although the climb was not easy, it was satisfying to reach the top.
There are no shops anywhere along the route nor at the top, so do bring enough food and water for the two hour hike up. At the end of the hike, be rewarded with a soak in Hongu Hot Spring near the foot of the mountain. By the way, there is a sign saying that Mount Fuji can be seen in the distance. Do try to look out for the famous mountain!