Having done all three of Kamakura’s famous hikes, I was pleased to learn about the existence of the Kinubariyama Hiking Course. Whilst the Daibutsu, Tenen, and Gionyama Hikes are well-publicized, there is a curious lack of readily available information for this hike, meaning that most people have probably never heard about it.
Interestingly, this short course can technically be completed within thirty minutes, however, because it ends within the middle of a residential area far from the nearest station the actual total walking time will take about two hours from start to finish.
As well as boasting some excellent panoramic views of Sagami Bay this hike has many other interesting cultural gems like the picturesque Hosshoji Temple.
From the bus stop walk past Sugimoto Temple on your left and cross over the main road where you’ll see a bridge that passes over a small river. After crossing this bridge, follow the small road that runs parallel to the river before entering a residential area.
Several minutes later you’ll reach a ‘cross junction’ with numerous signposts pointing in every direction. The one which you need is the only sign not written in English; located at the very bottom! Fortunately, all you need to do is walk straight ahead and follow the same road where the trailhead is less than 10 minutes away.
To Mount Kinubariyama
With a small forest entrance marking the start to this hike, it’s a short walk up a large hill which despite only being about 100 meters in height is referred to as Mount Kinubariyama. On clear days you’ll be able to get some truly amazing views of Sagami Bay and Mount Fuji, something which I was fortunate enough to be able to see on this occasion!
Once you’ve admired the great scenery, the hiking trail will then continue on to another viewpoint called Asama-Yama, containing several small ‘Jizo’ statues before descending down a narrow forest path that leads out into a small park next to an adjoining residential area.
Technically speaking, this point marks the official end of the Kinubariyama Hiking course. However, there is still well over an hour of this walk left. To continue on, follow the winding path in front called Panorama-Dai that has some impressive views of Mount Fuji.
Towards the end of this path, the trail will then lead into a small park called Kodomo-no-mori, (こどもの森). As you pass through here, several small Jizo and Inari (fox statues) will appear in front of you before the path reaches a small ‘Y’ junction.
Towards Hosshoji Temple
From this point, follow the signs initially for Nagao Kiridoshi where the trail will pass through another section of forest before reaching some interesting caves which make up the impressive Nagao Kiridoshi; (an artificial valley created by cutting a passageway through a mountain ridge).
At some points, it can become a little difficult to follow this hike as the trail isn’t very clearly defined, however with some patience you should be able to find your way through! After navigating this section you should reach some more caves where Hosshoji Temple is a short distance away.
As you approach this pleasant temple you will notice a five-story pagoda and some other small monuments situated on a hill above. The path leading away from here will then merge into a larger road, descending down a winding hill until reaching the official front gate to this temple.
Directly in front of this large gate is a railway crossing with a main road running parallel to these tracks. Cross these tracks and turn left, following the main road for a couple of minutes before reaching a bus stop where Bus #30 will whisk you back to Kamakura Station. If like me, however, you don’t feel like paying the bus fare, it’s an easy 20-minute walk to Zushi Station along the same road.
As I approached the platform, a long line of commuters waiting patiently for the next train presented a stark contrast to the last couple hours of seclusion which I had been blessed with. This was all thanks to the Kinubariyama Hiking Course!