Take a peek into hell from this sacred saw-shaped mountain.
With a name that literally translates as “Saw Mountain”, Japan’s biggest buddha and a jagged overhang called “Jigoku-Nozoki” or “Peek into Hell”: this is a day trip worth doing.
From Yokohama, a 10-minute bus ride takes you to Kurihama Port, where a ferry runs hourly to the Boso Peninsula, Chiba. After the industrial centres of Tokyo and Yokohama, the arrival into the small town of Futtsu brings a welcome sigh of relief. Palm trees, clear waters and nature abound.
If you pick a clear day, Mount Fuji can be seen looming over Tokyo Bay. If you don’t fancy taking the ferry, you can make the journey completely by train from Tokyo station.
15 minutes walk from the harbour, you can easily find a ropeway to take you to the top of the mountain. This costs 500 yen one way or 930 yen for a return ticket. Anyone who is able (and willing) to hike will be rewarded as the main trail leads you through a thick forest full of wildlife. The view from the summit of Nokogiriyama is also spectacular with panoramic views that showcase the natural beauty of the Boso Peninsula’s ragged coastline.
The grounds of Nihon Dera Temple, the site of the biggest Buddha in Japan, is a 10-minute walk from the top of the ropeway. It costs 600 yen to enter and takes a good 2-3 hours to truly explore all this temple has to offer. Near the entrance you will find two huge stone buddhas carved into the mountainside. The main trail guides you past hundreds of small Arhat statues; some intact, some still sporting injuries from the anti-Buddhist forces in the Meiji era. The grounds end with the 31 meter tall Great Buddha (Daibutsu) towering over the main temple buildings.
A well-kept secret is the tea house, just off of the main temple grounds. Here you can enjoy a traditional Japanese tea ceremony in a small garden directly overlooking the cliffs. A small fee is required (around 500 yen) but after a long day of hiking and taking copious amounts of pictures, you won’t deny how refreshing green tea and sea views can be.