Distance: 11.2 km
Elevation change: 736 metres
Highest point: 969 metres
Start: Sawarabi-no-Yu Bus Stop
Finish: Sawarabi-no-Yu Bus Stop
Battling Up The Sengaku Ridge
Slap-bang between Shomaru Station (Seibu Chichibu Line) to the north and Kawai Station (JR Ome Line) to the south, you find the charming Naguri Village 名栗村. Nestled in the footsteps of some overarching mountains, the town provides a distinct contrast to neighbouring Ome City and is the kickoff point for this hike.
Getting to the start of this walk entails taking a bus from Hanno Station 飯能駅 to Sawarabi-no-Yu さわらびの湯 which takes approximately 50 minutes. From the bus stop, look for a sign pointing towards the Arima Dam 有間ダム which steers left over the bridge and onwards towards Naguri Lake 名栗湖 a further 1 km.
From the Arima Dam, you are afforded a good view up through the valley, with only some over-engineered concrete mountainsides to blemish the vista. The walk grips the northern edge of Naguri Lake and passes the iconic Naguri Canoe Aelier a traditional canoe builder which knocks together some rather nifty handmade water vessels. From here, the walk to the Ochiaibashi Bridge and Arima Fishing Place, located near the trailhead takes around 45 minutes. Reaching the river, you can find a sign directing you towards Mount Bonomine 棒ノ峰山 (kanji variants: 棒ノ折嶺、棒ノ嶺).
The walk itself starts with a take-no-prisoners approach as it steeply winds out of the sugi forest leaving you at times feeling a tad exposed. The Sengaku Ridge 仙岳尾根 is mostly well marked, though it doesn’t appear to receive a lot of foot traffic, and is best described as one long goat trail until the upper reaches, where it eventually opens out onto a forestry road. The last section involves a moderately difficult scramble through brush leading to the top ridge and eventually Mt. Makinooyama 槙ノ尾山 (945 m), providing a sheltered lunch spot.
After lunch, it was a further 20 minutes across to Mt. Bonomine 棒ノ峰 (969 m) whose wind-swept top yields generous views towards Niigata and downtown Tokyo. With most of the exposed snow having melted, the area resembled a morass of gooey mud, ready to make a quick reckoning of any boots venturing forth. After cleaning off said debris, we were ready to head down to Gonjiri Pass ゴンジリ峠 where the option exists to head directly back to the Bus Stop or to follow the scenic Shirayazawa Creek, which has carved out an impressive gorge. Choosing the latter made for a pleasant route back to Naguri Lake following The Kanto Fureai Trail 関東ふれあいのみち was somewhat time-consuming due to the precarious snow and ice on the trail.