Distance: 6.2 km
Elevation change: 347 metres
Highest point: 497 metres
Start: Nagatoro Station (Chichibu Main Line)
Finish: Nagatoro Station (Chichibu Main Line)
Family Friendly Hike in Nagataro, Saitama
Nagatoro, along with Iwadatami Rocks, is arguably one of the best sightseeing locales in Chichibu, Saitama Prefecture. A relaxing family-friendly hike is up nearby Mount Hodosan, which is easily accessible from Nagatoro Station along the Chichibu Main Line. From the railway station head west for 700 metres along the road heading up to the Hodosan Jinja. Look for a road veering off to the left next to the restrooms. The Hodosan Ropeway terminal building is located a little above the main car park. The Hodosan Ropeway opened in 1959 and walking through the lower terminal building shows much of the décor and amenities looking like they had escaped the passage of time. The Ropeway runs at 30-minute intervals (820 yen round-trip: Daily 09:40-16:30) and hitching a lift up on clear days provides a picturesque backdrop of the Arakawa River and nearby Mount Buko.
From the upper terminal building, it’s a leisurely 10-minute walk to the summit of Mount Hodosan 宝登山 (497 m). In late January to mid-February, the fragrant yellow flowers of the Robai or wintersweet, trees bloom, and similarly in autumn, it’s a popular place to watch the changing Fall colours. While the summit of Mt. Hodosan is hemmed in with tree cover, the upper ropeway station provides good views of the surrounding mountain ranges. When you’re ready to head off, head down the stairs below the upper shrine and turn left and right again before the Small Animal Zoo. The overhead ropeway passes at a couple of points along the access road, allowing for some snapshots of the approaching cable cars.