Distance: 14.7 km
Elevation change: 577 metres
Highest point: 969 metres
Start: Kawai Station (Ome Line)
Finish: Kawai Station (Ome Line)
Mt. Bonomine Revisited: A Southerly Approach
This hike once again tackles Mt. Bonomine 棒ノ峰山 though this time from a southerly approach. The advantage of taking this particular route is twofold: first, the hike can be undertaken without the need for an extended bus trip, unlike the hike from Lake Naguri. Secondly, the hike is noticeably easier than using the rather arduous Sengaku Ridge 仙岳尾根 as described here in a previous blog post.
Reaching the trailhead can be met by catching a bus from Kawai Station 川井駅 one stop from Mitake station on the JR Ome Line. On weekend mornings three buses head all the way to Seitobashi 清東橋 (16 mins, 260 yen) which is nearest to the start of the hike click here. The other option involves walking the 4.7 kilometres along Route 202, which takes around 90 minutes. Having miss timed my departure, I succumbed to the latter option, which provided the chance to shadow the scenic Otabagawa River 大丹波川 and watch local fishermen indulging in their favourite pastime. The trailhead commences by walking 10 minutes from the Seitobashi bus stop adjacent to the Okujaya Campsite 奥茶屋キャンプ場. From here, a small footbridge crosses the river, with signs pointing towards Mt. Bonomine 棒ノ峰山 and Mt. Kuroyama 黒山.
The first thing to notice is the secluded Japanese radish, or wasabi 山葵 fields nestled in the pristine waters of the valley steps. From the outset, the hike is rather steep, though it soon reverts to endless switchbacks, which at least lessen the burden on your legs, and in a little over an hour you should be nearing the summit. Being early summer, the view from Mt. Bonomine (969 m) was regrettably shrouded in mist, with only the briefest glimpse of Lake Naguri coming into view. After a short lunch break, the next point of call was Mt. Kuroyama. In contrast, the walk across to Mt. Kuroyama (842 m) is much less taxing, taking 30 minutes from Mt. Bonomine. Though Mt. Kuroyama is hemmed in by trees, it makes for a pleasant rest stop with some benches to rest weary feet. Onwards from Mt. Kuroyama, you come across Nasaka Pass 名坂峠 a trail junction for heading to Mitake Station or shortcutting back to Route 202.
Just after commencing Nasaka Pass, I suffered an almost ignominious end as I lost my footing on the near-eroded path. Luckily, my slip was impeded by a nearby tree stump, as the consequences could have been more severe. On secondary inspection, a handwritten notation below the sign alludes to the impending hazard. This trail eventually meets up again with Route 202 after about 30 minutes, where you can retrace your steps back to Kawai Station. Other than recommending taking the bus to the trailhead, this less ventured hike provides a chance to climb a prominent ridge line dividing Tokyo and Saitama prefectures.