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Ushibarayama Excursion

Matsuzaki from top of Ushibarayama

The village of Matsuzaki is basically built on a delta built by the Okawa River as it brought soil and rocks from the mountains that surround it. You can walk from south end of the village to the north in 15 to 20 minutes and from the east to the ocean in 10 to 15 minutes so it is very difficult to get lost in it for an extended period of time. 

But getting a bird's eye view of the village helps in getting a better overview of the city as well a chance to see Mt. Fuji which is hidden by hills from inside of Matsuzaki.

The excursion is about 4.5 kilometers in length with the hardest part up a steep path leading from a path found on the right-hand side of the Inashimo Shrine located just across the street from the Itokawa Guest House. 

The path is maintained by the shrine priest but can be quite muddy and slippery after a rain and you may find a walking stick beneficial. Once up at the top walk over to the left and you will find a nice overview of Matsuzaki. 

On your return you will find numerous places of interest which are introduced below,

Hi-Def video showing map of the excursion

Small Video showing map of the excursion

  Ushibarayama Sled Run

Hi-Def video showing the Sled Run

Small video showing the Sled Run

The above video was taken over 4 years ago in  November of 2017 and I haven't seen the sled run since then but at that time it was still a lot of fun! It was well worth the climb up the mountain!

Just make certain that you bring the sleds back up the hill after your final run! And update us about the conditions of the sled run along with some photos!!!

 Matsuzaki Overview Point

 After climbing up the trail from Inashimo Shrine and reaching the top, go to your left and you will find an area where you can get the view above...well almost that is. Up until a few years ago, there was a tower that you could climb to the top of to get a really good view of the village, but when I last visited the area in October 2021, the tower had been taken down. The trees on the hillside tend to hide the buildings and river on the southern part of the town unfortunately now. 

If you are lucky, you will be able to get a view and photo of Mt Fuji which you can see in the above photo.

Yamabushi Trail Tours 

As you leave the top of Ushibarayama, you will see a mountain bike trail on the left side of the gravel road. This mountain bike trail is maintained by a locally owned company called Yamabushi Trail Tours (YTT). 

While this particular trail is short it is free and gives you a good idea of the numerous old trails that have been re-opened by YTT over the past years.

Thanks in large part to the hard work the owner and members of YTT, mountain biking in the Matsuzaki area has become a mecca for many fans across Japan. Although less that 100 kilometers from downtown Tokyo, the area of the western part of the Izu Peninsula was isolated from the rest of Japan due to high rugged mountains and coastline. In fact access to the area was limited by either boat or hiking over the trails until roads began being built in the 1950s. 

Once the roads had been built, the trails were quickly left and soon became overgrown with growth and erosion. Then in the early 2010s, Matsumoto-san began making real his dream of creating mountain bike trails out of these old, neglected, and for the most part forgotten paths that once connected these local villages. 

For more information on the different levels of bike tours, costs, and other services provided by YTT, please visit their website at https://www.yamabushi-trail-tour.com.

Kuwa Factory 

After passing the mountain bike trail the road changes from gravel to pavement. You will arrive at a junction. To return to town, turn left and continue on. Upon reaching the bottom and turning left again you will walk past a small factory like building on your right.

This factory is locally owned and is used to process kuwaba (mulberry leaves) into powder which is used as a health supplement. Kuwa has a long history in the orient as being a plant that contains nutrients and other characteristics that greatly benefits ones health. 

You can find more information about Kuwa, it's cultivation and health benefits at www.kuwa.blog. If you are interested in buying some, there is a small store situated close to Kurara along the river in Matsuzaki. 


The Path of Little Buddha Statues & Spring Water

Unfortunately, I am unable to find the photos I took of these two spots so hang on tight and I'll put them up as soon as I find them....this may take a while..............


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Saturday, 24 February 2024