Worshipped as a god, Mt. Tsurugi in Shikoku is a majestic and verdant mountain that offers a gentle ascent for hikers and outdoor enthusiasts. This iconic peak is the second highest mountain in western japan and is ranked among Japan’s 100 Famous Mountains. It is a popular destination for both short trips to the summit and longer ridge hikes to neighboring mountains.
Mt. Tsurugi, which means “sword mountain” in Japanese, is located in the heart of Tokushima Prefecture. The mountain gets its name from the gently sloping shape of its summit, which resembles the curve of a traditional sword. This unique feature has made it a symbol of spiritual and physical strength, attracting visitors from all over Japan.
The mountain holds great significance for practitioners of Shugendo, an esoteric Japanese religion that combines elements of Shintoism and Buddhism. Shugendo ascetics often make pilgrimages to Mt. Tsurugi to engage in mountain worship and seek spiritual enlightenment. The echoing sound of a conch shell being blown by a practitioner adds to the mystical atmosphere of the mountain.
To reach Mt. Tsurugi, visitors can take an express bus from major cities on the main island of Honshu to Tokushima Station. From there, the easiest way to access the mountain is by renting a car, as public transport options are limited. However, for those who prefer public transportation, there is a bus service from Awa Ikeda Station to Kubo, where you can transfer to another bus bound for Mi-no-Koshi. The final bus stop is located near the lower chairlift station. It’s important to note that the bus operates only on weekends and holidays between April and November.
The hiking season on Mt. Tsurugi begins in April when the mountain opens to climbers. For those who are not keen on hiking, there is a single-seat chairlift that takes visitors to a spot just a 30-minute walk away from the summit. At the top, you will find a shrine and mountain huts where you can rest and enjoy the breathtaking views. On clear days, you can see the Pacific Ocean, Seto Inland Sea, and even the Kii Peninsula on the main island of Honshu.
For those looking for more adventure, Mt. Tsurugi is just the starting point. The mountain is connected to a network of ridge trails that lead to neighboring peaks such as Jirogyu, Miune, and Tenguzuka. These trails offer stunning views of the surrounding landscape and provide opportunities for longer hikes and exploration.
After exploring Mt. Tsurugi, visitors can continue their journey to the Iya Valley, located at the eastern end of Tokushima Prefecture. The Iya Valley is known for its remote and picturesque landscapes, hot springs, and rustic vine bridges. Combining a visit to Mt. Tsurugi with a trip to the Iya Valley is a perfect way to experience the natural beauty and cultural heritage of this region.
In conclusion, Mt. Tsurugi is a must-visit destination for nature lovers and outdoor enthusiasts. Its status as the second highest mountain in western Japan, its spiritual significance, and its breathtaking vistas make it a truly remarkable place. Whether you choose to hike to the summit or take a ride on the chairlift, Mt. Tsurugi offers an unforgettable experience that will leave you in awe of the natural wonders of Japan. So pack your bags, put on your hiking boots, and get ready to embark on an adventure to Mt. Tsurugi in Tokushima Prefecture.
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