Tuesday 17 November 2015

Nihondaira and the 1,159 steps of the Kunozan Toshogu Shrine - Shizuoka part 4

This is the 4th and final post about a recent trip to Shizuoka.  You can find part 1 here, part 2 here and part 3 here .

Morning on the final day of the trip to Shizuoka was loudly announced by my alarm.  Luckily the check-out time was a very generous 11am so we didn't have to rush.  Breakfast was another bowl of ramen at Ichiran before heading back to speak to the lovely ladies at the tourist information office.  Our plan for the day was to head to Nihondaira which is a scenic sport that overlooks the port city of Shimizu (an on a clear day you can get a good view of Mount Fuji) and then to catch a ropeway across to Kunozan Toshogu Shrine which was the original resting place of the great Ieyasu Tokugawa after he died.  His body was later transported to his current resting place at the Nikko Toshogu Shrine.

The ladies told us which bus we needed to catch and where to find it and we set about waiting for the bus to come.  As we were sitting there something on the bus information sheet caught my eye.  It stated that if you approach the Shrine from the other direction there are 1,159 steps to climb to reach the top......  Well that changed everything!!  We went back to the tourist office ladies and asked which bus to catch to go to our new starting point.  Armed with this information we walked to the other side of the train station to the new bus stop and pretty soon we were on our way.  We had to change buses once but about 25 minutes later we were there.

This was our goal for the day.....

Soon we were at the bottom of the steps.

It looked daunting and intimidating.  As we stood there looking up at it, an 80ish year old lady walked past us coming down the steps.  It dawned on us that she must have climbed the steps to be able to come back down them....... That was all of the motivation we needed and we took our first steps up.

The start was quite gentle, but a look up to our left showed us what was still to come.


and up

and up we went.

We stopped halfway for a brief break and took some time to admire the view.

The break was all too brief and Tetsuya was soon cracking his whip.  "Don't worry, it's not too much further" we were reassuringly told by a guy on his way back down.  He was right, and before we knew it we had reached the top!

A glance back down showed what we had just been through.

That's as many switchbacks as a mountain climb in the Tour De France!  My legs were burning just as if I had climbed the Alp d'huez!!  It was time for a drink and a pause to enjoy the view.

We passed by the shrine without going in.  To enter the Shrine it costs 500 yen or 800 yen if you want to have a look around their museum.  My legs, however, were feeling each of the 1,159 steps, so we got straight onto the ropeway and headed over to Nihondaira.  It was about a 5 minute ride and the views are spectacular.

We reached Nihondaira and walked over to the lookout point and were greeted with a scenic view out over Shimizu and it's port. 

Unfortunately the skies were not clear enough for us to be able to see Mount Fuji clearly.  Oh well, another reason to make another trip back to Shizuoka in the future!

We were now getting later into the afternoon and we decided to make our way back to Shizuoka for the trip back to Tokyo.  Waiting at the station for our train to arrive, I started to hear, ever so faint, a high pitched whine.  As I got my camera out, it started getting louder and louder and closer and closer.  Have you ever wanted to know what a bullet train looks like from the train platform?  A little like this!

Pretty soon our bullet train arrived at a much more leisurely pace and a little over an hour later we were back in Tokyo.

Well, that does it for another trip.  I hope you enjoyed reading that series of posts.  I sure brought back some good memories, and some incredible ones too.  The highlight was definitely Meiji Tunnel and walking along the old Tokaido!  That will remain fresh in my mind for a long time.

Thanks again for reading.  Leave a comment below if you enjoyed reading and enter your email address in the subscription box on the right side of the blog to receive an email notification whenever I upload another post.  Until next time, bye.


  1. Well Jason ,you have done it again( a la Mr.Magoo).Given us the journey of a life time.I f you want another gut buster,check out Konpira san...on the island of Shikoku.I spent a day on the island and the udon is said to be the best in Nihon.Sanuki Noodles.There seem to be Udon ya wherever you go.Before to get to the steps,that seem to go on forever until the main shrine..and that is about half the journey,you will come across a street of shops.I remember buying chestnuts there.From what I have read about Shikoku,it is place you could easily spend a couple of weeks wandering around.Looking forward to see who the Dons recruit next week!Dewa Mata , Noel.

    1. Hi Noel,
      thanks, I'm happy that you enjoyed it!
      I just had a look at Konpira-san. That has even more steps! Over 2,000!! I'd better start training!
      Yes, hoping the Bombers pick up some good talent. We should, we have enough high draft picks.
      How is the buzz in Adelaide with the day / night Test match coming up? I see the players are not too sure of it yet!
      Take care,

    2. The expectations are high for a big crowd, according to the publicity.The use of the pink ball is said to help the spinners,as the seam is hard to see.Adelaide oval generally provides excellent conditions for both bat and ball,so I expect we will see some good scores.You may have read they are constructing a walk on top of the stands as a tourist attraction,which will give people a fantastic view of the city etc.Something perhaps you could do,when next back in the land of the crows.All the best Jason!

  2. Hi Jason,
    Thank you for an another interesting post, and congratulations!
    I easily followed your experience with much fun.
    When I reached the top of the shrine with reading I felt like as if I also have muscle soreness on my legs!
    Well we should have a 1000mL isotonic drink with not only vitamin C but also protein to ease.

    The photos of bullet trains are very cool! They seem run at the speed of light.
    I hope you can see Mt.Fuji next time in Shizuoka or Yamanashi trip. Snow covered Mt.Fuji should be really beautiful. During the summer it's also impressive though.
    Take care,

    1. Hi Moto,
      thanks for your comment!
      You are right, a proper sports drink would have been better!
      I visited Kawaguchi-ko last year in December and Fuji had some snow, and you are right, it is very beautiful. In fact, I have decided that I don't want to climb Mount Fuji because I want to maintain that image of it!
      Thanks for reading and take care.