Official

Hiking course from Mt. Gyodo to Mt. Ryogai (Kantō Fureai Trail)

Experience abundant nature and the history of Ashikaga on this hiking course

Hiking course

The 'Rekishi no Machi wo Nozomu Michi', or Hope for a Historical Town Trail in English, is one of the Kanto Fureai Trails and a hiking course recommended for those who want to personally experience the rich nature of Ashikaga. The start point is Mt. Gyodo, located around 20 minutes by bus from Ashikaga Station on the JR Ryomo Line. The trail sees you visit Mt. Gyodo's Joinji Temple, the reclining Buddha, Mt. Ryogai, and Ashikaga Orihime Shrine for a total length of 9km and takes around four hours to walk.

As it's called the Hope for a Historical Town Trail, it leads you around buildings and ruins linked to the history of Ashikaga. It's very popular due to being able to see these sights while hiking. Particularly popular is the Seisantei Pavilion at Mt. Gyodo's Joinji Temple. Seisantei is located on a cliff-like surface on top of a huge stone. To access it, you need to cross Tenko Bridge, which straddles from one huge stone to another. The bridge itself is famous as the motif for Katsushika Hokusai's painting, The "Hanging-cloud Bridge at Mount Gyodo near Ashikaga". It's also famous as a shooting location for movies and is a spot definitely worth visiting.

Mt. Gyodo's Joinji Temple is also known as the "Mt. Koya of Kanto"
Mt. Gyodo's Joinji Temple is also known as the "Mt. Koya of Kanto"

The remains of the mountain castle that stretch from the peak of Mt. Ryogai (standing at 251m) to the ridge and foot of the mountain are also a must-see! These are the ruins of Ashikaga Castle said to have been built sometime between 1068 and 1192 by the first head of the Ashikaga Clan branch family of the Fujiwara Clan, Ashikaga Nariyuki. The castle ceased to have a role after 1590, coinciding with the fall of the 6th generation Akinaga, who became an ally of the Later Hojo Clan. There are no remains of the original castle itself left, but the moat and stone wall give us a sense of what is left of the castle.

An incredible view stretches out beyond the cute reclining Buddha
An incredible view stretches out beyond the cute reclining Buddha

Lastly is the so-called last spurt 2km that stretch from Mt. Ryogai to Ashikaga Orihime Shrine. To hike through these rocky trails, it is advised to not only wear good sneakers, but also long-sleeved clothing, long trousers, and other clothing suited to hiking to avoid injury. The weather in the mountains can change quite quickly, so it is also recommended to take a raincoat with you.

Beware of the steep ups and downs on the trail between Mt. Gyodo and Oiwa Bishamonten!
Beware of the steep ups and downs on the trail between Mt. Gyodo and Oiwa Bishamonten!

This is a hiking course that allows you to experience the historical buildings and ruins of Ashikaga, in addition to wonderful nature and sights. Don't just capture the scenery with your camera, be sure to take in all its beauty with your own eyes, too.

The view from the peak of Mt.Ryogai after having climbed the steep mountain trail is breathtaking
The view from the peak of Mt.Ryogai after having climbed the steep mountain trail is breathtaking

Photos

  • Mt. Gyodo's Joinji Temple is also known as the "Mt. Koya of Kanto"

    Mt. Gyodo's Joinji Temple is also known as the "Mt. Koya of Kanto"

  • An incredible view stretches out beyond the cute reclining Buddha

    An incredible view stretches out beyond the cute reclining Buddha

  • Beware of the steep ups and downs on the trail between Mt. Gyodo and Oiwa Bishamonten!

    Beware of the steep ups and downs on the trail between Mt. Gyodo and Oiwa Bishamonten!

  • The view from the peak of Mt.Ryogai after having climbed the steep mountain trail is breathtaking

    The view from the peak of Mt.Ryogai after having climbed the steep mountain trail is breathtaking

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Details

Address
Tsukiyacho, Ashikaga City, Tochigi (Bus stop: Gyodosan)
Cost
Free entry to the mountain
Access
20 minutes by bus from JR Ashikaga Station on the Ryomo Line.