- 3 min read


Climbing the mountain on Gogoshima Island

Gogoshima is the island that sits nearest the coastline of Matsuyama in the Seto Inland Sea. The mountain at the southern end of the island is Kofujiyama (little Mt. Fuji), and it dominates Matsuyama’s view of the Inland Sea. But whoever named it displayed a stunning lack of originality, imagination, and good eyesight, because the mountain looks nothing like the famous Mt. Fuji. Ferries ply regularly between Takahama port in Matsuyama and Tomari port on Gogoshima. The ferry trip to takes only about 15 minutes, so it’s a trivial matter to hop over to the island and climb Kofujiyama.

To get there, take the ferry to Tomari. In front of the jetty is a barber’s shop. Follow the road to the left of the barber’s and immediately turn right up the alley. The route up the mountain is marked with signs bordered in red. Go up the concrete steps between the old houses. The houses and gardens perched on the slope are themselves quite interesting. Note the thorny twigs fixed above the doorways. The path soon enters a mikan orange orchard. I went up the mountain in early May when the scent of mikan flowers filled the air and large black and turquoise butterflies flitted about pollinating the trees. The song of many varieties of birds was punctuated by the cawing of crows and the trumpeting cry of a pheasant.

After crossing a road through though the orchard, look for the rustic painted wooden sign. Turn left here and follow the irrigation pipes embedded in the path. The track soon peels off up the hill through a tunnel of trees. Here I met a couple who had lost their way and given up, but the path is easy enough to find.

The track doglegs steeply with occasional stone steps. In the warm months, the trees put forth lush greenery and creepers. On the path I saw various lizards and snakes, which made me careful of where I put my feet. Fallen leaves make the track quite slippery, so caution is required especially on the way down. Sensible shoes are a must—I wore sports sandals which quickly filled with twigs and little stones, but they were adequate to the task.

At the top of the mountain is a bamboo forest, an unremarkable shrine, and a shipping light. Although there are good views to the front and back of the island, the tall trees somewhat obscure the view to the sides. If you’re tempted to climb the light for the view, I have it on good authority that it sways sickeningly and there’s no view anyway.

The walk took me about an hour and a half. There’s no route down on the other side, so you go down the way you went up. The views are not as good as from some other mountains in Matsuyama, but it’s a pleasant climb nonetheless. Take plenty to drink even if it isn’t very hot, and make sure you have enough clothing to protect you from the sun and wind.

Was this article helpful?
Help us improve the site
Give Feedback

Leave a comment

Thank you for your support!

Your feedback has been sent.