If you are looking for a good one-day getaway, then hop on the Odakyu line to Isehara Kanagawa prefecture, take a thirty- minute bus ride to the foot of Mt. Oyama, a part of Tanzawa-Oyama Quasi-National Park. Now you have the option of hiking to the top or going halfway up via cable car. The mountain is only 1252 meters or 4108 feet, but do not let this short mountain fool you. It can be quite treacherous going up. First you have the hundreds of steps up from the bus stop to the cable car. They have little signs on the steps encouraging you to continue. You will pass through a small village with lots of vendors selling yummy food, lucky charms, and famous Oyama Tofu.
This area is filled with a lot of history; the first cable car stop is at Oyama-dera Temple, which was established in 755 and the last stop is the Oyama-Afuri-Shimosa Shrine, an auxiliary of the main one at the summit, which is over 2200 years old. Mt Oyama is a holy mountain and farmers have been coming here for centuries to pray for rain to assure good crops. Since the Edo period it has been a traditional pilgrimage for hundreds of thousands of hikers.
Along the trail we passed the 800 year old Meoto-sugi (Husband and Wife Cedar). The roots are joined together and is a symbol of the blessing of children.
They say that the viewpoints all along the trails are great, especially of Mt Fuji and Enoshima Island. However on our hike about two thirds of the way up it became so cloudy that we could not see ten feet in front of us. It looked like the farmers were about to get an answer to their prayers. Although a little disappointed about the views, I was not dissuaded, because I love a challenge and making it to the top was very rewarding. On the way back down, it did start to clear up some.
This was late November and a Monday holiday, which means lots of people had the same idea. When deciding to make this trip I would advise not going on a holiday or a weekend.
Back near the cable car we stopped for some soba and to taste the tofu. Both were excellent and the tofu had a special miso flavor.
When we finished our meal and stepped outside, the sun was bright and I was able to take some pictures of the scenery below. This is an excellent getaway with good exercise, and spiritual history.