- 3 min read

"Aoba no Mori" Hiking Trail

An accessible and beautiful hiking trail in Sendai

Aside from work, there’s only one other reason why I ever get out of bed early in the morning: Mother Nature.

Japan. New camera. Autumn. I’m in heaven and it’s time to roll.

I recently had the luck of learning about some new trails snaking around the western Aobayama section of Sendai City and came to love the easy access and solitude. The mountains have become my Zen, my happy place where I let my hair down and howl at the moon, stripping myself naked of the trappings of society and channeling my inner caveman. Nothing to worry about except how best to enjoy the great outdoors that Mother Nature provides us.

The adventure today starts at Kawauchi station on the Tozai subway line. A 20-minute powerwalk through the sleepiest section of town later, and I’m at the eastern trailhead. Onwards and upwards! A demonic stairway glowers at me from above and my beer belly tries to convince me to turn around right away, but there are no brakes on the Tyler train today. Though the sun remains hidden this far downhill, a brilliant inferno of autumn leaves scorches the tree branches above me. Cradling my new Sony camera in my arms, I carefully snap a few photos while catching my breath. I still need a bit of experience to snap better photos, but even an amateur can get good shots here.

These trails and I have become fast friends since last spring. I must have trekked along them 20 times by now. Each outing, each day offers a new bounty of discoveries to be made. Sights. Sounds. Smells. A million small lives that no one pays any attention clamor for your attention here. These hills are alive.

Progress is slow today as I soak it all in, say hello to local bamboo shoots, become humbled by towering watchful pine trees, roll around on carpets of leaves, and be surprised by a cosplay photoshoot in the middle of all this natural majesty. Japan. Go figure. But that’s just one more reason why I love it here. Hands on the clock whirl around as I lose myself further in paradise. My joy is brought to a sudden halt by the waning sunlight fighting against the high hills. Time to go home. Back to normal human life for the time being, but there’s always next weekend!

But I rest easy that night, sore as my lumpy body may be. I can be sure that just as the sun will rise in the morrow that the mountain’s scenery will be waiting for me the next time I visit. Different, though made all the more beautiful thanks to changes that time will bring, the cycles that ebb and flow. That land has surely brought joy to those who came before me and will continue to delight even more after I am gone. Just wait for the dawn. "Aoba no Mori", the "Fresh Leaves Forest" calls me.

Getting there

The easiest way to reach the "Aboba no Mori" nature park is to take the Sendai Tozai Subway Line east to Aobayama. Station. From there, you'll head west along the main road through the Tohoku University Campus until you come across a sharp turn to the left that goes downhill. After another few hundred meters is the Visitors's Center.

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