Mt. Himetsugi in Sagamihara City, Kanagawa Prefecture is a mountain with an altitude of 1433 m above sea level. This mountain is on the route of Tokai Shizen Hodo (the Tokai Nature Path) and is the highest peak on the trail from Aonohara in Tsukui-cho through the mountains of Yakeyama and Kibigarayama to Inukoe Pass.
It is said that the name “Hime-tsugi” is derived from the story that once upon a time a daughter of a samurai, Oyamade Hachizaemon, who had fought on the Takeda forces and was defeated in the Battle of Tenmokusan, escaped from the soldiers of the Nobunaga and Ieyasu’s forces and committed suicide by stabbing a dagger into the throat in this mountain. Since then people called this mountain “Hime-tsuki (literally meaning “stabbing of a highborn girl”), which has been corrupted into “Himetsugi.”
The summit of Mt. Himetsugi has a bright and refreshing atmosphere, where you can command a fine view of Mt. Fuji and Lake Miyagase. The larch forest of this mountain is selected as one of Kanagawa’s 50 Excellent Forests. It provides hikers with fresh green in spring through summer and crimson foliage in fall.
Mt. Hinokiboramaru with an altitude of 1601 m is on the border of Tsukui-cho in Sagamihara City and Yamakita-cho in Ashigara-Kami-gun in Kanagawa Prefecture. It is the second highest peak in the Tanzawa Mountains after 1673 m Mt. Hirugatake. Though located in the center of the deepest mountains in the western part of the Tanzawa Mountains, a finely arranged mountain trail is provided and there are no such places as you might loose your way or get into trouble.
The name “Hinokiboramaru” comes from the stream named “Hinokibora,” a feeder stream of the Kurokura River, which flows out of this mountain down to the south.
The area near the top of the mountain is the virgin forest of beech trees. The contrast between greenish yellow young leaves and the trunks with white spots is very beautiful. The beech forest is selected as one of Kanagawa’s 50 Excellent Forests. On the south side of the mountain is the colony of Shiroyashio-tsutsuji (Rhododendron quinquefolium). At the end of May every year, the mountain is jammed with people who come to enjoy viewing these cute flowers. Mt. Hinokiboramaru is one of the most popular mountains in the Tanzawa Mountains.
Mt. Hirugatake with an altitude of 1673 m is on the border of Sagamihara City and Yamakita-cho in Ashigara-Kami-gun in Kanagawa Prefecture. It is the highest peak not only in the Tanzawa Mountains but also in Kanagawa Prefecture. The mountain is a part of Tanzawa-Oyama Quasi-National Park.
In the old times, the statues of Yakushi Nyorai, Birushana-butsu (Rushana Buddha) and Hakkai-san Okami (the god of Mt. Hakkai) were placed at the top of this mountain, which was called “Yakushi-dake” or “Biru-ga-take.” The name “Hiru-ga-take” is said to be the corrupted form of “Biru-ga-take (meaning “the mountain of Rushana Buddha).” There is another story, however, that as there are a lot of leeches (“hiru” in Japanese), it was named “Hiru-ga-take.”
It takes a lot of time and strength from Okura, the starting point for a climb, but once you reach the summit, you will be rewarded with a panoramic view of Mt. Fuji, the South Alps, Mt. Yatsugatake and Oku-Chichibu mountains.
Mt. Tanzawa with an altitude of 1567 m is on the border of Sagamihara City, Kiyokawa-mura in Aiko-gun and Yamakita-cho in Ashigara-Kami-gun in Kanagawa Prefecture. It is a part of the Tanzawa Shumyaku (the great ridge) and a part of Tanzawa-Oyama Quasi-National Park. Being close to Tokyo metropolitan area, Mt. Tanzawa is thronged with hikers all through the year.
It is said that “Mt. Tanzawa” on the list of “Japan’s 100 Fine Mountains” includes not only Mt. Tanzawa but also other mountains rising in the central part of the Tanzawa mountain range, which used to be generically called “Tanzawa-san.” However, in the Meiji period (1868-1912), when a land survey was conducted, the triangulation point was placed at this mountain peak and the mountain was tentatively named Mt. Tanzawa. In time, people began to call this mountain alone “Mt. Tanzawa.”
The mountain is covered with the flowers of Yamazakura (Prunus jamasakura), Mitsuba-tsutsuji (Rhododendron dilatatum), Yamatsutsuji (Rhododendrom obtusum) and Shiroyashio (Rhododendron quinquefolium) in spring, Gakuutsugi (Hydrangea scandens), Japanese dogwood, Kobaikeisou (Veratrum stamineum), Yamayuri (Lilium auratumand) and lespedeza in the early summer, and autumn leaves in fall.
Inukoeji located in Yamakita-cho, Ashigara-Kami-gun, Kanagawa Prefecture, is a mountain pass at an altitude of 1,050 m. This scenic spot has provided a comfort stop for trekkers since old times.
In the Warring States period (1493-1573), Takeda Shingen in Kai province (present-day Yamanashi Prefecture) extended powers over the area around Tanzawa Mountains. The name of this pass, Inu-koe-ji, meaning “the path that dogs go over” is derived from the legend pertaining to their attacks on the Hojo clan in Odawara. Legend has it that whenever the Takeda forces headed for Odawara, they took this trail with their army dogs leading the steep and dangerous way.
You can command a panoramic view of the west part of Tanzawa Mountains and Mt. Fuji from Inukoeji Pass, which is selected one of the Kanagawa 50 Scenic Places. This tranquil mountain pass is a resting spot for the hikers climbing Mt. Hinokiboramaru and Mt. Omuroyama. Wonderful autumn foliage can be enjoyed in fall.
The Hayato Otaki Waterfall with the height of 50 m is in the upstream of the Hayato River in Tukui-cho Toya, Sagamihara City, Kanagawa Prefecture. The Hayato River, which springs out of the northeastern part of Tanzawa Mountains, collects water in the mountains of Hirugatake (1673 m) through Tanzawa Mitsumine and flows down into Lake Miyagase.
Though the waterfall is selected as one of Japan’s 100 fine Waterfalls, it is not known to people living in the areas even around Tokyo. As the waterfall is composed of the two parts; the 40 m upper fall and the 10 m lower fall, and a huge rock is protruding in the midst of the upper fall, the whole part of the waterfall cannot be seen. Also there is no arranged trail leading to the waterfall, so it is very hard to get close to it. For these reasons, the Hayato Waterfall is called “the Visionary Waterfall,” which is rarely visited by people.
Kounji Temple located in Tsukui-cho, Sagamihara City, Kanagawa Prefecture, is a temple of the Soto sect. In 1408, a small hermitage named “Koun-an” was founded in a village of Oi (present-day Tsukui-cho Oi) behind Tsukui Castle (present-day Tsukuiko-Shiroyama Prefectural Park). Later in the Warring States period (1493-1573), Naito Kagesada, the castellan of Tsukui Castle, relocated it to the present place and built the temple. In the Edo period (1603-1868), Kounji Temple was a sub-branch temple of Soneiji Temple, which was appointed as the registrar (Kanto Sorokushi) and the head of the three head administrative temples (Kan-Sansatsu) of the Soto sect in the Kanto region. The temple was so flourished as to be feoffed with the land of 50 koku of rice and the Main Hall, Kaizando Hall, Hakusando Hall and the bell tower stood in the large precinct.
In back of the Main Hall are Muhoto pagodas (priests’ tombs) with Hokyointo (three-tiered stupa pagoda) in the center, which is supposed to be the tomb of Kagesada and his wife. The pagodas are surrounded with the toms of the family of Moriya Sadaiyu, the local governor, Baba Sado, the castle substitute, and Shimazaki Norinao, a former retainer and Sodai-Nanushi (the officer delegating nearby villages) of Tsukui area. Kagesada’s tomb is designated as a Cultural Property of the town.
Nakano Shrine is located in Nakano, Tsukui-cho, Sagamihara City, Kanagawa Prefecture. The enshrined deities are Mihosusumi no Mikoto, Toyoukehime no Mikoto and Takuhata Chijime no Mikoto. It is said that the shrine was founded in 835 and restored in 1571. The main hall is made of Japanese cypress wood and decorated with relief carvings. The shrine is known for its annual festival with a history of 300 years, which is held on the 4th weekend of July every year. In this festival, six floats march in the town with a portable shrine. The competition of the floats carrying Oayashi musicians on the stages is very powerful. On New Year’s Day, visitors can experience “Chinowa Kuguri,” in which sins and dirtiness are expelled by walking through a large ring made of thatch. Though old, Nakano Shrine is still visited by a lot of local worshippers today.