Sayo-no-Nakayama is noted for one of the three difficult passes of Tokaido Road. The trail starts from the northen edge of kikugawa town. There is a narrow paved road that leads to Sayo-no-Nakayama, hill about 250meters above sea level.(Photo#1) When you start climbing there is a folk. Take the right road to get to the hilltop. After the folk you will face a number of tough climbs.
After finshing the climb to hilltop there is a parking space and a temple. Inside the temple(Photo #2) you will see the round rock which is said to be a Night-weeping stone described in Hiroshige's Tokaido ukiyoe paintings. About 50 meters from the temple there is a park on the left and on the right side an old shop, Ogiya(Photo#3), known for selling syrup used for nursing a motherless baby according to Night-weeping stone legend.
Near the Ogiya there is a small galley museum, Yumeakari(Photo #4), that displays Ukiyoe paintings of Tokaido Road and you can also enjoy the view exactly like what Hiroshige described in his works on Nissaka from the balcony.
Nissaka area is about one hour hill walk from there.
After two and a half hours walk from JR Kanaya station, you will get to Nissaka-shuku, twenty-fifth lodging station of Tokaido road. Nissaka now is a very quiet old town, and some of the old houses are open to public and are free of charge. The biggest draw of this place is Kawasakaya one of the inns for both samurai warriors and ordinary travelers. It is well-known to have rooms with calligraphy writings. Kawasakaya also has a nice tea room. Also popular site is the reconstructured kosatsu, or official bulletin board for various kinds of official notices.
About 10 minutes from Kawasakaya you will find a nice shrine. It is Kotonomama Hachimangu Shrine. Kotonomama is literally "as you wish" . This shrine is believed to grant wishes of any kind and even refered to old litarally works such as Pillow Book by Seishonagon and Tokaidochu Hizakurige by Juppenja Ikku. This shrine is often either a starting point or a goal of the Sayo-No-Nakayama trail between Nissaka and Kanaya.
Kanaya Slope is 430-meter-long stone pavement reconstructed so that the Tokaido hikers would not get slipped. Despite its claim that it is not slippable it may not be good on rainy days. And it is not easy to get yourself oriented because your feet with oridinary shoes are not used to this unstable climb. Having said that, Suberazu Jizo is nicely positioned to have a brief stop along the slope.
JR Kanaya Station of JR Tokaido Line is two stops east of JR Kakegawa station where Shinkansen Super Express(Kodama only) stops. From this station Oigawa Line known for locomotive cars starts. About 75 minutes to Senzu Station. To get to Kanaya Slope, after getting off the train and off at the north gate, get down to the paved road and turn right. After about 100 meters down the slope there's a narrow paved road going under the railway. After the short tunnel under the railway, turn right again and climb the mild slope up to the route 473.
From Kotonomama Hachimangu Shrine to Kakegawa downtown(my goal of the hike that day was Otemon Gate of Kakegawa Castle), it takes about two hours. I personally do not recommend this segment unless you are a perfectionist. It is truly boring paved trail and there's no so much eye-catching things to see. Take a bus from Hachimangu bus stop and go back to Kakegawa and save time to see more things in downtown Kakegawa. For the record of my journey I will set up travelogue page for details for Tokaido hike from Kanaya to Kakegawa.
Photo#2 is Shioi Shrine, as the photo shows you have to cross narrow wooden bridge to get to the shrine. Photo#3 is a roadsign to the Fukuten Gongen enshrined in Ryu'Unji Temple in Kikugawa. Fukuten Gongen is said to be a tengu that grants travelers' wishes and attracted huge number of believers along the Tokaido trails. Photo#4 is a part of seven-turn. It is a kind of masugata (right-angle turn) often seen in historical towns. Photo#5 is a tomb of Gijsbert Hemmij who was the chief officer for Dutch East India Company who passed away in Kakegawa in 1798.
Ocha No Sato is one of the most popular tea-related facilities in Shizuoka. It is located at the northeastern edge of Makinohara Plateau with huge area of tea plantation. You can have general idea of what the Japanese tea is by visiting the museum showcasing various types of tea around the world. And you can experience tea ceremony at tea house. Outside the tea house lies a Japanese garden based upon Sendo Gosho garden designed by Enshu Kobori, well known tea master and artist during late 16th and early 17th century.
Kikugawa Slope is stone-paved trail starting from Makinohara Hill area to Kikugawa area, about 700 meters in length. Just like Kanaya Slope this stone-paved path was restored recently. After climbng down the pavement, you will go through Kikugawa town, which used to serve as an in-between stop.
Basho traveled from Edo( Tokyo) to wetern part of Japan from 1684 to 1685. The poem inscribed in the stone monument at Chokoji, in Kanaya expressed his surprise to find his horse having eaten rose of Sharon along the trail.
Makinohara Park is located at the Northeastern corner of Makinohara Plateau, known by the huge tea plantation. The park is about 200 meters above sea level, and you can see the mountains nearby and even Mt. Fuji on the clear day! This park is particularly popular for night views. In this park there is the statue of a zen priest Eisai who brought tea seeds from China during late 12th century.
Although there is no keep or yagura structures remain, this castle ruins was designated as one of the National Historical Sites in Japan. It was built by Katsuyori Takeda, son of Shingen Takeda one of the prominent feudal lords during late 16th century civil war era Japan. Thanks in part being left in the remote forest area, the Takeda styled castle compartments featuring extensive dry moat structures remain intact. It takes about one hour just to see the main features of this castle ruins.
In fact most tourists start the train ride from this station about 1 kilometer away from JR Kanaya station. It is this station tour buses drop you off. This station has large parking space as well as a number of souvenir shops, and small locomotive museum. It is also not far from Tokaido road and some Tokaido trail walkers may stop for a while for finding some souvenirs or get a photo of locomotive train or old train cars.
As I may have said in other tips, jizo or earth-womb Bodhisattva originally meant for deceased souls so that they may not get tormented by the pains during after-life journey. But jizo gradually got the role of salvation for living souls. People nowadays pray for jizo for even the success in academic achievement! Suberazu Jizo at the Kanaya Slope was built so that the travelers climbing at the Kanaya slope may not get slipped. Today this jizo is popular for students who are taking entrance exams. Japanese word "Suberu(Slip)" also has the meaning for "fail". Students pray for this jizo so that they may not "slip or fail" for the coming exams. Does Jizo really work for those who are facing the "Examination Hell"?
Then how can I find Mt. Fuji? Then please see the first photo carefully. Mt. Fuji lies between cony capped peak and little twin peaked mountain. Second photo is another easy-to-find mountain Mt. Bodai, 690m. Third photo is the landmark in Yaizu, Kokuzosan and Shofukaku. Kokuzosan is daruma-shaped mountain and Shofukau is the large hotel between two small mountains, Kokuzosan and another peak. Shofukau is a very large hotel often used for wedding ceremonies and reunion parties.
It is tough to see Mt. Fuji in July, but you can see the mountains nearby from Makinohara Park.
First photo is Mt. Takayama(561m) easiest to find. The second photo is Mt. Chiba(497m) religious mountain. The third one is Mt. Takakusa(501m) a popular hiking destination. The next, left hand direction from the river, Mt. Hakko(832m) and the last, Mt. Futago(436m) located near the border of Fujieda and Shimada. All of the mountains have hiking trails to the mountaintop. I hope I can introduce the hiking trip to them someday.