Taiken Japan

Autumn Leaves 2016

Futagoyama Hiking

Photo: billlushana1 on Flickr

Futagoyama Hiking

Isaac Tait

Within the city limits of Zushi, located mid-way down the Miura Peninsula, is an undeveloped nature preserve with a large network of trails and dirt roads. The area is called Futagoyama Mountains Nature Preserve. The local hiking club, The Futagoyama Mountains Nature Conservation Council, has done a great job working with local residents, users, the government, land owners, civic organizations to keep this area natural and safe to recreate in.

Futagoyama Nature Preserve-Isaac Tait-rice field

Futagoyama Nature Preserve-Isaac Tait-forest

These mountains are relatively untouched and beautiful. The hillsides are blanketed with Japanese Cedar, Japanese Mountain Maple, Hinoki Cypress, and Japanese Beech, as well as giant ferns and even carnivorous pitcher plants!. The area has many natural springs bubbling out of the ground, cascading creeks, pools filled with small fish, and even a few small waterfalls! There are several mountain tops within the park too that offer great views on clear days of Tokyo Bay, Sagami Bay, and Mount Fuji.

Futagoyama Nature Preserve-Isaac Tait-waterfall

Futagoyama Nature Preserve-Isaac Tait-Moritogawa

Futagoyama Nature Preserve-Isaac Tait-二子山

Bring your sturdy boots to hike here as the trails can be very steep, overgrown, and fallen trees often require scrambling to bypass - this is a truly wild area. Some of the trails are wide and well maintained, others require the use of ropes to ascend or descend. Make sure you bring plenty of water, food, and extra clothing too - in case you get caught in a surprise afternoon rainstorm.

Futagoyama Nature Preserve-Isaac Tait-bridge

Futagoyama Nature Preserve-Isaac Tait-ropeway

Be on the look out for Japanese Raccoon Dogs, salamanders, frogs, and land crabs. Wild Boar, Giant Japanese Hornets, and Vipers also inhabit this preserve. While they can be dangerous if provoked, I have yet to come across any on my adventures here.

Futagoyama Nature Preserve-Isaac Tait-flowers

If you are driving the best place to park is at the Nango Kaminoyama Park. There is plenty of parking - just make sure you’re back to your car before the park closes. Closing time is 4:30pm during the off-season and 6:30pm during the summer. Parking is not allowed on the street or at the nearby school. Alternately, you can access the trail from the Higashizushi train station. The easiest trail to reach from the from the Higashizushi train station is located behind the Numama Elementary School. It is a short five-minute walk to the trailhead from the station.

Futagoyama Nature Preserve-Isaac Tait-Cedar

Futagoyama Nature Preserve-Isaac Tait-trail

High resolution PDFs of the trail map can be downloaded hereDo keep in mind that all the trails aren’t shown on this map. If you’re going to explore trails that aren’t on the map it is advisable to pick up a paper map. The easiest kiosk to access is near trail marker 41. The Futagoyama Mountains Nature Conservation does ask for a donation when taking a paper map from the kiosk. Give whatever you feel is fair.

*Please note that the map given there is unofficial. There are official maps made for beginners; but the unofficial map is better for advanced users. If you are a beginner, it is advised to use the official map instead of this one.

While most of the park has cellphone coverage some of the deeper canyons don’t have signal. Make sure you come prepared and leave your itinerary with someone in case you get lost or injured and require assistance.