Rockclimbing in Japan: Shounin Rocks
The Shounin Iwa (聖人岩) rockclimbing area is one of Japan's famous limestone rock climbing places near Tokyo. It has around 20 routes for rope climbing which are good any climbers from beginner to advanced. The routes start from 5.9 to 5.13a on the Japanese Route Grade. Rock climbing in the Shounin area started way back in the autumn of 1991 and was pioneered by Kojiro Kojima, Toshio Konomi, and Takeshi Ichikawa. The rock has a height of 10 to 20 meters high and extends up to 70 to 80 meters in width.
The video below shows one of the famous routes in the area. The grade was actually 5.11b and was upgraded to 5.11c after an evaluation in 2017.
Route name: Kuroyama-sanka 5.11c
The small village is famous not only for rock climbing but also for hiking to the Kuroyama Santaki, or the Three Waterfalls of Kuroyama. In spring, a forest of plum trees is open to visitors. The different variety of plums in the area makes it very popular. The surroundings will be filled with white, pink, and dark pink colors of the plum flowers.
It is strictly prohibited to park your private vehicles because this is a private property. The Japan Free Climbing Association has only negotiated to the landowners to open the area for rock climbing so it is also expected that we should abide with the laws that govern with it. A free car park is available in front of Zen Shrine and is open for everybody to use. It can accommodate around 10 cars. Another free parking space is located just next to the Public Toilet on the way to Kuroyama Santaki Hiking Area. It can accommodate around 6 cars. If none of these free spaces are available, there is a wide parking space near the entrance of Shounin Rocks. A big sign can be found along the road and it costs 500 JPY for one day.
Duration: 1 hour and 35 minutes
- From Tokyo Station, take the Yamanote Line (山手線) Outer loop for Ueno/Ikebukuro (上野/池袋) on Platform No. 4. It has 12 stops and takes about 25 minutes to Ikebukuro Station.
- Get off at Ikebukuro and walk towards Tobu-Tojo line (東部東上線).
- Board the train for Ogawamachi (小川町). It has 11 stops and takes about 43 minutes to Sakado Station (坂戸駅).
- Get off in Sakado and transfer to Tobu-Ogose Line (東部越生線) for Ogose Station (越生駅). It has 7 stops and takes about 19 minutes.
- Get off at Ogose Station(越生駅).
By bus from Ogose Station to Rockclimbing Area Jump-off:
Duration: around 15 minutes
Cost: 350 JPY
- Take the bus from Ogose Station Station bus stop (越生駅バス停) for Kuroyama (黒山行).
- Get off at Zen Jinja (全神社) bus stop.
- Walk 850 meters or around 15 minutes from the shrine to the rockclimbing area.
- Get on the Shutoko Expressway 首都高速都心環状線 and follow the route to merge into Tokyo Gaikan Expressway (東京外環自動車道).
- Follow signs to merge into the Kan'etsu Expressway (関越自動車道) and take the exit at Sakado Nishi (坂戸西)。Take note that this exit is only accessible for those who are using an ETC card.
- Follow signs for Sakado Nishi IC (坂戸西スマートＩＣ料金所).
From Sakado Nishi IC follow roads to Shounin Iwa, location shown in the map below.