Taiken Japan

Autumn Leaves 2016

The Mount Kinka Ascent

The Mount Kinka Ascent

Melicia Hewitt

Sweat trickled down my brow as the sun's rays attacked my skin. I stared at the forested mountain and braced for the task ahead. From Gifu Station on the JR line, it took only one bus and approximately 20 minutes to get to the base of Mount Kinka.


The base of Mount Kinka, is only five minutes from Gifu Park. Gifu Park includes Japanese style gardens; an Insect Museum and the City of History Museum.


At the base of 百曲登山道 (Hyaku Magari Tosando), the ‘100 turns’ trail, there are welcoming steps. Now this trail is short, however it is steep. Personally, after climbing Mount Fuji, doing this trail felt like a nature walk. I actually completed the task in blue jeans and black keds (type of shoes).


It can be an easy hike or a hard one depending on how you decide to accomplish the task. I stayed hydrated with 1 litre of water (not all was consumed), during the 1,100 metres ascent. I took many breaks to peak through trees and see the different views awarded for distance gained during the ascent. I hiked at a leisurely pace, and for the most part just enjoyed the sounds, smells and view of nature.


On the 百曲登山道 (Hyaku Magari Tosando), it took half an hour to get to the top.  During the hike, I met other climbers; locals and foreigners alike.  I held more than a few conversations and played charades where words failed me.

At the top of the mountain is a squirrel village, it costs ¥200 to enter. Upon entry, you receive a glove and some nut dust. Once you hold out your hand filled with nut dust, the squirrels are all over you. Two were fighting for my hand and during that brief moment I wished I had sports dust. In the end, my friend defused the situation by holding out her hand next to mine. Overall, for me it was an enjoyable experience.


We had brought along lunch however, there was a restaurant at the top. There was also beverage machines.

To get to Gifu Castle from the squirrel village, you have to climb a massive amount of steps. Afterwards, you have a clearer bird’s eye view of the city; and a mouse’s eye view of Gifu castle.


Photo : MadAdminSkillz on Flickr
The price of entry for Gifu castle was ¥200.  The relics on display inside is noteworthy. Edo period armory, tools and weapons.


The top of Gifu castle, gave a good view of the Nagara river and life bustling below.


Other views were offered from various sides of the top. I also had a good view of the tops of other mountains.


Just standing there and experiencing the various views of the city, was relaxing.

Soon, it was time to descend. Descending the mountain was easier because we ran down a different trail. This one was chosen based on its proximity to Gifu Castle. We didn’t even both to read the sign, we just made sure it said trail and started running.

My last view of Gifu city was of the golden statue of Oda Nobunaga minimizing simultaneously as the bus pushed ahead.