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jj100 Apr 14th, 2013 07:35 AM

Mount Misen
We (Mom with 19 year old son) are planning our August trip to Japan. We will be spending the night on Miyajima and would like to visit the sites and see the views from Mount Misen. The problem is that I am not a hiker (and not in the best shape/health) so I am not sure about the hike up. I am thinking about taking the Ropeway to the upper station and then walk to the summit. How difficult is the walk from the Ropeway's upper station to the summit? Is there any kind of handle or rope I would be able to hold on for the climb up to the summit? I am then thinking we can then walk down taking the Daisho-in Trail. How is the walk down?

Another option would be to take the Ropeway and let my son climb to the summit but I know he won't want to leave me alone so I am hoping I can find a way to make this work.

Any help on the Ropeway and trails would be greatly appreciated.

kja Apr 14th, 2013 03:04 PM

I took the cable car (aka ropeway) and then walked to the summit. I just checked my notes, which say that I found the trail from the ropeway to the top much more strenuous than I had expected, and it took me much longer than the 15 or 20 minutes I had been led to expect. The way back down to the cable car was easier, but there was a steep-ish last hill to climb to get back to the station. The day I was there, the main trail from there down to the town was closed.

BTW, the monkeys on Mt. Misen are apparently quite good at grabbing purses and other bags. There were storage lockers (free, as I recall), and lots of warnings that if you took anything with you, it would be at your own risk. The monkeys were in hiding when I was there, so I can't comment on their behavior.

I thought Miyajima lovely - enjoy!

KimJapan Apr 14th, 2013 05:58 PM

The path from the ropeway to the top is not difficult, as kja said. The walk down is nice but lots of time in trees so you don't see much. It took us about 2 hours if I remember correctly. I like hiking but this one wasn't especially interesting. If you have limited time or interest you can skip it no problem imo.

kja Apr 14th, 2013 08:43 PM

"The path from the ropeway to the top is not difficult, as kja said"

Just to be clear, I said that I found it MUCH MORE strenuous than I had expected. I wasn't in great shape at the time, but I wasn't completely out of shape, either. I huffed, I puffed, and I felt my thighs burning even though I many breaks along the way. That from my notes, which I just checked again.

KimJapan Apr 14th, 2013 09:39 PM

Sorry I didn't read carefully enough. No one in our group found it difficult - but we like hiking and expect to breathe hard when going uphill. It's not a climb in that no ropes or anything are needed and that is what I was thinking was not difficult. If you don't like uphill then skip the top too. You can wander a bit without going all the way up.

hawaiiantraveler Apr 15th, 2013 06:45 AM

You can skip the top unless you want to pay homage to the diety at the top of the hill. I did not do it specifically when I saw the downhill then uphill route to the top. I had a bad knee at the time and remember thinking I did not want to strain anything else as to ruin the rest of my trip. You are about at the same height as the top because the trail goes down into a small ravine before going straight up to the top of the next hill. You can choose to wait for your son as there are seats and restrooms available at the station iirc.

We did not walk down either but have read that it is more scenic in the sakura or koyo seasons. In the heat of summer when you will be there I expect you to be seeking more air conditioning than be stuck hiking outdoors in Japan's most uncomfortable(for me) weather of August.


aprillilacs Apr 16th, 2013 09:08 AM

I agree with kja: I found the hike to the top from the ropeway station somewhat strenuous. It's quite lovely, though, and the views are excellent. I was in decent shape but have never liked going uphill. Given your reticence and your self-description as out of shape, you might want to just wander around near the ropeway station while your son goes the rest of the way to the top and then comes back to join you.

The walk down through the forest is actually quite steep, and a steep downhill is often harder on the body than an uphill hike. By the time I got to the base of the mountain I was feeling it. Might be better for you to take the ropeway back down.

The first time I visited there were several monkeys; last time (a couple years ago), none to be seen.

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