Hodosan Shrine, known as one of the three famous shrines of Chichibu along with Chichibu Shrine and Mitsumine Shrine, received a one star rating in the Michelin Green Guide Japan.
Hodosan Shrine is located in Nagatoro Town, famous for its river boating, and is within walkable distance from Nagatoro Station on the Chichibu Railway.
In addition, Okumiya area where visitors can take a ropeway is highly recommended for sightseeing because of its good scenery.
This article will introduce the historic Hodosan Shrine founded over 1900 years ago and recommended tourist spots in the area.
About Hodosan Shrine.
Hodosan is a gentle mountain with a height of 497m. It is said that Hodosan Shrine was founded when Yamato Takeru-no-Mikoto enshrined the gods and divine dogs after they helped him escape from a forest fire on Hodosan.
Therefore, the meaning of the original Japanese kanji characters for the mountain was ‘fire-stop-mountain’ but the kanji characters were changed to current one ‘jeweled-climb- mountain’.
The shrine was found in the year 110 and has over 1900 years of history.
The shrine is about 10 minutes walk from Nagatoro Station. There is a torii at the entrance of the approach to Hodosan and tourists can walk under beautiful cherry blossom trees in spring.
Along the approach, there is a famous natural shaved-ice shop ”Asami Reizo Hodosan”.
There is a second torii at the end of the approach path, and main shrine is located at the top of steps.
The main shrine of Hodosan is located at the foot of the mountain but the rear shrine is situated at the top of mountain. Many visitors and worshippers visit the rear shrine by the ropeway service.
Amulets (Omamori), Blessings (Gorieki), and Scarlet Seals（Goshuin）
Because of the origin of the mountain (fire-stop-mountain), there are following blessings;
- Fire Safety/ Theft Protection
- Protection from Other Vicissitudes
- Family Safety
- Prosperous Business
The Juyo-jo where visitors can obtain Scarlet Seals is located on the right side of the main shrine.
Visitors can purchase charms and votive picture tablets.
Visiting the Hodosan Rear Shrine by Ropeway Service.
Hodosan’s rear shrine is located at the top of the mountain. Since the altitude is 497 m, it takes about 1 hour to climb on foot – however visitors can use the gondola service to visit the rear shrine.
The ropeway (gondola) station is about 5 minutes walk from the main Hodosan Shrine.
The distance from the Hodosan Base Station to the Hodosan Mountaintop Station is about 832m. It takes about 5 minutes and there are two cars departing each direction per hour – exactly on the hour, and at 30 minutes past the hour.
Since some visitors walk up, visitors can choose either a one-way or round-trip ticket.
|Hodosan Ropeway Ticket|
|One-way||Adult 480yen||Child 240yen|
|Round Trip||Adult 820yen||Child 410yen|
The gondolas depart from the Hodosan Base Station and the Hodosan Mountaintop Station simultaneously so they pass each other midway through their journey. The capacity is up to about 50 people per gondola.
Midway through the journey the gondolas pass each other.
There are views of Nagatoro town and tourists will discover that Chichibu is a basin surrounded by mountains. The gondola will soon arrive the Hodosan Mountaintop Station.
This is the Hodosan Mountaintop Station. Hodosan Rear Shrine is about 3-4 minutes from here.
There are also wintersweet and azalea gardens and a zoo.
To arrive at the Rear Shrine, walk through the wintersweet and azalea gardens.
After walking for a while, visitors will discover steps for the rear shrine on the left side.
There is a torii at the top of steps, the Rear Shrine is located in the spiritual atmosphere beyond.
There is a resting space and souvenir shop located on the right side of the Rear Shrine.
Visitors can enjoy the views of Chichibu city from the left side of the Rear Shrine.
It might be difficult to locate but the mountain protruding in the middle of the picture is Mt. Buko.
In only early morning under the right weather conditions and seasons, visitors can enjoy views of an Unkan (sea of clouds) from Hodosan.
When visitors come to Hodoson shrine, it is recommended that they visit the Rear Shrine as it can be quickly reached via the ropeway service.
Illuminated Hodosan Shrine and Autumn Japanese Maples
Hodosan Shrine is illuminated from mid-late November during the autumn colored leaves season.
In the evenings, visitors can enjoy the beautiful colors of illuminated autumn Japanese maple trees where the shrine has a different atmosphere from daytime
Hodosan Shrine Open Time / Access / Car Park
|Address||1828 Nagatoro, Nagatoro town, Chichibu-gun, Saitama|
|Open|| 24 hours a day (no gates)|
Shrine Office closes at 5pm
|Closest Station||About 13 minutes walk from Nagatoro Station on the Chichibu Railway.|
|Car Park||Free car parking available|
When arriving by train, the closest station is Nagatoro Station on the Chichibu Railway.
It is then 13 minutes on foot from Nagatoro Station to the shrine. There are restaurants and souvenir shops along the approach to the shrine.
Visitors can walk under cherry blossoms in the spring.
There is a small zoo on Hodosan and it is recommended for children.
The zoo is 2-3 minute walk from the Hodosan Rear Shrine and 7 minute walk from Hodosan Mountaintop Station.
It’s a small zoo on the slopes of the mountain and the entrance fee is reasonable.
|Entrance Ticket||Adult (over junior high school): 430yen|
|Children (over 3 years old):220yen|
|Holidays||Open every day.|
|Address||2209-6 Nagatoro, Nagatoro town, Chichibu-gun, Saitama|
There are goat, sheep, deers and monkeys etc and visitors can feed them.
えAnimals come toward visitors as soon as they see food, small children can easily interact with them.
There are deer and monkeys on the slope of the mountain.
In the monkey area, there is a bridge where visitors can look down at the monkeys and feed sweet potato to them.
The zoo is small and the variety of animals is limited but small children, especially under elementary school age, can enjoy the zoo very much.
Please visit the zoo when you visit the Hodosan Ropeway.
This article introduced Hodosan Shrine, one of the three famous shrines of Chichibu.
Located along the approach to the shrine are the recommended cafe “Yamashita” as well as the famous natural shaved-ice shop “Asami Reizo Hodosan”.
Furthermore, there are many recommended tourist spots such as the famous river boating experience and Iwadatami, a rock formation designated as natural monument.