OOGIRIYAMA (767m) June 15, 2017
A couple of days ago I hiked O-O-GIRI-YAMA (much fog mountain in English?) in Higashi(East) Chichibu area of Saitama Prefecture. This mountain had never attracted my attention before, but I noticed it was covered in all of three hiking guidebooks I have. There must be something special about this mountain.
I got off at OGAWAMACHI station on TOBU-TOJO line and took a bus to HASHIBA where the mountain trail started. I was the only one to get off the bus, the sky was overcast, and there was a poster to caution about a bear witnessed in the nearby mountain, all of which made me a little nervous. It was not remote from villages and I could see houses along the way, the road was paved, and motorcycle noises were heard from below. As I proceeded, there was a small footpath branching off, which was supposed to be a shortcut, so I followed it.
Before this small path joined the main road, I saw something moving on the ground. It was a snake. I could have stepped on him (or her) easily. Later I googled the snake at home–it was probably MAMUSHI (viper). Small mountains could be as dangerous as big mountains!
Anyway, I arrived at KAYUNITA pass in 60 minutes. I kept walking in the forest of cedars and reached the top of O-O-GIRI-YAMA in another 40 minutes. There was nobody there. As soon as I saw the signboard showing all the mountains you can view from the mountain top, I could see why this mountain is so much valued by the guidebook authors. Unfortunately, the mountain range was hazy and I could not distinguish mountains. I will have to come back here on a clear sunny day. Despite the rainy season, the air was not sticky, rather it was cool and crisp.
The next point I arrived was OLD SADAMINE pass. There I could go straight on to New SADAMINE pass, or turn to the left (to the east) to KYOZUKA, but my plan was to take the trail on the right (to the west) to SADAMINE village, because of the connection to the bus.
In the beginning this trail was wide and marked with pink tapes continuously but soon it changed the look somehow to a path not well-trodden and maybe used only by foresters. Confused, I went back to OLD SADAMINE pass, and had lunch there and thought a little while.
I really did not want to wait for a bus for two hours at KYOZUKA, so I determined to try the SADAMINE route again. At 11:55, I left OLD SADAMINE pass, looking at the detailed map and the compass here and there, carefully followed the trail, and finally arrived at the village of SADAMINE at 12:55. I kept walking and found the bus stop “TOCHOYA” where I waited 20 minutes for the bus to SEIBUCHICHIBU station. I took the limited express to IKEBUKURO station from there.
It was short hiking, but it was fun to choose a mountain, make a hiking plan and execute it. There is a famous hiking course connecting seven peaks including OOGIRIYAMA. Someday I would like to do all seven peaks in one day.