This is Part 2 of a 3 part series of posts describing the 7km trail between Peace Pagoda and Big Wave Swimming Pool in Ushita. See Part 1 for a general introduction to the trail, map and directions on how to get to the trail head.
Onaga-yama to Ushita-yama
- Part 1 Yamane-guchi to Onaga-yama 20 minutes
- Part 2 Onaga-yama to Ushita-yama 40 minutes
- Part 3 Ushita-yama to Mitate-yama 40 minutes
- Part 3 Mitate-yama to Ushita Astram Line Station 30 minutes
From the summit of Onaga-yana, the trail passes a tall orange aviation warning light tower and soon descends through trees which quickly give way to ferns before when making a sharp right. From here descend for another 100m to a T-junction at which you go left.
T-junction. Go left.
This is the sign at the T-junction
Top to bottom
Futaba-yama with Ushita-yama ↓ hand written
The trailgoes down and up a couple of dips until a short sharp climb up some steps and under an electricity pylon.
This hike is known locally as the “Ushita Alps”, but it could also be called the “chimney pot trail” as there are old chimney pots (at least I assume that’s what I like to think they are) embedded in the ground along the trail for people do dispose of ash from cigarettes (though you also see other trash in them). The first of these chimney pots is in small clearing after a short climb from the pylon.
Chimney pot #1
A few meters on you will see a sign and a small trail heading right. Ignore this and continue in your original line of travel.
After a steep downhill followed by another couple of dips you reach chimney pot #2 at 1.2km. There is a bit of view from the rock a few meters ahead.
Chimney pot #2 (1.2km)
The trail then undulates over the next 100m to to chimney pot #3
Chimney pot #3 (1.3km)
At 1500m, the path splits, but either way is fine, though the left path is perhaps slightly steeper. The paths soon rejoin and head up to chimney pot #4 which is in a small clearing with a couple of makeshift benches and a nice view of some of Hiroshima’s urban sprawl and the shinkansen yard. at 1.6km. There is also a trig point here – Naka-yama?
Chimney pot #4 (1.6km)
After a short steep descent on which you need to watch your footing you pass another sign with a trail to Nakayama-guchi [中山口] heading off to the right – ignore this and continue on in the direction of Hesaka-guchi [戸坂口].
The trail flattens and then climbs to chimney pot #5, where there is also a bench.
Chimney pot #5 (1.8km)
The trail now descends for around 200-300m passing chimney pot #6 on the left at 2km.
Chimney pot #6 (2km)
The trail flattens a little further on and you’ll see a little stump turned into a stool by a piece of green tarp on the left and a log bench covered in fungi on the right. A trail goes off to the right, but you should keep heading straight.
Now begins the stiffest climb since the the first climb from the trail head. You pass a cracked chimney pot (#7) and the forest starts to feel more dense.
Chimney pot #7
The trail rounds a bend to the right, flattening into one of the nicest sections of the whole route.
At about 2.5km you reach a trail junction, the trail to the right going to Hesaka-minami [戸坂南], take the trail to the left.
Follow the arrow to
Heasaka-guchi 戸坂口 (NOT Hesaka-minami 戸坂南!)
Continue to climb steadily passing a bench on the left and bamboo stands on the right. The trail turns to steps and at 2.6km the trail forks. Both ways rejoin soon, but I usually take the left route.
The trail continues to climb and makes a couple of switchbacks, at the top of which the two trails rejoin at around 2.7km. A couple of hundred meters later there is one more sharp climb which has a rope for assistance if you need it.
A few more meters along the path and you come into the open at the summit of Ushita-yama (261.1m). There a great views over the city and out to the islands. You can see Aki-no-ko-fuji – the “little Fuji” on Ninoshima almost directly ahead and Miyajima to the west (right) even on a cloudy day and much more when the weather is good. There are a couple of benches and a roughshod shelter with a table (and possibly some manga and girlie mags stuffed under the roof) and you’ll often find groups of elderly hikers enjoying a packed lunch up here.