Great trees of Terano & Kiriyama, Shibata Sake, Kirikoshichou, Natsuyama Hachimangu

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Today is an unusual tour, visiting some fascinating sites in extremely remote and difficult to get to areas in the forested hills of the eastern part of Aichi. You will need hiking boots or good walking shoes, a flashlight (we can lend you one), rain gear and drinking water. A reasonable level of physical fitness is required for this tour.

We begin with visits to the terano-no-ookusu and kiriyama-no-oosugi. These are absolutely massive and mysterious ancient trees. Both are revered, are more than 1000 years old, and need to be seen by anyone venturing into these valleys.

Our next stop is Shibata Shuzou – a sake brewery more than 200 years old, and a consistent gold medalist in the national competitions each year. The location of the brewery is about 400 meters (about 1300 feet) above sea level. The cooler altitude and shade from the surrounding hills, plus the very pure water of the Shibata wells, enable the brewing of some of Japan’s finest sake. We can do taste testing and you can buy some excellent sake as a souvenir.

We next visit Hakusan shrine in Sakuraijichou, before entering the hidden valley of Kirikoshichou. Part of Okazaki, this almost totally abandoned valley once contained a thriving agricultural community, probably numbering about 800-1000 people, evidenced by the hundreds of stone retaining walls and abandoned farmhouses. These days only 3 of the houses are occupied, and Japan’s monkeys and serow have the best claim to occupancy. It is however a spectacularly beautiful place.

Our destination here is the ancient Susanoo Jinja, a shrine with massive hinoki (cypress) trees, the kirikoshi-no-meoto hinoki. These two great trees tower over the shrine, and form the torii. As part of our Indiana Jones routine, we will also hike to the 8 faced gravestones of the Honma family (descendants of the Heike clan, the graves date from the early Kamakura period).

Departs: East Exit, JR Okazaki Station, 8:30am. Returns: 19:00pm (approx)
Mode of transport: Minivan or Microbus
Deadline for Discount Price: 28 days prior
Tour Code: OK0329 (needed for application form below)

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