When spring comes, the need for nature and oxygen, which had to be put on hold during winter, comes rushing into our brains and it is time to explore a nice out of the way location to enjoy the cherry blossoms.
There is no better way to gulp a large serve of fresh air than to go hiking. Ohirasan is a mount parked right next to Tochigi city. It has a scenic hiking route that leads all the way to the Ohirasan Shrine. The quiet and refreshing way up the mountain is the perfect spot for couples and families in search of place to stroll along and enjoy the moment.
As spring rolls around, so do cherry blossoms. We are all familiar with these beautiful pink flowers transforming the landscape into a magical heaven every year. Ohirasan is no exception as both hiking and driving routes are covered with cherry blossom tunnels. Not only does it offer a striking view, it also grants a free pass to complete abandon to beauty. It is easy to forget that there is anything else that matters when the flowers are in full bloom.
For the hiking amateurs, the mount and the cherry blossoms may be all they need but for the passing traveler, the Ohirisan Shrine makes for a lovely destination. Perched inside the mountain, the traditional architecture surrounded by nature is close to a perfect vision. I have often felt like I was traveling in time in Japan, especially when the sun goes down and the lanterns are turned on, shining a shy light on old wooden structures. Ohirasan shrine is no exception and I could almost say that its location deep in the forest even emphasizes the feeling. Add to that the cherry blossoms in spring and you may never want to walk back down.
When reaching the top of the mount, you will get to Kenshi Daira Viewpoint that will offer a beautiful view over Kanto plain. There, you can enjoy the view while enjoying a well-deserved rest. Kenshi Daira Viewpoint has several restaurants and tea houses and I would advise a nice serve of soba noodles. They will replenish your energy level while keeping a nice taste in your mouth. If you prefer local delicacies, then Yakitori or Tamago-yaki, a type of Japanese omelet, are definitely the way to go. Nice and sweet, nothing better.
When letting your gaze fall onto the plain, all the way to Mt Tsukuba, you will be able to witness the beauty of Japanese countries pigmented with patches of cherry blossoms. From the top of the Ohirasan mount, you will be able to relax and let your eyes feast on the view. I remember spending hours just looking around. It is a thing of wonder.
Make sure to keep an eye on time though. If you have come most of your way up on foot, you will find that spring can surprise you with a late afternoon breeze that will make its way to your neck, landing some chills through your spine. Indeed, the way back down can feel longer than anticipated if you didn’t bring the proper clothing for the evening trek.
So when spring comes, make sure to take a trip up Ohirasan nearby Tochigi and allow yourself to be inspired by the pink color of the cherry blossoms and energized by the fresh air. It will help you leave the last days of winter behind and build up your strength to take on the challenges of the months ahead. Spring is beautiful and summer even better!
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Address: Hiraicho, Tochigi City, Tochigi Prefecture
Access: 15 minutes by car from Tochigi Station
Website: Ohirasan, Tochigi City