Bou no Oreyama (969 m) is located on the border of Okutama, Tokyo and Saitama.
The Bouno Oreyama Mountain Hiking Trail is a great hiking trail for families (with kids past the toddler phase) the highlights of which are its 8 waterfalls, a series of streams, an impressive gorge and the view at the top of the mountain.
Begin your hike at the Kawamata Nagurito Iriguchi bus stop, from where you turn left at the traffic lights and follow the slope for 10 minutes to reach Arima Dam. Crossing to the other side of the dam, walk along the lake for 10 more minutes and you reach Shirayasawa, the start of the trail.
Starting your walk in about 20 minutes you should get to a stream and soon after that, your first waterfall: Fujikake no Taki waterfall, the top part is 6 m and the bottom part is 4m. Purple gesneriaceae flowers can be seen in bloom on the rocks in July and August. Go on through the narrow bank to reach the bottom of a sheer gorge which is the core part of Shirayasawa.
Go over Tengu no Taki waterfall to the right, stone steps with chains and handrails will lead you to Shirokujaku no Taki waterfall (see photo here) which is said to be THE highlight of the hiking course – it is a beautiful waterfall with a drop of 10 m. Climb for 15 minutes which will take you to the headwaters by the logging road. Stop and rest here before proceeding on a steep climb up a slope for about 10 minutes to reach Iwatakeishi rock formation on top of the ridge. Keep climbing up to the right reach the Gonjiritoge mountain pass. Turn right here to reach the peak of Bouno Oreyama after 15 minutes of climbing the steps.
At 969 m, visitors can view the mountains of Okumusashi and Tokyo area. On a clear day, one can also see Harunasan Mountain, Tanigawadake Mountain and Nikko mountains.
Make your way back to Iwatakeishi, take the trail that winds around the rock and downwards. An hour and a half later, you will reach the hamlet of Kawamata via Shirachidaira. You can soak off and relax at the Sawarabi no yu hotspring. 800 yen for 3 hrs.
Access: From Seibu Ikebukuro Line Hanno station; take the Kokusai Kogyro bus bound for Naguri Shako, Nago or Yunosawa and get off Kawamata Naguriko Iriguchi (600 yen – 40 minute ride).
Or if you are just heading for the mountain peak, don’t get off until you reach the Sawarabinoyu top. It’s a 130 minute walk.
References: Hanno City Tour Guide and Hiragana Times “Japan on Foot” article