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A Day of Rejuvenation in Minamiashigara

by Selena Pham

Minamiashigara is located in the mountainous western part of Kanagawa prefecture, with most of the city within either Tanzawa-Ōyama Quasi or Fuji-Hakone-Izu National Park. As a town surrounded by nature and majestic mountains, it will be more convenient and enjoyable if you can drive to explore this Minamiashigara area. But if you do not drive, you can completely travel by public transport such as train or bus.

Yūhi Waterfall

Yūhi Falls is a waterfall in the upper reaches of the Kari River, west of Minamiashigara, Kanagawa, Japan. Yūhi can be translated as "sunset", so it is named for its stunning beauty when the sun goes down. The waterfall has a height of about 25m and a width of about 5m. The temperature here is usually 2-3 degrees Celsius cooler than the plains. Even if you go in the hot summer, the closer you get to the waterfall, the more enjoyable and satisfied you will feel of the cool air and you will just want to sleep there because it is really refreshing. Sometimes you can even see many people standing and soaking in the middle of the waterfall and enjoying the peak of refreshing water.

Visitors can reach the falls by taking the train to Matsuda Station, then taking a bus - getting off at Jizodo, and walking about 15 minutes. If you have a car, you can park in a nearby parking lot and walk in. The area also has many campsites, bungalows and tent yards, and is usually very crowded in the summer. If you plan to come here to camp in the spring, the image of young spring leaves bathing in autumn colors along with cool water will become an unforgettable impression. From the nearby stream, there is a path along the river so that visitors can enjoy a hiking experience with the natural surroundings. However, the stairway has some uneven places, so you should prepare yourself comfortable shoes.

Ashigara Kodou Manyo Udon Restaurant

Udon Ashigara Kodou Manyo (万葉うどん本店) is 1km from Yūhi waterfall, so you can walk to this restaurant while enjoying the freshness of nature around. This is the most famous udon restaurant in the Minamiashigara area with about 10 dishes on the menu at affordable prices ranging from 570-1020 yen. The fresh, long, soft udon noodles are hand-made and you can watch the chef make them at the restaurant. You may have to wait in line on weekends or holidays because the shop is usually very crowded on these days. While you wait, you can serve yourself with hot oden skewers for 100 yen each. The space is comfortable with many spacious seats, and the staff is also friendly. Because the shop does not accept credit cards, you should pay attention to bringing extra cash.

Ashigara Hot Spring Only-Yu

From the Udon restaurant, you can take a bus for about 45 minutes to Only-Yu (おんり~ゆ~) hot spring. Ashigara Only-Yu onsen is a strong alkaline hot spring with 9.5 pH degree that helps regenerate the skin and produce an immediate smoothing effect after bathing. A special feature that makes you fall in love with this hot spring is the experience of admiring the stunning nature here along with other service experiences. Tickets for adults from 10:00-20:00 are 2,310 yen, elementary school children are 1,210 yen (tax included). At other times, the entrance ticket will be much cheaper. If you come here by car, the hot spring area has a large free parking lot.

Daiyuzan Saijo-ji Temple

Daiyuzan Saijo-ji is a temple of the Soto sect of Buddhism with a history of 600 years since its foundation in Minamiashigara city, Kanagawa prefecture. It is also one of many shrines that has a deep connection to tengu (a type of mascot in Japanese legend that can be considered a kind of god), and is located in an old cedar forest. More than 20,000 cedar trees have been planted in the temple grounds, many of which are now over 500 years old. A total of 30 buildings (temples and pagodas) occupy an area of ​​about 1.3 square kilometers.

The nearest station is Daiyuzan Station, which is a 10-minute bus ride from Saijo-ji Temple at the top of the mountain. The temple is quite large and there are many stairs on the way to the main area of the temple. Because of this, climbing to the top is quite difficult and you are suggested to equip yourself with comfortable clothes and shoes for easy movement.


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