I love the Jogasaki Nature Study Course, both for its beauty and for its easy accessibility from Tokyo. When I’ve gone, it was also significantly less crowded than the Picnical Course, which is a significant point in its favor.
After leaving the “hidden cove” (pictured above, and where I left off at the end of Part 1) I headed back to the trail, which followed the shore, alternating between the open coast and the forest that grows almost to the edges of the cliffs.
Statues of Jizō, like the one above, are a common sight on Japanese trails; the statues are placed to serve as guardians (Jizō is the patron of travelers, children, and the lost). The statues often wear hats or bibs, which are offerings or expressions of gratitude. This was the first one I’d ever seen clad in a towel–but I suppose it proves Jizō is the patron of hitchhikers too.
Scenes like the one above are the primary reason to hike the Jogasaki coast: fresh, clean air, beautiful scenery, and the music of the surf.
The Jogasaki Coast is an excellent place to view columnar jointing, a geological phenomenon that occurs when cooling igneous rock creates columns or prisms. I learned about this cool geological feature from Ido Gabay of Hokkaido Nature Tours while he was guiding my climbs in Hokkaido, and it was doubly neat to see, because I recognized it when I saw it.
Not far from the end of the Nature Study trail, a waterfall called Tajima-no-taki pours down the cliffs and into the sea. It’s difficult to photograph, even from the viewing platform, but beautiful. The rocks jutting into the water on the left are the Oyodo-Koyodo tide pools, another really cool feature of this trail.
A portion of the Oyodo-Koyodo tide pools. At low tide, the rocks are exposed, offering a great place to fish, rock hop, look for creatures in the pools, or just sit and relax and watch the sea.
Another view from the tide pools. The day I visited several people were fishing off these rocks. I didn’t see anyone actually catch a fish, but I suspect catching fish isn’t really the point.
For me, the Hashidate Suspension Bridge (above) marks the end of the line. The trail splits just past the bridge; one branch continues down the coast toward a local fishing village, while the other (which I took) leads back through a local neighborhood to the station, where I caught the train for home.
Rock climbers like the Jogasaki coast; the day I hiked, the group pictured above was practicing technique beneath the Hashidate Suspension Bridge.
The view from the Hashidate Suspension Bridge. (The rocks on the lower right are a part of the Oyodo-Koyodo tide pools.)
One last glimpse of the Hashidate Suspension Bridge (and Toshima in the distance) as seen from the trail as I headed toward the station.
Access/Trailhead: Jogasaki-Kaigan Station (Izukyuko Line). Return: Izu-Kōgen Station* (Izukyuko Line) [*This is the return station if you hike both the Picnical and Nature Study Courses back to back; if you hike only the Picnical, the return is also from Jogasaki-Kaigan Station]
Total distance: 3.2 km (Picnical); 4.8 km (Nature Study) [Total for both: 8km]
Elevation Gain/Loss: Picnical: 69m ascent / 124m descent (i.e., “mostly flat”) / Nature Study: 143m ascent / 106m descent (i.e., “also mostly flat, but not quite as flat.”)
Time Spent: Picnical: 2 hours; Nature Study: 4hr. 40min. (Total 6:40; this was my time…YMMV)