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Japan’s Saw Mountain, Nokogiriyama

Posted By on May 16, 2014


Nokogiriyama is famous for its all-natural, uniquely shaped rocks and other beautiful places. It can be easily accessed from Chiba, Yokohama or even Tokyo by train or ferry.

Nokogiriyama (鋸山) literally means, “saw” (鋸) “mountain” (山). It got its name because the mountain itself looks like a Japanese saw. People formed the mountain’s shape during the Edo Period. The locals wanted to build the biggest city in Japan, but at the time the area was covered by a marsh. They brought in large, solid rocks to create the foundation, and that’s what Nokogiriyama is today.

The mountain itself isn’t very high—only 329 meters. To get to the top, a ropeway was installed back in 1962. Even if you’re afraid of heights, the trip on the ropeway is worth it, and it only lasts a few minutes because of the short distance.


At the entrance to the Nokogiriyama Ropeway Station, you’ll find a booth where you can purchase both one-way and round trip tickets.

Once you’ve purchased your tickets, just continue to the back where you’ll catch the cable car going up.

Despite Nokogiriyama not being high, the top offers a 180-degree observation area with a stunning panoramic view.


Be sure to visit some of the other tourist attractions while you’re up there like the famous Jigoku-nozoki. Translated as “peering into hell”, this is a small rock platform sticking out from the cliff. Go ahead and look down if you dare—just be careful not to fall off! (Don’t worry there are railings!)


You’ll also find Nihon-ji, which is a temple complex that dates back to the Nara period. It is believed that this temple is the only one in the entire Kanto region built during the Nara period. Inside the complex, you’ll find that it houses a giant Buddha statue, called a Daibutsu.

It is the largest pre-modern, stone-carved Daibutsu in all of Japan. Although it is far less frequented by tourists, it is actually double the height of the famous Daibutsu visited in nearby Kamakura.


Other focal points of Nihon-ji are the thousands of Jizo statues, the 1,500 hand-carved statues of Rakan, and the 100-Shaku Kannon, which was carved as a memorial for the victims of WWII. (Shaku is an old unit of measurement equaling around 30 meters.)

There is actually quite a lot to do and see, so a trip to Nokogiriyama really should be planned for a whole day.

Address: Nokogiri-yama Motona, Kyonan, Awa District, Chiba Prefecture 299-1901, Japan

[post by Beth]

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Beth Williams

Originally from Chicago, Beth got her first true taste of travel when she studied abroad in Japan during her final year of university. She ended up loving Asia so much, she found herself moving right back upon graduating and is currently teaching English full-time in Hong Kong. Armed with her camera and a passion for travel, she is currently on a mission to photograph the world-- proving that you can work the normal “9-5” and still find time to travel on her blog Besudesu Abroad.

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