Most people would think that there aren’t any spots close to Tokyo where you could really enjoy autumn in all its glory.
That’s not true! In this feature, we talk about Oyama-dera in Kanagawa. An easy train ride from Tokyo, this temple is a must visit if you’re in Japan in autumn.
The Odakyu Line from Shinjuku Station will take you all the way to Isehara station. From Isehara station, local buses are available up to the foot of a mountain called Oyama (大山).
From here, you can either walk up to Oyama-dera and Oyama-afuri Shrine or take a cable car. Along the way before the cable car stop are plenty of restaurants as well as food stalls. The tofu here is extremely popular.
Oyama-dera (大山寺) was built in 755. On either side of the staircase are Buddhist statues called Fudo Myo-o (Acalanatha) and the center is lined with ishi-doro (stone lanterns).
The light up usually takes place from mid-end of November.
The famed staircase is just below Oyama-dera, the first stop of the cable car. Most people miss this spot as they directly take the cable car all the way up to Oyama-afuri shrine.
The best option is to take the cable car all the way up and walk down instead of taking the cable car. This way, you won’t get as tired as walking to-and-fro.
Steps leading to Oyama-afuri Shrine are lined with maple as well as other trees that change color. It is a wonderful combination of yellow, orange and red.
Oyama-afuri shrine (大山阿夫利神社) was originally a part of the Oyama-dera but moved to its current location during the Meiji period.
You get spectacular views of the lit up city from here. The autumn foliage down below is breathtaking especially at sunset. There is also a restaurant and a cafe close to Oyama-Afuri Shrine.
Since we did not take the cable car, we don’t have any photos but beware that the weekends in November are peak season and you may have to queue for over an hour both ways. If you’re reasonably fit, it takes about 1.5 hours to get all the way up to Oyama-afuri shrine using the Onna-zaka (gradual slope).
Details of cable car
From Oyama Cable to Oyama-dera / From Oyama-dera to Oyama-afuri Shrine
One way: 360 yen for adults, 180 yen for children
Return: 620 yen for adults, 310 yen for children during regular season; 700 yen and 350 yen during peak season
Oyama Cable directly to Oyama-afuri Shrine
One way: 640 yen for adults, 320 yen for children
Return: 1,120 yen for adults, 550 yen for children during regular season; 1,270 yen and 640 yen during peak season
*You can get off at Oyama-dera as well.
Official website for cable car: https://www.ooyama-cable.co.jp/timetable/ (only Japanese)
Oyama-Afuri Shrine: https://goo.gl/maps/gckabDbPStzyjZYr6
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