If you like the outdoors and fall into one of these categories:
- are new to hiking, that is, inexperienced;
- don’t have a great level of fitness;
- want to take your kids on a hike with you, but don’t plan on carrying them or
- have exhausted all other hiking trails around Hiroshima,
then hiking Mt. Mitate and/or Mt. Ushita are for you. In other words, it’s an easy track suitable for people of any age and any fitness level.
When someone told me a hike, I’d envisioned a lot harder; strenuous even. I did it with 11 four and 5-year-olds and I wasn’t sure how they’d go… No problem. And no, I don’t have 11 kids; they’re my students. Perhaps, best of all, it’s easy to access as it’s right behind Big Wave, which you can reach via the Astram Line (Ushita Station).
When you leave Ushita Station, head towards Big Wave through the park at the front of it. On the right of the building you’ll see a small access road leading up to an open-space grassed carpark. Cut across the grass and make your way up the stairs at the end of the road. You have to use your leg muscles to get up the hill, but if short, little legs can do it, you’ll be just fine!
You’ll reach a rose garden (and the first lot of toilets) which is also a picturesque stop either on the way up or down. Following the road past the garden you’ll come to the second set of toilets. My advice is to go here, especially if you have children, because there’s nothing available after that.
Head up the road to the left and across the bridge to the actual trail. The steps may be steep, but they’re well maintained. As an Aussie who’s used to beating her way through bushland with little or no tracks, Japanese hiking doesn’t seem like hiking, especially when there are man-made steps along the way. Still, it’s sort of nice in a way.
You’ll eventually reach a sign with some very steep stairs. Go up the stairs and then choose either the left route to Mt. Ushita or the right one to Mt. Mitate. Although both mountains aren’t particularly high, 134.9m (Mitate) and 260.6m respectively, the view from the top is well worth it.
The gazebo at the top of the very steep stairs is a good place for a picnic lunch and the view, even from there is lovely, as it looks over Hiroshima and out to the islands.
At 1.5km each way, it’s an easy option to get some fresh air and exercise without wearing yourself (or the little ones) out, too much.