I wanted to go on a hike, but I wanted to get away from the city and people. I thought it would be a good idea to find a place to social-distance, enjoy nature, get some exercise in, and have a drink at the top. I was googling some places and Koburi Pass popped up.
It was quite a ways out; about an hour and a half on the train, but I had never been there before and the pictures looked pretty cool. I packed some water and a few snacks. The trail didn't seem too difficult so I left my hiking boots at home.
After arriving at Agano station, there was hardly anyone there. Something I noticed was that the there were no turnstiles. There was just a scanning pole for your PASMO card, so it was basically just the honor system. That's how far out in the countryside we were! The notes from other websites were pretty good. We ended up taking the long way to get to the start of the hike, but I was able to find the right way on the way back.
All in all the hike was good. The weather was cool so it was perfect for hiking. There were some windy roads that lead through the neighborhood and it seemed like there were a lot of homes that were either uninhabited or it could have been possible that elderly people were living in them.
It looks like some forestry officials were trimming some trees and maintaining trails and paths, but other than them I only saw about five other people hiking that day.
You'll see trees, streams, houses, shrines, and burial plots. Try to be respectful, especially around the graves. Watch out for the spider webs. The spiders are fairly big!
Bring some cash with you because there are some tea shops and one or two soba shops at the top. Since COVID is here, sometimes just the Heikuro Tea House is open, but it's a nice place to catch your breath, grab a drink, or even order some soba or other dishes. I didn't want to fill up on food because of the hike back, but I ended up getting a beer at the top. I was happy to see bamboo in the forest. I should have made a Nujabes playlist for the hike. Maybe next time! If you're wondering how to get there I'll provide some directions below.
Exit the station. Find the sign that has the Kanji for Koburi pass. If you can't read it, you'll probably be able to recognize the symbols Find the sign that has the Kanji for Koburi pass. If you can't read it, you'll probably be able to recognize the kanji characters 顔振峠. Walk down the stairs.
Turn right and walk toward then post office. You'll be able to see it because it's one of the biggest signs in Agano. Once you pass the post office, turn left and the road will lead into a tunnel. Walk through that small tunnel and follow the main road (highway 299 [the road with actual cars driving on it leading to the big tunnel).
Once you see the blue road sign that says Koburi Pass Highway 61, turn left and follow that road up the mountain.
It will lead you through a road with houses at first and then it'll lead to a windy road through the forest. If you keep following the Koburi Pass signs, you'll eventually find yourself at the Heikuro Tea House. There is a cute old woman there who really wants you to buy some cider, sake, wine, or beer.