28-Feb-2003 -- I visited the 36N 139E confluence on a day trip from Tokyo, where I
currently reside. I took the Seibu Red Arrow Express Train from
Ikebukuro Station and arrived in Chichibu, Saitama Prefecture about 90 minutes later.
From Chichibu, it was another 40 minutes by bus along Route 299 to
the small town of Ogano-machi, the closest town to the confluence.
From Ogano-machi, I set out on foot to find the confluence. I walked
on a rural road past homes and farmland till the road ended and it was time
to trek through the woods. I thought I had found a trail, but it soon
ended and I found myself trudging up a steep, heavily wooded ridge
following my GPS's lead. Luckily, as I climbed the ridge, I came across another trail that I
was able to follow nearly all the way to the confluence point. It
turns out that this trail follows electric power lines (I even came
across some workers hiking up with equipment on their backs!).
Within 1/10 mile of the confluence point, I was descending into a
thick forest of tall cedars, when my GPS lost contact with the
satellites! I wondered if I would reach the point without even
knowing it, or worse yet, drift off course from it. Fortunately, the
trail ended at a small road and my GPS was back in service, indicating
that I was a mere 300 feet away. A small climb up a wooded hill off
the road, and there I was!
On the way back to Ogano-machi, I took the road at the trailhead
through what appeared to be a small cluster of vacation homes. It
eventually led to a hiking trail that went directly back to Ogano-machi in
about 1.2 miles. This trail is used to make the pilgrimage to the
Hosho-ji Temple, Temple #32 of the 34 Kannon temples in the
Chichibu region, from the town. This in fact turns out to be the
easiest and most direct route to the confluence, but of course I like
to do things that hard way! The trail lets out close to the
Keisatsuho-mae bus stop, where I hopped a bus back to Seibu Chichibu
Station and caught the train back to Tokyo. All in all, it was a most
enjoyable day away from the hustle and bustle of Tokyo.
For those interested in visiting this confluence or who have an
interest in the Chichibu region, I highly recommend "Chichibu, Japan's
Hidden Treasure" by Sumiko Enbutsu. It describes the trail to Temple
32, which also leads to the confluence (pg 92-93).