With Backpack

One World in One Lifetime

Tricked by a Sign

Posted by Heliocentrism on January 9, 2015

Saturday, October 18, 2014

All Pictures

What!? The first sign never mentioned anything about a hiking course.

Now you tell us!

Now that my foot is getting better and I am able to walk more, I refuse to stay at home on Saturdays with nice weather. This particular Saturday I wanted to check out the cave in Shobara, the next town over. It’s a small town that few tourists visit, so it’s hard to find information about anything there online.

All I had were two coordinate points where the cave might be. But there was no guarantee that there was a cave there or that it was open. But Mark and I set out for Shobara anyway. We would look for this cave, but if we found something else along the way we would see that instead.

We passed through Shobara desperately looking for some attractions. We got to the middle of town and found a sign that said, in English, “Japanese Pyramid”. “Oh let’s go there!” We stopped the car and stared up at the sign.

It was so ambiguous. There was nothing indicating what road to take to get to this pyramid or how far away it was. We got back into the car, disappointed, and headed towards the “cave coordinates”.

This is not a one-way road.

Then we came across a tiny blue sign. It said Japan’s pyramid in Japanese. This sign told us to go up some sketchy little dirt road with death cliffs and really narrow roads. We got all excited and followed the sign. (Later we found out that we could have gone straight and turned later on to avoid the super dangerous road with the death cliffs.)

Eventually we came across the sign in the photo at the top of this post. This sign informed us that there was a hiking course. By then, we had invested too much time and had gotten our hopes up too high to turn back. We were tricked into hiking.

This totally makes sense. No way we’re getting lost!

We parked the car in a spot that is marked with a P on the map above, but it didn’t look like anyone who like safety should park there. I actually put the car behind a sign next to the “parking lot”. That way, if someone were to hit my car, they would have to go through a sign first.

This is going to be amazing, right?

We followed the signs up the mountain hoping that they would take us to the pyramid. We could not read them, but we figured that there could not be so many attractions up a mountain in Shobara that we could follow the wrong ones by accent.

This was not amazing.

We reached a peak and there was nothing there but a big rock. “This can’t be it.”

We were so mad. It was a grueling 30-minute hike with my bad foot, and this was it. We didn’t even have a view of the city.

What is with this city and their ambiguous signs?

We went back to the last sign we saw. We thought we followed the red trail to the pyramid, but obviously we did not. “Maybe the red trail that goes up on the map, is this path here that goes down,” Mark suggested. I had my doubts. I let Mark go down the trail while I waited by the sign and read the book that I brought.

(Yes. That’s how much faith I had in Shobara’s cave entertaining me. I brought a book!)

This is a good sign

A few minutes later I heard Mark yelling for me to join him. “How do you know you’ve found the pyramid, Mark?” “Because the rocks here are bigger.” That seemed logically to me, so I went down the path.

I swear! If I get to the top and all I can see is more steps…

Passed the giant rock were some dodgy steps. Passed them were more, but safer-looking, steps.

This mountain seemed to have a never-ending supply of steps. Every time I thought we were close to the top, bam, more steps. After a while I lost hope that this step-cycle would end. This was when I realized how thankful I was that I never signed up for any hikes up Mt. Fuji this year and how sorry I was that I never signed up for any hikes up Mt. Fuji 10 years ago.


Incase you were wondering, the mountain itself is the pyramid… (Lame I know.)

815 meters of steps

All Pictures



How to get there:

You can enter Japan by plane or boat. Though, the number of boats going to Japan from other countries has gone down significantly.

Americans get 90-day visas to Japan at the port of entry. Check with your nearest Japanese embassy or consulate for visa information.







  • Be careful what over the counter drugs you bring into Japan.  Actifed, Sudafed, Vicks inhalers, and Codeine are prohibited.
  • InternationalATMs are really hard to find; more so if you aren’t in a big city. Many places in Japan do not use credit cards. Take cash and call your bank to askwhatATMs or banks in Japan will work with your cash card.
    • ATMs have opening hours. Usually 9:00-18:00 (They have better work hours than most business men and women here.)
    • The Post Office bank seems to work with the most international cards.
  • You can get a Japan Railway, pass which saves you a lot of money on the trains, but you can only buy it before you get to Japan and you cannot be a resident of Japan. (I don’t have more information about it because I’ve only ever lived in Japan; I’ve never been a tourist here.)

Japan’s Pyramid
(Nihon no piramiddo)
on Mt. Ashitake

How to get there:

  • Coordinates 34°50’47.9″N 133°07’40.2″E
  • Park here: 34°50’31.2″N 133°07’15.4″E


〒727-0623 庄原市 本村町


  • 0824-75-0173



  • free


  • always available (But there is no artificial lighting, so bring a flashlight if you plan to be there after sunset.)


  • People thought that Mt. Ashitake might been the location for the tomb of the very first Emperor, Jimmu.
  • There is a theory that Mt. Ashitake is a 23,000 year-old pyramid because this 815m-high mountain is in a conical shape and because of the rock formation on the top of the adjacent peak.
  • Kikyuzan (Mount Kikyu) which is next to Mount Ashitake was the palace used for worshipping.
  • Supposedly, there are many of these really old pyramids throughout Japan.
  • This mountain is 815m high, if that means anything to you…


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