From Fukinosan-Hozoin Temple, a trail snakes its way through the upper reaches of Mount Fukino, passing moss-mantled stone statues that lurk beneath cedar, cypress and mountain blossoms like impish spirits plotting to startle passersby.

During the Edo Period (1603–1868), colliers from the Izu Peninsula in Shizuoka Prefecture plied this route, felling hardwood trees for charcoal to sell at markets as far as Edo, present-day Tokyo, 200 kilometers away.

Further back, when the temple was established in the western Izu town of Matsuzaki 1,200 years ago by revered Buddhist monk and scholar Kukai, aka Kobo Daishi (774–835), mountain mystics called yamabushi roamed this sylvan way in their sedulous search for enlightenment.