If the purpose of your trip is exploring the japanese mountains, Hokubo is a great place for you. Downtown Hokubo is just in the middle of a valley surrounded by forests with plenty of lakes, which is the home of a great variety of animals.
If you feel more adventurous you can walk heading to the baseball field west from the share house you can get to another shrine. After around 20 minutes walking uphill to the mountain between beautiful views of Hokubo and ruins of an old castle you will arrive to a small temple. Behind this spot you can keep walking for hours in the forest in marked trails, but probably a bit dense recommended mostly for real nature lovers who don't mind getting dirty. If you go slowly and quiet there is a chance you find animals around.
OHYA ICHI GOUFUN
Just 10 minutes walking from the share house you can get to a burial mound from around 4th century A.C.
If you follow the trail that goes up to this old tomb you will find a forest were you can walk around for some 30 minutes. Wild boars live around the surroundings. Just in Hokubo there are around 250 of this kind of ancient structures.
One of the most popular hikes in Maniwa is to Mount Hiruzen. This hike can be a full day trip so we recommend it just for nature lovers. There are 3 peaks in between dense forest and one of the most beautiful view points of nothern Okayama.
This area is known as a place to watch bear so if you are an animal lover you might be lucky and meet one of this furry friends. In a sunny day you can be able to see Totori prefecture and even the sea of Japan. Hiruzen is also well known for its dairy products and its wine so get ready.
Spiritual journeys are able all around Hokubo. We recommend you going to Takaoka Temple, were behind the temple you can go on a beautiful trip around a pine forest. Just getting to the temple itself requires some effort, but a historical jewel will be awaiting after the 4 tori doors you'll have to cross on your way.
At the top of this hike of this hike you will find a golden dragon, a great place for meditation. For the more energetic, you can keep walking until you reach a lake in the of the mountain.