Apr 23, 2018
Living in Tokyo can be sometimes very stressful, that's why it is very good to sometimes rush outside of the city and enjoy a little bit of the nature in the neighboring prefectures. Most of Japan is covered by mountains, this means there are many good places for hiking. Let's take a look at three of my top recommendations for hiking near Tokyo.
Tokyo – Mt. Takao
Takao Mountain, with a height of 600 m, is located in the city of Tokyo-Hachioji and is a very popular tourist destination. The mountain itself has about 5 different hiking routes that lead past shrines and excursion platforms. All routes up Mt. Takao vary in their difficulty, but of course the most popular route is the easiest way. If you are not that good at hiking it is even possible to use a cable car to go up to the top of the mountain.
The closest station to Mt. Takao is Takaosanguchi which can be reached by the Keio Line from Shinjuku in around 50 minutes.
Especially during the autumn foliage season the mountain is very popular for its colorful leaves and it can get amazingly crowded. Sometime so crowded, that you have to wait in a line to go up to the top.
Chiba – Mt. Nokogiri
The closest station to go to Mt. Nokogiri is Hota station. You can go to the top of the mountain by car or by cable car or just hike up to the top in around an hour. From the top you will have a beautiful view over the ocean and the nearby city.
At a small booth you have to pay 600 yen to visit the path that leads around the many stone statues and the great canon and Buddha statue. The 100-Shaku Canon statue (百尺 観 音) is about 30 meters high and was carved into the rock face. If you stand in front of it, it is really an incredible sight. Just a few meters from the canyon rope is the "Ruriko viewing platform" from which you will have a beautiful view over the area.
While walking down the mountain you will cross the path of the 1,500 stone figures of Tokai Arhats. These figures are scattered all over the mountain and come from the artist Jingoró Eirei Óno and his 27 helpers. They worked on all the characters for about 19 years and distributed them around the mountain. Unfortunately, many of the statues were destroyed during an anti-Buddism movement in the Meji era, which is why only a few parts of the statues are still preserved.
Even though Mt. Nokogiri is just 330 m high, going up can be very tiring if you are not used to hiking.
Yamanashi – Mt. Takagawa
It takes around 2 hrs from Tokyo station to Hatsukari station in Otsuki, Yamanashi prefecture. Even though the station is very small, you can find some good hiking and sightseeing maps. Just in front of the station are three different hiking courses to different mountains. At the entrance of the hiking course is a small clicker in a wood house, where you have to click to tell how many people will go up to the mountain. This is a precautionary measure in case someone is lost or may be attacked by wild animals like bears or monkeys.
The hike runs through a dense grove up the mountain. At first the path is easy going, but the higher you go, the harder and steeper the path gets. Interestingly, there were two ways on the same hiking course to go up the mountain, a way for women and a way for men. The one for men is even steeper than that for women.
Partly the way can be very narrow and sometimes not even recognizable, because everything is covered with leaves. Sometimes there are even safety ropes where you have to hold on. During my visit I saw five monkeys right in front of me who were not scared of humans, but you should always watch out even if they seem to be harmless.
The top of the mountain has an altitude of 976 m and is perfect for a small picnic. There is a great panoramic view over the mountains and Otsuki. If the weather is very good and clear, you will have an amazing view of Mt. Fuji.
I´m a german girl living in the center of Tokyo, but my true love belongs to the countryside of Japan (especially Chiba and Hokkaido). I love traveling Japan and explore hidden areas.
I want to help people with my articles to get in touch with the Japanese culture and all the beautiful places you can explore.
Besides traveling around, I love trains, handcraft and my little rabbits.