After spending a few days exploring one of the busiest cities in the world, you may feel in need for some more natural landscapes. Thanks to extensive public transportation networks, beautiful hikes are only one ride away from busy Tokyo. These are the 5 that I like most, all done in one day. Pack your hiking shoes and read on!
Mt Mitake is located in the Okutama area, far West end of Tokyo prefecture, so you will not technically be leaving Tokyo for this hike. Like the more famous Mt. Takao that we will be introducing further down, early Spring and Autumn foliage viewing season are best for this 4-hour walk.
※A cable-car is also available for a more leisurely day.
Highlights: Autumn foliage viewings are beautiful in the area. There is also a Japanese Zelkova tree estimated to be 1,200 years old near the shrine at the top of the mountain.
Getting there: JR Chuo line / Ome line to Mitake station, and local bus to the bottom of the cable car (1 hr 40 min from Shinjuku station)
More info>> (Japanese only, step by step photos are very useful to find your way)
Probably the most famous mountain in the Tokyo area, and with three million visitors a year, Mt. Takao is a sought-after Autumn leaves viewing spot. Its cute red cable car has also become a tourist icon. Yakuo-In temple at the summit is believed to have been founded in the 8th century. It will take you 2 hrs to walk up to the top, but I recommend the more challenging Inariyama trail if you feel like more of a sweat.
Difficulty: Easy to medium
Highlights: Take a dip in a hot spring after your hike! Keio Takaosan Onsen Gokurakuyu is located near Takaosan-guchi station.
Getting there: Keio Line to Takaosan-guchi station on an express service (60 min from Keio Shinjuku Station)
Mt.Nabewari is a lesser-known summit of the Mt. Tanzawa area. Located in Kanagawa, it is a beautiful hike with great chances of seeing Mt. Fuji on a clear day. At 1,273m above sea-level, and with a 15km trail, it is a bit more challenging than the other walks suggested in this article. It is my personal favourite, though so please give it a try!
Difficulty: Medium (approx. 7hrs walk)
Highlights: Look at Mt. Fuji on the way, and eat a hot bowl of nabe yaki udon at the summit!
Getting there: Odakyu Odawara Line to Shin Matsuda Station, and a local bus to the start of the trail (2 hrs from Shinjuku Odakyu Train Station)
More info>> (Japanese only, but step by step photos are very useful to find your way)
Located in Ibaraki prefecture, Mt. Tsukuba is a well-know mountain that has been part of the Japanese pictorial and poetical heritage for a long time. This specific course is a circulating route, if, like me, you don’t like going the same way twice. You will be walking 4.5 hrs, and about 7km.
Highlights: The weirdly shaped rocks on the course, and the lookout onto the Kanto plain.
Getting there: Tsukuba Express Line and local bus to Tsukuba-san jinji irigushi (1 hr 40 min from Akihabara station)
Located in Ibaraki prefecture alongside the Pacific Ocean, Hitachi Seaside Park is a beautifully manicured flower park within a stone throw away of Tokyo. Including a forest adventure playground, an amusement park, and BBQ areas, this is a perfect day stroll. Not exactly a hike, rather a pretty day trip.
Highlights: Flower viewing is available throughout the year, with a highlight on hydrangeas in early Summer, and cosmos in Autumn.
Getting there: JR Hitachi and Tokiwa line, and local bus from Katsuta station (1 hr 45 min from Shinagawa station)
All the above courses are loved by locals, and fairly easy to get to, but I would recommend you check all local bus timetables and check your itinerary to avoid any issues. Bring some hiking shoes and appropriate equipment as well. Japan is a volcanic land of younger mountains; this means they tend to be steeper. You will find toilets and vending machines on most trails, but bringing a picnic is recommended!
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