Hikes near Tokyo off the beaten track
Escape from the capital
After spending hours in the crowded Tokyo subway, treat yourself to a day of fresh air away from the city. You'll always find something to do in Tokyo, but one of the great things is to take a train to the countryside and relax on one of these four little-known hiking trails!
Many mountains in Japan are active volcanoes, but Mount Tsukuba is one of the few composed entirely of non-volcanic rock and dust. Located in Ibaraki Prefecture northeast of Tokyo, Mount Tsukuba is famous among locals for its atypical shape. Indeed, the mountain culminates at 877 and 871 meters with its two peaks, from which you will have a panoramic view of the Kanto plain (including Tokyo) and even as far as Mount Fuji.
Climbing Mount Tsukuba is accessible, and you'll avoid the crowds that flock to Mount Fuji and Takao, the most popular in the area. The lush vegetation on the slopes promises you an excursion into the heart of the wild nature, but above all, magnificent landscapes throughout the seasons.
You will choose between many hiking trails suitable for all levels or take the cable car or the funicular to reach one of the summits. The ride will last between 1 and 4 hours for a distance between 1.5 and 10 kilometers, depending on the path selected.
Access: Tsukuba station is accessible from Tokyo (Tsukuba Express line), then a local bus to the mountain.
At the crossroads of Tokyo, Saitama, and Yamanashi prefectures, Mount Kumotori culminates at 2,017 meters. It is the roof of Tokyo, and its ascent is prepared upstream! It is even advisable to take two days to reach the end of the mountain. You can spend the night in one of the refuges where hot meals and showers are provided.
Like at Mount Fuji, you can admire the sunrise very early in the morning after a day of climbing and a short night's sleep. The most popular trail is north of Mitsumine Shrine in Saitama, which descends on the Okutama side.
See also: Okutama
The perfect alternative to Mount Fuji is not a healthy walk and, indeed, not the ideal place for an outing with young children or people who are not very sporty. It will take you about 8 hours if you take the shortest route of 21 km.
Access: Seibu-Chichibu station accessible from Tokyo (Seibu line), then a local bus to Mitsumine shrine.
Hatonosu Keikoku Valley
To enjoy a superb landscape without climbing a mountain, spend the day near Okutama in the Hatonosu Keikoku valley. It is an even more magical ride if you do it in the fall when the leaves on the trees turn red and gold. Following the bed of the Tama River, the valley will offer you a rural setting up to the Hatanosu Kobashi suspension bridge, which is accessible in an hour's walk.
It is undoubtedly one of the most picturesque walks not far from the capital. The translucent water that ripples in the middle of the dense vegetation makes it possible to take splendid photos no matter the time of year. In summer, the valley becomes a paradise for fireflies!
Access: Chuo line to Ome, then Ome line to Okutama. Return to Kori station and take the same lines to Tokyo.
Mount Mitake isn't just made for hiking; it's simply a great destination to spend the day admiring the awe-inspiring scenery of Chichibu Tama Kai National Park. You will have plenty to do with trails, waterfalls, and a sanctuary!
But you can take advantage of this excursion to relax away from the urban bustle by taking a seat on the cable car. This will drop you off in 6 minutes halfway to the top of the mountain at an altitude of 929 meters. A torii welcomes you there, a symbol of the divine character of Mount Mitake, but you will also find several small shops.
Then, all you have to do is choose a path to reach the peak! The most popular is the "Rock Garden," a narrow valley lined with streams and connecting Mount Ontake at 1,267 meters, perfect for adventure seekers looking for stunning mountain views. The 8 km ascent will take you about 4 hours.
Access: Train from Tokyo to Mitake (Ome line) then local bus.