Mount Sannoto in Kanagawa is one of many great hiking spots within day-trip distance of Tokyo. It’s a relatively easy hike that offer fantastic views of the Tanzawa, as well as other familiar sights like mount Oyama and Mount Fuji. As an additional bonus, it’s more popular with hikers than tourists, so the trails aren’t overcrowded.
There are two ways to get to the start of the route (or a route) up to Sannoto.
If you have a car, you can head straight for the Bodaitoge parking lot in Hadano. There’s a handy public toilet available here, and the entrance to the trail is right off the lot.
If you’re coming via public transport, public transport, first take the Odakyu Line to Hadano Station, just over an hour from Shinjuku Station. Next, ride the No. 21 bus to the Yabitsutoge bus stop—about a 50-minute ride—and walk around 20 minutes from there to the start of the trail at Fujimibashi. Before entering the trail, consider walking just a little further to the Gomayashiki Spring, where you can fill your water bottle with fresh local spring water free of charge.
Note that the No. 21 bus has a sparse timetable. On weekdays, there’s exactly one morning bus (departing at 8:25), and even on weekends there are only four, departing at various times between 7:20 and 9:04.
Fire on the Mountain
Whether you start from Bodaitoge or Fujimibashi, the first half hour or so of the walk is densely forested, with not much of a view. Don’t worry, though—not long after the two trails merge, the trees begin to thin out, and the road turns rockier. This is your signal to pause, look back and admire the magnificent view of Oyama and Sagami Bay behind you. You might make out the island of Enoshima, and on a clear day you can see across the bay to the Boso Peninsula in Chiba.
First glimpse of Mount Oyama beyond the vegetation
Not long after this, you’ll find yourself climbing a wooden staircase. At the top is the first peak on your hike: Mount Ninoto, with benches for resting and surprisingly picturesque views of Mount Fuji beyond the rolling hills around Hadano.
Incidentally, the names “Ninoto” and “Sannoto” originally meant “second lantern” and “third lantern.” According to local lore, Karako Shrine used to have places of worship up on the mountains, complete with lanterns. (That’s why there’s no peak called “Ichinoto”—the “first lantern” was the main shrine, which can still be found in Hadano to the south.) The lanterns are long gone, but the names remain.
Benches at Ninoto, with Mount Fuji in the background
Several vantage points along the trail offer great views of mount Fuji
From Ninoto to Sannoto
The next segment of the trail, from Ninoto to Sannoto, is just half a kilometer or so. It follows the ridgeline, dipping down and then back up again to reach the broad plateau that is Sannoto. This peak also has public toilets—only available from April to September—and a spacious emergency shelter complete with log book.
You can’t miss the views of Mount Fuji from up on Sannoto, as well as Hakone and the Izu Peninsula to the south. But make sure that you walk all the way to the northernmost edge of the plateau, by the Jizo statue, to enjoy an unobstructed view of the Omote-One Ridge Trail that leads to Mount Tonotake and the heart of Tanzawa.
If you let your eyes follow the trail, you’ll see that the first point of interest it reaches is a slightly lower peak with a slightly smaller shelter on it. This is Mount Karasuo (“Crow’s Tail”), and it’s just a 30 or 40 minute round trip from Sannoto, if you’re up for a little bonus hiking. It also has a toilet available year-round!
Karasuo in the middle ground (looks doable, right?) and Tanzawa beyond
Once you’ve finished enjoying the view from Sannoto, the easiest way back is the way you came. If you’d like some variety, a short distance down the mountain from Ninoto, you can branch off into an alternate trail through the forest to the southwest. This route also passes by an impressive indentation in the rocky ground, which local legend calls a footprint of the ancient folk hero Yamato Takeru. This route eventually ends up back at the Bodaitoge parking lot, so if you came by bus you’ll need to walk back along the road to Fujimibashi and then to Yabitsutoge again.
Footprint not shown to preserve the mystery