Tokyo is overflowing with people from all around the world and its city are constantly developing with the construction of new buildings, opening of new restaurants, shops and anything more you can think of. Some might get tired from these stream of people and would prefer to take a break out into the nature and of course, it's the perfect way to forget about the stresses of being in the big city right? Here’s some weekend or weekday getaway guide to hiking spots ideal for day trips from Tokyo.
Mt. Takao (easy)
Mt. Takao in the western Tokyo is a hugely popular spot and probably, the world’s most climbed mountain, as it’s a very easy hike, even for children. If you are planning to go over the weekend or during holiday season, the waiting line for the cable car may take upto 2 hours or even more. If you have strong legs, and don’t want to wait in line for long, try going route1 which is 3.8km in total, going up to the summit is between 70 -100 minutes, and going down is about an hour or so if you don’t stop in between.
However, there are many scenic spots and Yakuoin, an attractive temple along the trail so if you decide to take this route, don’t forget to add additional time to your hike.
If you are super lucky, you might be able to encounter this gentlemen who makes Tokyo Kokeshi Dolls. It’s a Japanese traditional wooden doll known as a lucky charm for children originated from Northern Japan.
While the traditional kokeshi doll is made out of two pieces of wood, the head and the body, he is the only person in Japan who can turn a single piece of wood into the shape of a doll and while trimming to make the neck thin, he makes this signature "necklace". He has no successor to pass on this skills and due to deforestation, the special wood to curve the dolls are more less gone. So it's a miracle to find it.
It’s a breathtaking moment to watch him carve the doll from a single block of wood, then like magic, the jaw-dropping moment to see the ring materialize.
Tokyo Kokeshi Doll, everything is handmade so no dolls are the same.
Shinjuku station to Takaosanguchi via Keio Line
※60 minute train ride
※Roundtrip ticket is offered including Shinjuku to Takaosanguchi with additional roundtrip for cable car, all inclusive for just 1390 yen for adults and 700 yen for children under the age of 12.
Mt. Kintoki is in Hakone, and the view from the top is absolutely stunning, with 360 degrees panoramic views and of course, Mt. Fuji in the distance.
The trail itself is about two hours and not too difficult, but some passages may demand good trekking/hiking shoes as they can be slippery especially after rain. Make sure to bring lots of water as it gets really hot during summer and there is no place to buy unless you reach the summit. At the summit, there is a toilet and little tea house where you can buy food and drink.Don’t forget to bring lots of coins as many huts and tea houses in the mountains will not accept credit card.
The easiest way to the top is to take this route.
If you decide to stay overnight and want to explore the outdoors in Hakone more, the article "Exploring the Outdoors in Hakone"might give you some ideas.
Shinjuku bus terminal to Kintoki-tozanguchi (金時登山口) or Kintoki-jinja-iriguchi (金時神社入口) bus stop via Odakyu Hakone Highway Bus
※ Strongly recommend to take either 6:35, 7:05, 7:35 or the 8:05am bus from Shinjuku bus terminal so that you have plenty of time to hike, take instagrammable photos and come down in time to catch the bus before it gets dark.
※Last bus leaves at 18:12 however, it gets dark fast and you will need a flashlight to get down. So going early in the morning and returning before sun down is highly recommended.
※The bus will cost 1940 yen (one way)
※Booking the ticket prior to the trip is essential
※2 hour bus ride
※To book and buy this ticket, go to the ticket center on the 4th floor at Shinjuku express bus terminal between 6am to midnight.
Mt. Tsukuba (easy)
Mt. Tsukaba is a double peaked mountain in Ibaragi prefecture. The two peaks, Mt. Nantai-san and Mt. Nyotai-san are connected so you can easily hike up both. There are several courses to choose the hike from, and of course there is a cable car/ rope way to make your hike even easier.
Akihabara station to Tsukuba/Tsukuba Center station via Tsukuba Express (45minute-ish)
Train ticket will cost 1,210 yen
Once you arrive, change to shuttle bus which operates once every hour.The bus will cost 740 yen. Unfortunately, the timetable is only available in Japanese but you can find it in here
※平日=weekdays 土日祝=Sat, Sun. and holidays.
※つくば センター Tsukuba Center/Tsukuba Station
※筑波山 神社入口 Mt. Tsukuba Shrine Entrance
※ つつじヶ丘 Tsutsujigaoka (where you can ride the Cable Car).
Ueno station to Tsuchiura station via JR Joban line (45minutes on express, 1 hour by local train)
From Tsuchiura station, take the bus.
※Note of caution, the bus on the way back is very limited so plan your hike really well. The timetable is in Japanese only but you can check from here.
※土浦駅 is Tsuchiura Station
※筑波山口 is Mt.Tsukuba Entrance.
Mt. Otake/Mt. Odake in Okutama (moderate)
On a clear sunny day, you can see a wonderful view of Mt. Fuji in the distance. The hike has some steep hills where it is mainly rock and tree roots. Good hiking shoes might be better than sneakers for safety and protection of your foot as this hike is between 4 to 5 hours round trip depending on how fast you walk. One of the recommended route to the summit is from Mitakesan station to rock gardens then to Mt. Otake/Mt. Odake, and back down via the loop. Just follow the signs as they are mostly in English. Don’t forget to stop by at the rock gardens for your final toilet break as there is no other while on this trail.
Its a bit complicated but to get to Mitakesan station where the trailhead is, you will need to take 2 trains, 1 bus and a cable car from Shinjuku station.
①Shinjuku station to Ome station via JR Chuo line bound for Ome station
②Ome station to Mitake station via JR Ome line bound for Okutama
※from Shinjuku to Mitake station, its about 70 minutes train ride
After finally arriving at Mitake Station and exiting the ticket gate, go down the stair on your left, you will find a bus stop with an English sign post “for Mt.Mitake cable car”. Get on this bus and get off at lower station(ケーブル下) of the Mitake cable car. Make sure to bring lots of coins! The bus costs 290 yen one way. There is only 2 bus per hour and its timetable is listed here.
※ Top is from Mitake Station to lower station (ケーブル下)
※Bottom is from lower station to Mitake station
※Blue is weekday, pink is weekends & holidays)
Once you get off the bus, go up the hill for 5 minutes to get on the cable car from Takimoto station to Mitakesan station where the trailhead is. Round trip will cost 1,130yen.
take the bus from here to head for Mt. Mitake cable car
Mt. Nokogiri (easy)
Mt. Nokogiri or the “Saw Mountain” stretches over east and west direction along the border of Futtsu city. As the name states, if you look at the mountain from a distance, its ridges with its wooded peaks and depressions somewhat resemble the shape of a saw.
The closest station to the trailhead is Hana-Kanaya Station on the JR Uchibo Line. If you take the special express train, Sazanami, either from Tokyo or Shinjuku station, it will be 90 minutes train ride. However, this express train don’t operate in some seasons so it's best to go to the nearest JR ticket offices and ask. Also, one way tickets change its prices depending on the season, but usually it's 2,420 yen (unreserved) and 2,920 yen (reserved).
Mt. Daibosatsu (moderately strenuous)
Mt. Daibosatsu is one of the 100 Famous Japanese Mountains. Its summit is at the altitude of 2057m and seems really high and challenging to get there. However, the trailhead is already at the altitude of 1600m making it relatively easy for hikers to get up. Plus, it's easily accessible via train and bus making it a popular destination for day trip. The mountain overlooks the Southern Alps, Yatsugatake, and even Okutama-sanzan in Tokyo plus Mt. Fuji on a clear sunny day.
It’s highly recommended for those who have strong legs and athletically fit as its trails get steeper towards the summit. Good hiking shoes is highly recommended for this hike. Bring lots of water but don’t worry. At the trailhead and in the mid point, there is a small hut where you can stop by for food, water and toilet break. Keep in mind that the hut is usually open from 8am to 4pm, but depending on the owner’s feelings, the opening and closing hours may change.
The trail is easily marked with some steep hills and rocky parts in between. If you stay on the trail, you will be able to walk in a loop and get back to the trailhead without getting lost.
You will need to take 2 trains and a bus to get to the trailhead.
Train (total about 90 minutes ride)
①Shinjuku to Otsuki station via JR Chuo Main line bound for Kofu
※take the express train Azusa
②Otsuki station to Kai-Yamato station via JR Chuo Main line bound for Kofu
Bus (about 40 minutes ride)
Kai-Yamato station to Kamihikawa Toge (上日川峠 ) stop
※There are only 5 buses per day from Kai-Yamato station to the Kamihikawa Toge stop where the trailhead is.
※The last bus from the trailhead leaves around 15:45. If you wish to enjoy the hike, strongly recommended to take either 8:10am or 9:20am bus from Kai-Yamato station since the hike may take 4 to 5 hours round trip depending on how fast you walk.
※Bus will cost 1000 yen one way and only accepts cash. Bring extra cash as the hut will not accept credit cards too.