You never forget your first time you hike to the top of a mountain. It’s not just the incredible views or the thrill of peeking out over the edge. It’s not so much the hike itself. The whole experience is something that sticks with you in a way that you just never forget.
Visitors to Tokyo would probably be surprised to find out that there are some excellent, and very accessible, mountain hikes like these found within city limits.
Mt. Mitake and Mt. Odake are one such pair of mountains in Tokyo’s Tama region, that offer adventure seeking visitors a fantastic experience close to the heart of Japan’s Capitol. And it’s an experience, as you’ll see, that’s easier to access than you think.
Mt. Mitake and Mt. Odake are located in Okutama and Ome, the westernmost part of Tokyo, in the city’s Tama region.
Getting to Mt. Mitake and Mt. Odake from the center of Tokyo is simple. All you have to do is hop on a train. Trains leave from both Haneda and Narita airports, as well as Shinjuku and Tokyo Stations, which means the hardest part of getting there is deciding which station to leave from. As long as you end up at Mitake Station, your final destination before the experience begins.
The train ride takes anywhere from two to three hours, depending on where you’re leaving from, and it escorts you through the incredibly beautiful, seemingly unspoiled Japanese countryside.
A fun combination of easy and challenging, the hikes at Mt. Mitake and Mt. Odake offer an original jaunt. And while the elevation gains aren’t anything to worry about, they can be tricky in parts. So keep your eyes open for more than just the prodigious scenery.
At Mt. Mitake, you have two choices. The first is to hike up from the base, which takes about an hour and is roughly 2.5 kilometers to the summit, 929 meters above sea level. Once there, you are not only greeted by a breathtaking view, but also the Musashi-Mitake Shrine. People believe that the shrine has been a place of worship for nearly 2,000 years.
The hike itself is also a nature lover’s paradise, offering hikers a chance to take in the many diverse plants and animals that call Okutama home. So be sure to bring your camera. You won’t want to miss your chance to photograph a Japanese Giant Flying Squirrel or colorful Frost Flower.
Luckily, for those who want to experience views but may not be able to do the hike, Mt. Mitake also has a cable car that can take you to the top. The ride presents you with all the sites you’d get to see if you walked, but makes the summit more accessible to everyone, young and old. It costs 570 yen to ride one way and the experience takes about six minutes.
Once you get to the top of Mt. Mitake, an adventure seeker like you will not want to miss the summit of Mt. Odake. The hike to the top of Mt. Odake takes another hour or so to achieve, from Mt. Mitake, and the views from the 1,267 meter summit are well worth the effort. The panoramic vista of the surrounding countryside is breathtaking and births the renewed and fresh feeling of hiking pride only a summit can.
After The Hike
There is no better way to end a hike than with a nice, cool soak in a calm river and, when hiking Mt. Mitake and Mt. Odake, the Tama River offers the perfect respite for your tired feet.
Access to the Tama River is located near Mitake Station, which means that you get a chance to cool down before jumping on the train back to Tokyo.
It’s the perfect end to a typical day in Tokyo’s Tama region.
This content was written by and is brought to you by our sponsor. It does not necessarily reflect the views of National Geographic or its editorial staff.