Japan is a country not only rich in history and culture, but also with great nature and landscapes. Sand dunes, beaches, mountains, and forests, it’s a great place for outdoor lovers. Even near the biggest city of the world, Tokyo, you can try shinrin-yoku, the Japanese practice of taking a walk in the forest.
The Tokyo mountain hikes offer some of the best hikes in Japan and since it’s so close to the city, you can do one-day hikes from Tokyo quite easily without that much planning ahead, and you can choose among different hiking option according to your fitness level.
The double-peaked Mt. Tsukuba, in Ibaraki Prefecture) is one of the most popular climbs near Tokyo, with an easy route and spectacular views of the Kanto plain. It is one of the top 100 famous mountains in Japan, thanks to the unobstructed views as far as the eye can see.
Mt. Tsukuba is a fun, challenging hike that requires great concentration in some areas and also rewards a sturdy pair of hiking boots and even walking sticks if you feel so inclined.
Parts of the trail are steep and require minor rock climbing skills, but is a trail frequently hike by families with children as well as elderly people. The way-down is pretty steep, so many people hike up and then use the ropeway to return, saving their legs and enjoying the view. There are different routes to choose from, and you can enjoy an abandoned theme park on the way up, as well as a hot spring.
Mt. Takao in Western Tokyo, is a popular hiking destination and it’s considered the world’s most climbed mountain with its 2.6 million annual visitors. It is easily accessible from the city center, as it takes around an hour by train from Shinjuku and Tokyo stations. There are 6trails with different levels, Yakuoin Temple, and places to rest and eat around and on the trails, making it a great place to spend a day. There is also a ropeway and cable car and an onsen near the station where to relax after hiking.
Trails range in length and difficulty, from 30-minute loops around the summit to 4 to 5-hour hikes one-way from the foot to the top of the mountain. The hiking trail number 1 is completely paved, accessible also to strollers and with some attraction like the monkey park.
Yakuoin Temple is another reason to visit Mt. Takao. The temple buildings are scattered throughout various places on the mountain and along the trail, you will find tengu statues. Takaosan is also one of the best place to enjoy autumn leaves around Tokyo.
Kamakura is not only one of the most popular day trips from Tokyo but is actually a great place for easy hiking as well.
From Kita-Kamakura Station, you can hike the Daibutsu Hiking Course to the entrance of the Great Buddha Statue, before ending the day relaxing at Enoshima beaches.
The Ten-en Hiking Course connects Kencho-ji Temple and Zuisen-ji Temple and is part of the Kamakura Wildlife Protection Area. On the Ten-en Hiking Course, you’ll cross bamboo groves and valleys and get breathtaking views of mountain and sea.
Mt. Oyama is one of Tokyo’s top 50 scenic sites and the views get always better while climbing. There are a variety of different routes, so you can choose your difficulty level (including the option to just ride the cablecar and enjoy the views). Mt. Oyama has an awesome shrine and temple to see, and is also famous for tofu. You can find several shops and restaurant along the street to the ropeway (where also the hiking trails starts).
The onna-zaka is shorter than the otoko-zaka, and it pass by “seven wonders”, seven “landmark” like bridge, Jizo, cave and other natural elements. Once you reach the Oyama Afuri Shrine, you can follow signs for the Shimosha Trail to the main shrine and summit (although it is closed from Feb-April).
Mt. Mitake is another popular hiking spot located in the greater Tokyo area. It’s part of Chichibu-Tama-Kai National Park, a region known for its natual beauty, and you’ll have no shortage of that on Mount Mitake, which is home to an abundance of flora and fauna.
Head up the mountain to visit Musashi-Mitake Shrine, which has historically been and remains a prominent spot for shugendo, or Japanese mountain ascetics, is on the summit
The hike is roughly three hours one way, with a course that goes past gorgeous waterfalls and an observatory. Be sure to look for Ayahironotaki Falls, one of the waterfalls along the trail, which is used for meditation. Another must-see is the Rock Garden that, actually, is not a rock garden but a narrow valley.
Mount Kumotori is situated at the Saitama side of the Chichibu-Tama-Kai Park, which offers great hiking and remarkable lake views. The hiking trail also includes a breathtaking view from suspension bridges, a 2000-year-old shrine, and many mountain huts. The entire trail will take about 5 hours, including time taken to stop and admire scenic views.
The Mitsumine Shrine is a shrine at the summit of Mt Mitsumine, surrounded by a peaceful ambiance. It is well-known for its wolf kami, which is believed to provide protection from fire and theft. The shrine can be comfortably reached by bus or car, but also is part of a hiking trail network that connects Mt Mitsumine with nearby peaks and valleys. During your hike, you can also lookout for a small pavilion that overlooks the surrounding mountains and valleys.
Of course, we must include in the list of hiking from Tokyo also Mount Fuji, even is possible to climb it only during the summer season, from mid-July to mid-September. Mount Fuji is Japan’s tallest mountain, a live volcano, Unesco Heritage, and a once-in-a-lifetime experience. The mountain has 10 stations, but most people start climbing at night from one of the 4 Fifth station located midway up the mountain to make it to the summit for the sunrise.