Hiking: Mitake-san -> Okutama

by Paul Goodchild

Recently I’ve been trying to get out and get more hiking done in and around Tokyo so each time I get to do something, I’ll try and write up a quick summary for you so if you’re interested, you can have a go at it too.

The route

The route I took was Mitake-san (御岳山) → Ōdake-san (大岳山) → Nokogiri-yama (鋸山) → Okutama (奥多摩).  This region is as far West in the Tokyo prefecture as you can go before leaving Tokyo.

The nature of the trail was described as easy-medium in the Lonely Planet Guide, and for my inexperience and fitness level I found it to be closer to the medium.  Much of the trail was easy walking/hiking without too much challenge, though much of it could be a little steep at times.  There are areas closer to the peak of Ōdake-san, on both sides, that it gets quite rocky feeling more like a climb than a hike… but there’s nothing too dangerous about it though.  Since it was raining the day(s) beforehand, it could be a little risky without the appropriate footwear.

From the top of Ōdake-san you can then follow along the ridge of the mountains towards Nokogiri-yama which is itself a very pleasant hike with beautiful surroundings within the cedar wood forest.  Nokogiri is not as high as Mitake but the trail is as you’d expect it to be: full of uphill and downhill sections but not as much of a rock climbing feel as that for Mitake.  There isn’t much fanfare at the top of Nokogiri and with the surrounding vegetation there isn’t much in the way of a clear view of the valley.

Making your way from Nokogiri to Okutama (station) is mostly a downhill trek, though some areas are quite rocky and demand the use of chains that have been bolted into the rock to help you through the more tricky areas.  Other than these sections, that follow closely after the Nokogiri peak, the trail is quite a pleasant challenge to unseasoned hikers.

The trail ends in Okutama with a shrine and a serious of steps down to the main Okutama valley below.  Once you hit the main road, the main town can be reached by taking a left.

How to get there

It’s easy to get there, especially on the weekend and public holidays.  JR operates a holiday train (ホリデー快速) service that will take you straight from Shinjuku (新宿) as far out as Okutama without the need to change trains.  In JR Shinjuku station this line typically leaves from Platform 7 and will take roughly 90mins to reach Mitake (御岳) station.

If you’re taking this trip without the convenience of the holiday express line, take the following route:

  1. 新宿 → 立川 (中央線) / Shinjuku → Tachikawa (Chuō line)
  2. 立川 → 青梅 (青梅線) / Tachikawa → Ōme (Ōme line)
  3. 青梅 → 御岳 (青梅線) / Ōme → Mitake (Ōme line)

Sometimes the train you take on step 2 runs into 3 depending on the schedule, otherwise you’ll have to change train in Ōme.

Once you arrive at Mitake, you exit the station and take a very short walk down the road to the left and take the bus the bus bound for Takimoto (滝本).  After a short (~10min) ride you’ll arrive at the cable car station.  You have the option to take an hour walk to the upper station, or take the cable car.  Upon arrival at the upper station, follow the path called ‘Main Street’ and walk through the village until you reach the steps leading to the shrine at the top of Mitake-san.  You can visit the shrine at the top and/or take the trail that branches off to the left halfway up to begin the hike proper.

From there, you make your way over Ōdake-san, Nokogiri-yama and then down to Okutama.  Though many signs along the way are bilingual, it’s worth noting the Japanese for them in case you’re stuck.  You may also pick up an English map in the visitors centre in the village.

Facts

Route: Mitake-san (御岳山) → Ōdake-san (大岳山) → Nokogiri-yama (鋸山) → Okutama (奥多摩)

Mitake-san: 929m

Ōdake-san: 1267m

Nokogiri-yama: 1109m

Time for the whole hike: 4~6 hours.

Total distance: ~12km

  • Skymark Pilot

    Excellent directions, and a big help.
    Thank you very much for taking the time to post.
    C.R.

  • Glad to hear you found them useful!
    Cheers,
    Paul.

  • guest

    Thanks for the post.  Looking forward to trying this out.  maybe tomorrow if the weather holds.

  • IR

    I’m going tomorrow, thank you so much for your post Paul!

  • Nora Salvi

    Thanks for posting this, seems to be an excellent day trip. I’m looking forward to try this route on my tour to Japan next month.

  • Mitakesan

    Hello! Did you the hike solo and do you think it would be safe for a solo female hiker? How long did it take to hike from Mitake Shrine (if you started from there) to the peak of Otake-san? Thanks.

  • Abhi

    Did this hike today. Thanks for the excellent instructions!!

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