Ultimate Guide to Climbing a Mountain Near Tokyo

By Elizabeth Martin | August 28, 2023 

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    While there are countless mountains worth exploring, this is your ultimate guide to beginner and intermediate Tokyo mountain climbing. We’ll explore what to bring, where to go, how to get there, and how to have a fun experience. We also provide some basic Tokyo mountain information for our expert climbers, and a few ideas for mountain sports in the winter months (yes, there are places to go near Tokyo!). And, finally, there are even some itineraries for you to check out for you next Tokyo mountain adventure if you’d rather keep the planning to us. 

    This article is a part of our extensive series on Learning about Japan through Online Japanese Lessons at Japan Switch.


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    3 Things to Keep in Mind if You've Never Climbed a Mountain

    Do Some Research On Your Mountain

    First things first: research your mountain! Lucky for you, we’ve done the work and provided that research here if you decide to climb a Tokyo mountain. It’s always good to know what kinds of activities are provided (cultural sites, inns, museums), where the food is at (shops, restaurants, vending machines), when is the best time to go (which you can learn about more through our Ultimate Guide to Seasons in Japan), and what kind of gear you’ll need. 

    Wear the Right Gear - Shoes are Important!

    Shoes, shoes, shoes. If nothing else, prepare good shoes for climbing a Tokyo mountain. Regardless of the ease of the trail, remember that you’re hiking a mountain, and whether or not the actual trail is steep, the edge of the mountain can be a long way down. Prepare yourself with shoes that are comfy, and have a good grip for any kind of terrain (make sure they have traction on stone, in particular, as most any trail will have a section that goes over rock, especially in stair-loving Japan). Two tried-and-true favorites (certified by the professionals) are the Merrell Moab and the Columbia Newton Ridge Plus Waterproof.

    Beyond shoes (and socks), remember you’re ascending a mountain and the air can get cold. There’s a reason hikers climb mountains in the summer (for more details check out our Ultimate Guide to Summer in Japan) and it’s because it’s much cooler at the top! This means that in the spring and fall months in particular it’s important to bring a jacket, even if at the base of the mountain it seems you won’t need it. Believe it or not, most mountains won’t have any kind of gear stores near them, so you’ll need to buy or rent this gear in advance.

    Walking sticks or walking poles are optional, but for beginner hikers you might want them! They’ll help you balance and even provide you a bit of extra grip if your shoes aren’t doing the trick (please, let them do the trick - get the good ones!).

    Pack Your Own Snacks & Water

    Even though we’re letting you know where the food is located, you’re going to want to bring some of your own. Water is a given, and it’s okay to pack a lot. Although that will be a heavy weight at the bottom of the mountain, it also gives incentive to drink it and lighten the load. About a half a liter of water is recommended for every 1 hour of hiking, so pack accordingly.

    Snacks such as granola bars, nuts, trail mix, or even sandwiches are something you should bring with you as well, all of which you’re generally able to find at any conbini or supermarket near you. (If you need help, we also have a guide for that, the Ultimate Guide to Shopping in a Japanese Supermarket) In terms of bars, any kind of bar that packs nuts will also do great, just steer clear of the pure chocolate ones (unless that’s the piece of chocolate you’re bringing for the trip). Best to stay away from the protein shakes until after the trek, as those might run through your system too fast for the climb. Even if you plan to have lunch, it’s best to have things to boost your energy–or even to have as a quick excuse to take a breather. 

    Two sets of feet overhanging a mountain summit

    How to Choose the Right Tokyo Mountain for Your Ability


    So What Even is Easy?

    If you’ve never been mountain climbing before, don’t overdo it. For absolute beginners, we recommend choosing a hike that’s within 5 kilometers as a starting point. Mountain climbing is no time to impress new friends or overexert yourself - it’s a time for nature, maybe a little bit of small talk (when you’re not out of breath), and breathing in some mountain air. If it’s your absolute first time hiking, definitely bring a companion. Your companion doesn’t necessarily have to have a lot of experience either, but don’t spend your first hike lonely or lost.

    Easy climb up any mountain is for those who generally enjoy walking. That being said, our recommendations here might be considered moderately strenuous to some, and that’s because we’re suggesting mountains! There will be a climb, but nothing a person who can climb stairs in a multi-story building won’t be able to tolerate. Easy hikes and mountain climbs are generally around two hours.

    Our number one recommendation for beginner hikers is to check the weather, and also check sunrise and sundown times - don’t get caught on the mountain after dark.

    REI also provides some great insight on hiking for beginners, which can be found here.

    Am I Intermediate Yet?

    So you’ve been hiking before. Maybe even a lot, but you’ve never really hiked any steep parts or taken on trails that are upwards of four to five hours. Intermediate mountain climbs will definitely include some unpaved roads, 5-6 hour hikes, and a few steep inclines. They won’t generally include any extra gear climbing gear, but they might take you out of breath. Most of the time these climbs go upwards of 800 meters. You’ll likely take the whole day off for a hiking experience.

    Am I Ready for Advanced? (Questions Not to Ask.)

    If you’re ready for advanced hiking, you won’t be asking that question. This is because experienced hikers know what to pack, what kind of gear to bring (they generally already own it), and are able to read the trail maps on their own. Any kinds of suggestions we list here for advanced hikers will be taken with a grain of salt and they might do extra research on their own (in fact, we encourage this). Advanced hikers are prepared for entire day (or multi-day) hikes, 1500 meter or more elevation, and hiking off the trailheads.

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    Bugs and Animals (How Worried Should I Be?)

    It generally goes without saying, but the further you get from Tokyo the higher the chances of animal and bug encounters. That being said, a majority of the mountains nearby Tokyo won’t have especially dangerous flora or fauna. While there is a possibility of bears, you’re more likely to see some large bugs, such as the Japanese giant hornet. If there are any animals to be aware of near the mountains, the signage on these trails, whether written in English or Japanese, will also clarify with visual photos as well, so there should be no need to fear surprising encounters.The following are three bugs and animals you are most likely to see.

    Japanese Giant Hornet

    The Japanese Giant Hornet is a brightly colored orange and black wasp that will be hard to miss if you come across it. Wasp nests in the wilderness are generally near the ground, in fallen logs or holes in the ground. Take care not to aggravate any places that look like they could be a wasp nest, and you should be good. If you see any of these giant hornets, take care not to aggravate them, stay calm, and walk away. In the event that you are stung, wash it with clean drinking water and wait 20 minutes to see if you have any adverse reactions. If the stinger is caught where it stung you, carefully remove it before washing again with more clean water.

    Stink Bug

    This is a bug you’re most likely to see around. Small and brown, you might see it crawling along on a leaf or a log, but it is completely harmless. It is, however, called a stink bug for a reason, so best to just leave it alone.


    You are rather likely to see warnings for snakes near trailheads, but also very unlikely to encounter ones that will pose a danger to you. The most common snakes in Japan gather near rivers, so be wary not to step on any near bodies of water, but these ones will likely be nonpoisonous regardless. Do not touch any of the snakes, and if you encounter one observe it from a distance and move around it.

    Two hikers walking along a pathway in various types of gear, one with a backpack and sunhat, the other with a backpack and hiking poles, walking along on a fairly sunny day

    What to Bring for a Tokyo Mountain Climb



    There’s a vast amount of gear that could be required for any Tokyo mountain climb, but we want to provide you with the essentials. As you work your way from beginner to intermediate or even advanced, you’ll start to build your own list of necessities, maybe even specifically for Tokyo mountain climbs. But here’s what you should start with.

    Absolute Necessities

    What should I bring extra of?
    Bring extra food, extra water, and extra clothes no matter the season and no matter the hike. It’s better to be over-prepared rather than under-prepared, even if it adds a little bit of weight. 

    • A Backpack 
      Where else are you going to pack your stuff if not a backpack? We don’t recommend a purse or shoulder bag, because that won’t properly distribute the weight and will set you aching right away.
    • Shoes
      You can check Amazon for hiking shoes as a starting point. Good hiking shoes offer ankle support, have laces (forget the velcro), and lots of traction.
    • Hat, Gloves
      It gets cold at the top of any mountain, and you might need a hat or gloves even in summer. Even if it’s not cold, gloves are great for preventing mosquito bites or for when you want to go around touching trees.
    • Sunscreen, Mosquito Repellent
      Bring sunscreen and bug spray. Even in winter, it’s good to protect your skin, and bug spray will be a much-desired commodity if you’re the only friend packing it. Just be aware that some bug sprays might attract flies while repelling the mosquitoes, so if all you’ve seen are flies and no mosquitoes, it’s okay to withhold it.
    • Bandaids and Pain Medications
      Chances of getting hurt are slim, but not none. Most of our provided Tokyo mountain trails provide some sort of first aid somewhere on the mountain, but for small scrapes band-aids are a good idea. Beyond that, even if you don’t get hurt it’s best to have pain meds in the event you start to get a headache on the trail. (But note that if you’re getting a headache, it’s most likely because you’re dehydrated and water should be the first step before the medication.)

    Optional Gear

    • Hiking poles
      For some beginner hikers, hiking poles might offer some extra balance and stability. Particularly on Mount Fuji you’ll see plenty of hikers rocking these extra appendages as they attempt the climb.

    The Right Kind of Food

    You can leave the lollipops at home, if nothing else. Best not to go around with something that could harm you if you fall down. That being said, sugar isn’t entirely without its place on the trail, and small bits of sweets could help you power through. This is why trail mix with chocolate is a common trail food (hence the name). Chocolate will provide you a bit of short-term energy while the nuts will give you that longer-lasting fuel. In addition to trail mix, dried fruits, jerky, and crackers are all great snack-packing options. For meals, we recommend something easily wrapped like a sandwich, or onigiri (rice balls). Remember that any trash you take in with you, you should also be taking out with you.

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    Minimizing Environmental Impact

    Pack Up Your Trash

    It’s extremely important when hiking to pack out what you pack in, i.e. any trash or objects you bring with you hiking should also exit the hiking trails with you. Minimizing environmental impact is extremely important in natural areas, so packing an extra (plastic or foldable) bag to put your trash in might be smart. This is especially true in the Tokyo mountain area, where trash accumulates more easily.

    Stay on Designated Trails

    Additionally, it’s best to stay on the demarcated trails or within the boundary lines of any fencing/gates. There may be times when going off the marked path is unavoidable, but where possible staying on the right trails will minimize any impact to plant and wildlife. It also helps with keeping the right trails properly demarcated, so that others don’t get confused in the future (the more people that walk to a certain area, the more clearly a new pathway is created). 

    Clean Your Shoes

    After every hike, it’s best to clean the bottom and sides of your shoes where possible, especially with any kind of disinfecting wipe or solution. This will minimize your chances of carrying non-native plant life (such as fungus or any kind of plant seeds) to other trails and places they don’t belong. (It’s for this very reason some countries will ask at customs whether you’ve brought shoes with you that you went hiking in.)

    Top 5 Beginner and Intermediate Tokyo Mountains

    The famous tengu statue at Mount Takao

    1. "The" Tokyo Mountain, Mount Takao

    No list of any mountains near Tokyo could probably ever be complete without including Mount Takao. From Shinjuku Station, the mountain can be reached in under an hour, no car necessary. The easy access and its role as a sacred mountain brings in well over a million visitors annually, and for that it can be quite crowded. Despite this, Mount Takao shouldn’t be disregarded as a spot for hiking, if one only knows which trails to hike to avoid the crowds.

    The mountain itself offers a variety of activities along the trails, so beyond hiking it can provide plenty of entertainment for those looking. Along the trails there are various shops for snacking and eating, as well as cultural sites. Yakuo-in Temple is located here, which is one of the most famous temples in Tokyo. (For more details on temples and shrines in the Tokyo area, check out the Ultimate Guide to Shrines and Temples in Tokyo.) The Monkey Park is another of the most popular stops, but there is also the Suspension Bridge along Trail 4. For any Mount Takao hiker, Takao 599 Museum lies at the base of the mountain. Entry is free, and it showcases the local ecosystem of Mount Takao. At the summit, there is a visitor’s center with further information about the mountain. Its hours are from 9:00am to 4:30pm, but closed on Mondays. On top of informational pamphlets, the center provides first aid services, guided walks, and even a flying squirrel exhibit. 

    What You Need to Know

    • Location

      Takaosanguchi Station (not Takao Station!)

    • Access

      • By Train: from Shinjuku, take the Keiō Line to Takaosanguchi Station
      • By Car: There are several parking lots located at the mountain, but they fill up quickly (especially on weekends or holidays), so it is most recommended to arrive by train, or else very early in the morning.
      • By Bicycle: If biking to the mountain or bringing your bike, there is bicycle parking located at Takaosanguchi Station.

    • Best for

      Solo or Group Travel (many travel here in groups)

    • Best Time to Go

      Mount Takao is accessible year-round, but it is especially beautiful in Spring or Autumn. The best time to go is early morning, around 9am, to ensure less crowds and that mountain sites will be open for access.

    • Difficulty Level

      Easy (Intermediate for Trail 6 or the Inariyama Trail)

    • Hike Duration

      • Trail 4: 1hr 30mins roundtrip
      • Trail 6: 2hrs 30 minutes roundtrip

    • Busiest Times

      Spring, Autumn, Holidays. Generally, the main trails will be most busy in the afternoon, 12pm to 3pm.

    Our Recommended Route

    Although by far the easiest trail at the mountain, Trail 1 (Omotesando Trail) isn’t a good start for the sheer volume of people that walk it. It is a paved trail that is best for enjoying the cultural sites, but will not provide a solid hiking excursion. Instead, we recommend Trail 3 (Suspension Bridge Trail) or Trail 4 (Katsura Forest Trail). Both trails do require walking along trail 1 from the station first, but will then split off from the Monkey Plant and Wild Garden. If you would rather avoid hiking Trail 1 almost entirely, taking the cable car or the 2-person chair lift is also an option (you will exit these lifts prior to the trail split).

    Intermediate hikers may want to try out hiking Trail 6, which starts from the station and does not require any hiking along Trail 1. The Trail 6 hike will take you along the Biwa Waterfall, where you may spot some people undergoing religious waterfall training. The trail does not go entirely to the summit, so those desiring to go all the way up will need to finish the last bit to the summit along trail 5 (the Summit Loop trail), or branch off from the Summit Loop along one of the other trails (Trail 1 or the Inariyama both also ascend further). 


    There are a lot of festivals at Mount Takao, which will crowd the main trail but also provide some really cool experiences, if one is willing to brave the crowds. Two festivals that occur in Spring and Fall are the Takao Wakaba Festival and the Autumn Leaves Festival. Both festivals last for about a month (April-May and November), with plenty of music and dance performances.


    Check out our Ultimate Guide to Annual Events in Tokyo page to stay on top of them and make the best of your year.

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    2. Mount Kobo, Trail & Onsen

    This Mount Kobo hike is a bit of a longer trail at just over 7 kilometers, but it is neither especially steep or challenging. Instead of a single mountain, the trail will take hikers over the course of four mountains, but the highest peak is less than 250 meters. This trail is most well-known for the natural beauty of the trail and the cultural sites that you can view along the way. Additionally, if you hike this trail in the morning, there is a higher chance of getting a beautiful view of Mount Fuji on a clear day. Unlike other trails in the Tokyo mountain area, there is a significant lack of English signage along the trail, but as there is a single pathway and it is not too far off-road, it is a fairly straightforward hike. At the end of the hike, there is even a natural hot spring that is available from 10am to 8pm.

    What You Need to Know

    • Location

      Hadano Station, Odakyu Odawara Line

    • Access

      • By train: Approximately 70 Minutes from Shinjuku by the Odakyu Line (To return: depart from Tsurumakionsen Station, Odakyu Line). Exit the North Exit at Hadano Station.
        The entrance of the trail will read “
        弘法山公園 入口”, and it will be on a very small, brown sign that is easy to miss. Typing either that kanji or “Mount koubou hiking trail” will show the start of the trail on google maps.

    • Best for

      Solo Hikers

    • Best Time to Go

      Winter, Cherry Blossom Season

    • Difficulty Level


    • Hike Duration

      3 Hours

    • Busiest Times

      Weekends, Holidays


    Learn more about what to do at an onsen at our Ultimate Guide to Private Onsen!

    View of the Tokyo mountain from across a field on a sunny day

    3. Mount Tsukuba

    As an alternative to Mount Fuji, Mount Tsukuba is the obvious other choice for a Tokyo mountain. If there are “two mountains of Tokyo”, Tsukuba is the second one after Fuji. The two mountains even have their own lore associated with each other, which showcases how important they both are as a Tokyo mountain. Mount Tsukuba, while a mountain that can certainly be tackled by a beginner, may be rather steep for those who are unused to an incline. For those wanting a break going either up or down, there is a cable car and rope-line for assistance. If it is at all muddy, people generally take the rope-line back down to avoid slipping.

    What You Need to Know

    • Location

      Nearest station is Tsukuba Station

    • Access

      • By train & bus: Tsukuba Express to Tsukuba Station, bus to the mountain trailheads (bus is exclusively for the mountain, so exiting at either trailhead is fine)

    • Best for

      2+ (Twin mountain peaks invites friends! Or try your luck at meeting a partner on the trail, if you wish.)

    • Best Time to Go

      Fall, Autumn (Avoid rainy season or rainy days)

    • Difficulty Level


    • Busiest Times

      Weekends, Holidays

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    4. Mount Oyama

    Not too far from Mount Kobo is another Tokyo mountain that could be considered an easy or beginner level climb, but offers plenty of intermediate hiking trails as well. This trail isn’t too hard for the inexperienced, but will be significantly steeper than some other trails near Tokyo (expect a lot of stairs!). This means that while it is still beginner to advanced level, you can expect to work up a sweat and get some “real” Tokyo mountain climbing experience. There are two main trails, one of which (Onna-zaka) will bring you to the temple and provide a slightly easier route to the top, while the other (Otoko-zaka) will be faster to the top but also steeper (classifying this second trail as more intermediate level).

    What You Need to Know

    • Location

      Oyama Cable Car Station (Bus Stop)

    • Access

      • By train: Odakyu Line to Isehara, Bus 10 to 大山ケーブル(Oyama Cable Car Station)
      • By car: There are some small paid lots at the base of the mountain, but you need to arrive very early to find a spot.

    • Best for

      Solo Hikers

    • Best Time to Go

      Early Morning, Autumn

    • Difficulty Level

      Easy / Intermediate (trail-dependent)

    • Hike Duration

      5-6 Hours

    • Busiest Times

      Autumn, Holidays

    • Recommended Route

      • Beginner: Onna-zaka
      • Intermediate: Otoko-zaka
        Both routes have some steep parts, so please remember to bring proper shoes!

    A pathway in the woods

    5. Mount Kawanori

    The last mountain on this list is still intermediate, but it’s pushing a harder difficulty level than just intermediate. It doesn’t necessarily require any extra gear or entertain severely difficult inclines, but it is a rather long one at upwards of 6 hours. Additionally, while the signage at the bottom of the mountain (at the start of the trailheads) is written in English (some of the time), the summits are written entirely in Japanese. (We have a guide for that, too! The Ultimate Guide to Japanese Kanji.) That being said, the trails are well-maintained and visible, and the amount of people on the weekends should make it easy to tell which way to go.

    What You Need to Know

    • Location

      There are a number of routes, but the recommended one here is:
      川苔山登山口 Mt. Kawanori Mountain Trailhead
      古里 Kori Station

    • Access

      From Tokyo Station, Chuo Line to Oku-tama Station, then a bus to Kawanori Bashi (乗橋)

    • Best for

      2+ People

    • Best Time to Go

      Autumn and winter
      If you are interested in following after other people (due to the lack of English signage), the weekend might be the best time to go
      Additionally, the waterfall freezes in winter, which makes for some spectacular photography.

    • Difficulty Level


    • Hike Duration

      Enter description text here.

    • Busiest Times


    • Recommended Route

      At the trailhead, head in the direction of Kawanori Summit, and just keep following the trail (there will be signs). Majority of hikers will be going the same direction, and the good news is that no matter which way you end up exiting the trail, you’ll have accomplished a good hike and will have arrived at one of the stations along the Chuo Line (this is the main reason we suggest starting at the Kawanori trailhead, to ensure you exit another way). For better ease, however, the map is also included below.

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    Top 3 Advanced Tokyo Mountains for Experts

    For any intermediate hiker looking to attempt an expert hike listed here, these mountains can involve extreme heights, climbs on ladders bolted to sheer rock-face, and all are whole-day hikes that could easily turn into 2-day excursions (some mountains have lodging at the peaks or along the way). These hikes need to be meticulously planned out to ensure no one is hurt or lost, so any intermediate-to-advanced hikers expecting to up their mountain climbing game should absolutely spend their first outing on one of these mountains with an actual expert.

    Mountains early in the morning

    1. Tanzawa Mountain Range (Elevation Varies Depending on Mountain Peak)

    Rather than a single mountain, this mountain range provides our expert hikers with a multi-peak, whole day hiking challenge. There is not much information on the mountain in English provided online (although this site does a good job), but the signs on the mountain will all be in English.

    What You Need to Know

    • Location

      Starting point at Okura ( 大倉)

    • Access

      Train & Bus: Odakyu Line from Shinjuku to Shibusawa Station, then bus 02 from 渋沢駅北口 to Okura

    • Trail Map

      Found here

    • Best for

      2+ Climbers

    • Best Time to Go


    • Kind of Climb

      Rocky terrain, steep inclines

    • Required Gear

      Beyond proper hiking gear, no additional hiking gear is required - unless it is winter in which case crampons (metal spikes that attach to your boot, for the curious reader) may be a requirement

    • Nearby or Additional Info

      There are a lot of huts and stops along the trail, some which operate only on the weekends, but will have provisions

    Mount Yake-dake, a Tokyo Mountain

    2. Mount Yake-Dake (Elevation: 2,455 Meters)

    This mountain is actually less of a mountain and more of an active volcano, so there will be times that the volcano is inaccessible due to volcanic activity. That can be tracked at the Japanese Meteorological Agency, which has English information provided here. There are four trailheads for this hike, which each have different experiences.  More information on these routes can be found here.

    What You Need to Know

    • Location

      Northern Kita Alps

    • Access

      Car & Bus Access, but cars cannot access the Kamikochi trailhead

    • Best for

      2+ Climbers

    • Best Time to Go

      Late Spring through Early Fall

    • Kind of Climb

      Heavily depends on the trail

    • Required Gear

      No additional gear required

    • Nearby or Additional Info

      Yakedake Hut on the trail route, lodging and food at trailheads and near the parking lots

    • Recommended Route

      For a day hike, route 158

    A woman climbing up a pathway via a chain

    3. Mount Kentoku (Elevation: 2,031 meters)

    The signs for this mountain will be more in Japanese than English, so it is recommended to prepare your route in advance. Further, this is most often hiked as a two-day hike, so plan accordingly if this is something that interests you. This Tokyo mountain brings you climbing through beautiful, tall forests, up rock faces, and even through some flowery fields at the right time of year. There will be some steel ladders and chain-climbing, but even those rock faces have their own type of beauty.

    What You Need to Know

    Two people sitting down on a bench, observing Mount Fuji in Tokyo
    • Location

      Chichibu-Tama-Kai National Park

    • Access

      • Train to Enzan Station, bus to Keitokuzantozanguchi Bus Stop
      • Parking is available at this trailhead, or some of the other trailheads. Some trailheads are car-access only.

    • Best for

      2+ Climbers

    • Best Time to Go


    • Kind of Climb

      Technical climb, ladder climbs, chain climbs

    • Required Gear

      No additional gear required, unless a multi-day trip

    • Nearby or Additional Info

      Kougen Hut is a free-stay along the trail

    Basic Japanese for Tokyo Mountain Climbing

    There’s no need to be a Japanese expert or conversationalist when you’re mountain climbing (although it could certainly help for reading some kanji-only signs or checking in at your onsen), but knowing a few phrases might help you out on the trail. If this doesn't cut it for you, try checking out a bit more about Basic Japanese or Japanese Culture for an extra boost. Here's even a list of 1000 Japanese words you might want to know.

    Basic Japanese for Tokyo Mountain Climbing

    やま ya-ma Mountain
    とざん tou-zan Mountain Climbing
    とざん ぐち tou-zan gu-chi Trailhead
    とうざん どう tou-zan dou Trail (hiking trail)
    すみません su-mi-ma-sen Excuse me?
    たすけて ta-su-ke-te Help
    たすけて もらえますか? ta-su-ke-te mo-ra-e-ma-su-ka? Can you help me?
    おみず o-mi-zu Water
    たべもの ta-be-mo-no Food items / snacks
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    Kanji driving you crazy?

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    Best Itinerary for Beginner or Intermediate Tokyo Mountain Climbers

    What makes this itinerary either beginner or intermediate depends on the trail you take! We recommend starting this hike earlier in the morning (10 or 11am) so that you can enjoy the scenery, the beautiful stops, and not stress. 

    Hiking Route

    Mt Oyama Beginner Hike Itinerary Route: Onna-zaka
    Mt Oyama Intermediate Hike Itinerary Route: Otoko-zaka

    Begin your hike along the same main trail until you reach the split, and then select your trail. The trails are named after women (onna) and men (otoko) respectively, but of course you will see people of all genders on either trailway!

    Oyama Afuri Shrine

    Along the trail, you will make your way to the historic Afuri Shrine, which in ancient times used to see 200,000 visitors annually. It is one of the most beautiful views near Tokyo, which is part of the reason it makes it such a popular destination in modern day, as well.


    Bring snacks and maybe a quick meal for your hike, but the number-one must-try on your trip is Oyama Tofu! There will be plenty of spots near the base of the mountain, all located at small inns, many of which have been in business since the Edo period. Their meals will specialize in highlighting the taste of the Oyama Tofu, and a meal at one of these inns is really something you can’t miss.

    Ryokan / Onsen & Hotel

    Tsurumaki Onsen Jinya

    This Inn triples as an onsen, lunch spot, and/or overnight stay. It’s a bit further away from the base of the mountain, but can be accessed from Isehara Station (after taking the return bus to the station) via the Odakyu Line to Tsurumakionsen Station. It is also 17 minutes by car from the base of the mountain. Their website can be displayed all in English, for ease of reservation, or they also accept walk-ins if there is space available. Buying lunch gains you free or discounted access to the onsen. You can find a guide to Japanese private onsen here.


    Learn more about this at our Ultimate Guide to Monkey Onsen

    A family walking along a hiking pathway

    Best Itinerary for a Family Climbing a Tokyo Mountain: A Day at Mount Takao

    This hike is probably best in late Spring, when it is neither too hot nor too cold along the mountain (the mountain can get quite chilly closer to the winter months). During cherry blossom season it will be especially crowded, so we don’t recommend traveling at that time unless you’re ready to keep a very close eye on your kids in a crowd. Go on a weekday and sometime in the off-season so that it will be less crowded. Trail 1 is our recommended path because it is relatively paved (although not so well-paved as to recommend a stroller for the entire route), but it should be noted that there is not fencing for all areas of this Tokyo mountain. Be aware of where your kids are at, and their personal abilities, but overall the trail is quite safe and kid-friendly. If you would like additional information about the mountain, Takao 599 Museum at the base of the mountain provides plenty of pamphlets and also offers information in English. 

    The Route

    Depending on your kids’ abilities, you could start out at Trail 1 or take the cable car up. The lift is only fit for two people, so unless you are a parent with one child (that you trust on a chair lift), we don’t recommend that route. The cable car can be quite busy, so be aware that there may be a waiting time of up to an hour or more on busy days or at busy times. In particular, on the way back down the mountain, make sure to line up by 4pm at the latest in order to be able to make the last cable car at 5:30pm.

    Kids Activity

    Nearby the cable car station is the Monkey Park and the Wild Plant Garden. Around the Monkey Park and Wild Plant Garden loops Trail 2 (Kasumidai Loop Trail), which we recommend as one of the easiest hikes on the mountain. For any kids needing to burn excess energy, a quick loop around might take about 50 minutes, or you could loop half of it. Unless your kids are a bit older, we don’t recommend hiking all the way to the summit. The entirety of trail 1 is 100 minutes up and 80 minutes down for regular hikers, so it may be a bit too long for young kids. Even without hiking to the summit, the Monkey Park and Wild Plant Garden provide plenty of entertainment in between a short hike up and down. 


    Along the trail, there will be plenty of cheap snacks like dango and even ice cream, but for hungry snackers we recommend packing some extra food for your hike. A must try is the Tengu-yaki, shaped after Karasu Tengu, a long-nosed goblin. The Karasu Tengu is said to ward off evil, so you might encourage your kids to ward off any of their extra fussiness for the day!

    Near the cable car, at the start of the trail, and even along the trail, there will be lots of spots offering soba, as well as things like hot dogs and pizza, so we recommend any of those spots for meal-ready children. There will be vegetarian and even vegan options at some restaurants.


    Takao Trick Art Museum & Takao 599 Museum

    The Takao Trick Art Museum might not take up a lot of time for adults, but this is one site that your kids will love. Don’t forget to take plenty of photos in the various rooms, as your kids will love seeing the results. Beyond the Trick Art Museum, there’s also the Takao 599 Museum, which is a small but creative museum that showcases the Takao ecosystem. Your kids will enjoy seeing the immersive artwork.


    Keio Plaza Hotel Hachioji

    For those desiring to turn their day-trip into an overnight stay, we recommend Keio Plaza Hotel Hachioji. All their services are offered in multiple languages including English, and they are kid-friendly. The hotel is located further into downtown Hachioji, but is only about 30 minutes away from the base of Mount Takao.

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    Too Cold for Hiking? 2 Recommendations for Winter Activities on a Tokyo Mountain

    For advanced skiers or snowboarders, Tokyo mountain destinations for winter sports might not satisfy when Hokkaido and other ski spots are a short flight away, but for those looking closer to Tokyo, these resorts can provide some fun getaway. So long as you don’t mind a bit of fake snow, beginner skiers, snowboarders, or those wanting to just enjoy some winter fun might check these places out. We also have an Ultimate Guide to Skiing in Japan and an Ultimate Guide to Winter Activities in Japan that might help you along, too.

    A cable car and ski lift in winter on a Tokyo mountain

    Snowtown Yeti, Mount Fuji

    This is one of those Tokyo mountain areas you'll have heard of if you've talked about any kind of winter activities in Japan. It's most well-known for opening the season earlier than other ski resorts, generally in October. Although its snow is man-made, that doesn't detract from the amount of activities this resort holds. For those who are interested in a quick, easy stop, this is the winter Tokyo mountain recommendation for you.

    • Location

      Yeti (Bus Stop)

    • Access

      Shuttle Bus (Recommended): Shuttle buses are provided as listed here from JR Gotemba Station, JR Mishima Station, or JR Fuji Station)

    • Kinds of Activities

      Skiing, Snowboarding, Sledding, Snow Play

    • Busiest Times


    • Rental Offered?


    • Nearby or Additional Info

      Occasional Night-time Snow Sports (Overnight skiing/snowboarding/sledding

    Yuzawa (Niigata Prefecture)

    This is less of a single mountain, and more of an area of mountains that is arguably the most easily accessible from Tokyo. Because of this, it’s a rather popular destination by Tokyoites in the winter. In just under two hours by train, you can access a variety of winter resorts like Yuzawa Kogen and Ishiuchi Maruyama. Even if you don’t ski or snowboard, some resorts like Gala Yuzawa have additional areas for sledding or playing in the snow.

    • Location

      Echigo-Yuzawa Station (Niigata Prefecture)

    • Access

      • By train: From Ueno station, take Joetsu Shinkansen to Echigo-Yuzawa
      • By car: parking is available at resorts, but snow tires are required in the winter

    • Kinds of Activities

      Skiing, Snowboarding, Sledding, Onsen

    • Busiest Times

      January and March are the busiest months of the winter season

    • Rental Offered?

      Yes (some hotels, all resorts)

    • Nearby or Additional Info

      Onsen Resort, non-winter season recreational activities such as bobsledding, zipline, and go-karting are also offered summer through fall at some resorts

      • Winter lodging recommendation
        Yuzawa Grand Hotel is located at Echigo-Yuzawa station and has its own onsen


    There's so much to know and learn, and even plenty more to do! Check it all out at our Ultimate Guide to Activities in Japan in Winter.

    Final Thoughts

    Overall, there’s quite a lot to do in and around any mountain near Tokyo, so this serves merely as a base-point to get you started on your own hiking adventures, whether you’re beginner or expert. Pretty soon, any beginner hikers might even be on their way to starting more advanced adventures, and expert hikers in the area can begin making their own extra itineraries hiking from mountain to mountain. (We wish you well on your multi-day trips.)

    Happy Climbing!

    A hiker victorious on their Tokyo mountain climb

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