The best day hikes from Tokyo

Discover hidden nature near Japan’s capital

My love for hiking started in Japan during the pandemic year. With many other forms of entertainment closed, I was looking for a way to spend time while being able to maintain social distancing; hiking. Thankfully, hiking is already a very popular pastime in Japan and therefore, there are many hiking trails around to explore. Here are some of my favorites which can be done as a day trip from Tokyo:

1. Jogasaki Coastline

Stunning cliffs and a waterfall towards the end of Jogasaki Coast hike

How to get there

The best way to reach the hike is to travel to Jogasaki Kaigan station from Atami station and then walk to the beginning of the hike from there (see map below). To get to Atami, you can take the Shinkansen Bullet train or the slower Tōkaidō Line (both covered by the JR pass).

Map of Jogasaki Coast Hike

2. Mt. Takao

Views from the top of Mount Takao towards the Kanagawa Mountain Range

How to get there

Access to Mt. Takao is really easy with a direct train running from Shinjuku Station, right to Mt. Takao Station on the Keio Line. Alternatively, you can also use the JR trains on the same route, but you will have to transfer once. From there, it is a short walk to the start of the hiking trail.

3. Mt. Oono

Mount Fuji and yellow winter grass from the top of Mt. Oonoo

How to get there

The hike starts (and ends) at JR Yaga station on the Gotemba Line. To get there from Tokyo, take JR Ueno-Tokyo Line to Kozu Station, transfer to the Gotemba Line, and exit at Yaga Station. From there, clearly marked signs will show you the way to Oonoyama.

4. Mt. Nokogiri

The famous hell view at Mount Nokogiri

How to get there

From Tokyo, take the JR Uchibo Line to Hama-Kanaya Station from where it is around 10 minutes to the beginning of the hike (well-marked). Alternatively, if you live closer to Kanagawa (e.g. Yokohama), you can take a ferry from Kurihama across Tokyo Bay to reach Kanaya.

5. Mt. Odake/Mitake

Panoramic views from the top of Mt. Odake

How to get there

To start on the Mt. Odake side, take the JR Ome Line to the final station, Okutama station. From there, exit the station, turn left, and walk until you reach a bridge. Cross it and on the right-hand side, you will see the beginning of the hike with a route map. If you finish on the Mt. Mitake side, from the bottom of the rope way take the bus to Mitake Station, and from there, take the JR Ome Line once again back to Tokyo. If you decide to do the hike in reverse, just reverse the route.

6. Tonodake

Kanagawa Mountain Range with Mt. Fuji

How to get there

To start the hike from Yabitsu-Toge, take the Odakyu Odawara Line (e.g. from Shinjuku) to Hadano Station. There, transfer to the bus (only leaving at 8:25 AM and 14:25 PM) all the way to Yabitsu Toge. From Okura, you can take a bus back to Shibusawa Station (which is again on the Odakyu line) which runs roughly every 30 minutes.

7. Mt. Ishiwari

Summer view of Mt. Fuji from Ishiwariyama

How to get there

To get here, you have to take the same connection as to Mt. Oono, except you continue on the Gotemba Line all the way to Gotemba. There, you have to transfer to the bus running to Kawaguchiko (河口湖線) and get off at the stop Yamanakakoasahigaoka station (yes, that’s a mouthful). From there, it is actually already a mini-hike in itself of about 3 km to reach the start of the trail, however, you will be hiking on flat ground nicely along Lake Yamanaka’s shoreline, which is quite pleasant.

8. Mt. Tsukuba

Open views of the Tsukuba plain from the top of the Mountain

How to get there

Mt. Tsukuba can easily be accessed via the Tsukuba Express train running from multiple places in Tokyo such as Akihabara. Get off at the final stop, Tsukuba, and transfer to the bus going towards Mt. Tsukuba. Get off at the stop Tsukubasan Jinja Iriguchi (Mt. Tsukuba Shrine entrance), from where markers show you the way to the start of the path.

With roughly two-thirds of Japan covered in mountains, there are countless more that didn’t fit on this list. In the near future, I will write a blog post on where to find more hikes in Japan (and other parts of the world), so stay tuned!

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Adam Rifi

Lover of Japan, Travel, Food & Cooking and Frugality. New to blogging but always wanted to try it!