Go hiking and explore Mount Mitake (Mitakesan), a worshiped mountain in Tokyo
Mount Mitake (Mitakesan) is a 929m-high, worshipped mountain where the historic shrine Musashi Mitake-jinja Shrine stands. Mt. Mitake is now known as a favorite hiking spot within easy access from Central Tokyo, great for both new and experienced hikers. On the trails in the mountain, there are views of waterfalls with fresh water, strange-shaped rocks and mossy bushes. On the river at Mitake Valley, rafting and canoeing can be enjoyed.
Mt. Mitake and Mitake-jinja Shrine
Mt. Mitake or Mitakesan 御岳山 has been worshiped since a shrine was supposedly founded on the mountain over 2000 years ago. In 736 the shrine was established as Musashi Mitake-jinja Shrine 武藏御嶽神社 and it had been a site to practice religious austerities since then.
* Musashi Mitake-jinja Shrine is usually called just "Mitake-jinja" in short.
In the 17th centuries, visiting Mt. Mitake to pray at Mitake-jinja Shrine on a pilgrimage became so popular that many Shukubo temples lodgings were opened there. Many of those Shukubo lodgings are still in business, now available for anybody to stay.
Mt. Mitake, the place for hiking in Tokyo
Though Mitake-jinja Shrine is a must-see, the shrine is not only the place to visit at Mt. Mitake. In the mountain, many nature trails are leading to attractive places for nature lovers, being one of the most popular hiking sites in Tokyo.
Making a day hike around Mt. Mitake
The most common way to start a day hike at Mt.Mitake is to take a bus (10-min ride) from Mitake Station 御嶽駅 and get to the bus stop “Cablecar Shita ケーブル下 (Takimoto)” at the foot of Mt. Mitake. From the cable car station at the foot, you can take a cable car to the Mitakesan Station 御岳山駅 (Cable Ue Upper Sta.) in the mountain (6-min ride).
The bus between Mitake Station and Cablecar Shita (Takimoto Sta.) runs twice hourly or so. You can also walk between Mitake Station and Takimoto Cablecar Station, but it will be a 40-minute walk.
Exit the station and walk left 30m to get to the bus stop.
The bus stop at Mitake Station
E-money cards (Suica, Pasmo) can be used to pay bus fares.
Takimoto cable car station is just a 1-min walk from the bus stop "Cablecar Shita".
E-money cards (Suica, Pasmo) can be used to pay fares.
The cable car Mitake Tozan Railway runs 1 or 2 times per hour.
The Cable car leading up to the top of Mt. Mitake runs 2 or 3 times per hour. If you want to walk up the mountain, take the trail starting in front of the Takimoto Carblecar Station, will be a one-hour walk.
Viewing mountains at the top of Mt. Mitake near Mitakesan Station
Be sure and get a map of hiking trails at the Cable car stations or at the visitor center on the way to Mitake-jinja shrine. There are many hiking routes and you can easily be lost without a map.
The Torii shrine gate
Getting to Mitake-jinja Shrine
From Mitakesan cable car station to Mitake-jinja Shrine is about a 30-min walk on a paved path where you find a visitor center and Shukubo temple lodgings. After walking through a narrow souvenir shop street, you will see a large Torii shrine gate on the left, and now you are at the beginning of stone stairways, long stretches leading to the shrine. It is tough, but you will be rewarded with the superb views up there.
There is a starting point of hiking trails on the way to Mitake-jinja Shrine.
On the stone stair way from the Torii shrine gate to Mitake-jinja shrine, there is a starting point of hiking routes (on the left side) where you can take the one up to your choice. (The map you got at the cable station will help you to select) For example, one of the trails leads to Nanayo waterfall and it will be a one-hour walk.
The trails around Miteke-jinja Shrine are good for both new and experienced hikers. The routes stretching deep inside of Mt. Mitake and the surrounding mountains are only for experienced, well-equipped hikers. Any of hikers should be prepared and be careful when walking on rocks and ground covered with muddy leaves.
A trail leading to Nanayo water fall
A trail leading to Nanayo water fall
One of the most popular routes for experienced hikers is the trail leading to Mt. Hinode, which starts from the path near the souvenir shop street on Mt. Mitake. (Leaving from Mitakesan Station, the path is on the left of the street entrance) Along the way going down Mt. Hinode, there is an Onsen hot spring called “Tsuru Tsuru Onsen,” good for a soak after hiking on the way home. Buses run (20 min ride) between Tsuru Tsuru Onsen and Musashi Itsukaichi Station on the JR line, bound for Shinjuku by way of Haijima. Note that Tsuru Tsuru Onsen will be crowded with hikers on weekends.
* If you are planning to go deep into Mt. Mitake area, make an itinerary (hiking registration) and leave it at Mitake Station. http://jac.or.jp/oyako/f10/pdf/c2060ws.pdf
Stay at Shukubo and explore more
Having a stay at Shukubo temple lodgings at Mt. Mitake will give you more different experiences such as meditation under a waterfall or watching traditional dance performances by firelight which take place year-round at Mt. Mitake. (Check their event schedule beforehand)
Mitake Valley between Ikusabata and Mitake Station has walking paths along the Tamagawa river, dotted with attractions that include Museum of Japanese Combs and Hairpins, Kanzan-ji Temple, Gyokudo Art Museum and Ozawa Brewery. Rafting and canoeing can also be enjoyed at Mitake Valley, and the site is near Mitake Station.
A Shukubo temple lodging
A Shukubo temple lodging
Mitake Valley near Mitake Station
Rafting and canoeing can be enjoyed there.
There are museums, temples and a Sake Brewery on the walking paths along the river.
Getting to Mt. Mitake
To find how to get to Mt. Mitake area from Central Tokyo, see this page:
Mt.Mitake, Oume town and Akigawa Valley area
Oume City Tourist Information
Nishitokyobus (Japanese website)
Mitake Tozan Railway
Mitakesan Shouten Association (Japanese website)
Tsuru Tsuru Onsen (Japanese website)
YouTube by omekanko
Google Maps : Mount Mitake