Hiking in Tokyo: Mt. Fuji View from Okutama's Mt. Mito (三頭山) - Vikingess Voyages

Sunday, May 21, 2017

Hiking in Tokyo: Mt. Fuji View from Okutama's Mt. Mito (三頭山)

Believe it or not; you don't even have to leave Tokyo to find good hiking spots. The metropolitan area of Tokyo stretches far outside the city itself, and in the area west of Tokyo known as Okutama you can find a number of popular hiking destinations. 
Many people have heard about or visited the popular and accessible Mt. Takao which also can be found to the west of Tokyo, but there are other lesser known mountains that can provide an interesting alternative to this slightly crowded favorite. One of my personal favorites is Mt. Nokogiri in Chiba, where you in additional to enjoying the hike also can see some traditional temple and not to mention Japan's largest Buddha statue cut from a single rock. For this trip, however, we went to check out Mt. Mito (三頭山) in Okutama, a mountain known most of all for its good view of Mt. Fuji. 
Mt. Mito has been listed as one of Japan's top three hundred mountain destinations(日本三百名山), and stands at a height of 1,531 meters above sea level. Situated in the western part of Okutama this hiking destination can be reached either by car or by bus from the nearest station (check my table at the bottom at this post for more details).
In our case we took the train to Akikawa Station (秋川駅) where we rented a car heading toward the starting point of the hike; the Citizens’ Forest (tomin no mori 都民の森). Here they have a number of courses you can choose from with varying difficulties. We chose the Bunanoro Course (ブナの路コース), a hike estimated to take approximately 3-4 hours.
But first, when you arrive at the tomin no mori area you'll find a souvenir shop selling local products. This is the last shop you get to before the hike so if you're hungry you might want to try out some of the food they sell.

After a few minutes of walking from the parking lot area there is a building called the shinrinkan (森林館) where visitors among other things can find information about the wildlife and flora in the area.

During the Edo period Mt. Mito was kept off limits to the public, and thanks to this you can find a wide range of large beech trees covering the mountain. This might have contributed to Mt. Mito's particularly varied flora with both rare plants and birds to be seen in the woods.

And don't despair if you didn't bring any hiking booths; At the Shinrinkan they have mountain boots available for rental. They also kindly offer maps of the area in foreign languages like English, Korean and Chinese.

For those who are looking for activities to do beside the hiking there is an area outside the Shinrinkan where visitors can try to use a saw to cut up logs, and you're even free to take the pieces of wood with you home.

For those with kids there are some playground equipment that they can enjoy.

In other words; lots of potential activities in addition to just the hike! When you're ready for the hike you can head for the pathway behind the building to the left of the mountain.

Above: On Mt. Mito you can see a number of birdwatchers who are out to spot some of the mountain's rare birds.

The first sight you'll get to is the Mito Otaki Waterfall, which you'll get to after around 25 minutes of walking. There is a suspension bridge leading to nowhere that has been made just for the sole purpose of getting a good view of the waterfall, so if you want to you can take the opportunity to walk out on it and take a closer look before heading back to the main path.

For the rest of the hike you'll pass by a couple of resting spots before reaching the summit of Mt. Mito. The trail is properly marked so it is easy finding the way, and there are not too many visitors either compared to more popular mountains.

Arriving at the summit of Mt. Mito you'll find - if you're lucky with the weather - a pretty spectacular view of Mt. Fuji. I recommend starting the hike early to increase your chances of seeing Mt. Fuji more clearly as it often gets increasingly clouded throughout the afternoon due to the heat from the earth.

Getting up to the summit took us around 1 1/2 hours and it was not a too tough hike. We had a lunch break on the top (again, make sure to bring your own lunch as there are no places to buy food at the summit) before heading back down again.

Above: On the way down you'll also pass by a couple of lookouts where you can enjoy the view of the nearby mountains.

Mt. Mito was a good alternative for a one-day hike from Tokyo. It is great to get out of the city and do some shinrinyoku (森林浴; lit. forest bathing) from time to time to release some stress! After the hike was over we visited a local onsen, which I would recommend as an addition to your hike if you have time (and preferably a car to get around). Hiking Mt. Mito was a great way to spend the day, and hopefully we'll get the chance to visit again soon.

That's all for now, I hope you enjoyed the post! Please let me know if you have any questions or comments in the comment section below.

Basic Info
  • ・Place: Mt. Mito (三頭山)
  • ・Address:Kouchi Okutama, Nishitama District, Tokyo 198-0224
  • ・Height: 1,531 m

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Thank you for reading! Please feel free to leave any comments or questions below
- Anette

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About Anette
Anette came to Japan as an exchange student in 2010, met the love of her life and got stuck. From her base in Tokyo she writes about her experiences as a full-time worker in Tokyo and about her travels in Japan and abroad. She's a free-spirited adventurer who enjoys both the great outdoors and her urban lifestyle.

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About Me

Adventures ofAnette

A modern day shield-maiden who loves to explore the unbeaten paths of the world. From her base in Tokyo, Anette takes on both rural and urban challenges, and goes by the motto "No challenge too big, no adventure too small"!
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