Even the most hardcore urbanite needs a little escape once in a while. Reset your stress level by challenging yourself to one of these hikes in the plains and mountains surrounding Tokyo. All are same-day accessible from downtown, and some are close enough to be finished in one afternoon.
What Mt. Tsukuba lacks in height, it makes up for in charm. Its twin peaks have earned it a romantic reputation, and the shrine there is dedicated to love, couples, and marital bliss. Highlights include the 800-year-old cedar tree Shihosugi, Tsukuba-san Shrine, and views of the Kanto Plain. A full trip around the mountain takes three hours, a perfect afternoon excursion. Tsukuba Station is just one hour from Asakusa on the Tsukuba Express Line.
Koburi Pass is one of Tokyo’s best-kept secrets. The peaceful natural setting, soaring trees, and lack of tourists are just part of its appeal. The hike isn’t too strenuous and takes around three hours. Agano Station, where visitors can get access to the pass, is an hour and a half from Ikebukuro – take the Seibu-Ikebukuro Line to Hanno, then to the Seibu-Chichibu Line.
The Mt. Hiwada, or Hiwada-yama, hiking area is a gently sloping hike for a leisurely stroll. It offers decent views of the surrounding landscape and is a well-developed hiking stop, complete with public washrooms and vending machines. Instead of taking the Seibu-Chichibu Line to Agano, get off at Koma to explore Mount Hiwada.
Mt. Mitake, or Mitake-san, is an hour and a half from Tokyo’s Shinjuku Station on the Ome Line. With its rich history and scenic hiking trails, the mountain has become a popular place for Tokyoites to escape the steel and concrete of the city. From JR Mitake Station, take a cable car halfway up the mountain and make the small village your base of operation. Mount Hinode is accessible via a forest hiking path from Mitake. The neighboring mountain is known for its impressive views of Tokyo.
Mt. Takao is one of the busiest mountains in the world, in terms of human foot traffic. It’s not only close to Tokyo but also has plenty for visitors to see and do. Yakuoin Temple can be found halfway to the summit; there’s also a monkey park and scenic garden. What is most appealing about Takao, however, is its unrivaled views of Mt. Fuji and Tokyo. Take the Keio-Takao Line from Shinjuku to Takaosanguchi Station.
The long and winding hike at Mount Kawanori is peaceful compared to some of its busier neighbors, with no temples, rest stops or shrines there for added incentive. Instead, the mountain treats visitors to a view of the Hyakuhiro-no Falls. To reach Mt. Kawanori, ride the Chuo Express Line from Shinjuku to Okutama, and from there, take a bus headed to Kawanori-bashi. To fully complete the trail, it may take around seven hours, but to get to the falls is 2.5, meaning it’s possible to cut it back to five hours with some backtracking.
Mitsutoge’s summit offers views of Mount Fuji, Tokyo, and the Japan Alps. It’s a good alternative to Mount Fuji, a mountain that many admit is best viewed from afar. Climbing Mitsutoge will take approximately five hours and can be quite challenging. Take the Chuo Line Limited Express or Chuo Line to Otsuki, then transfer to the Fujikyuko and get off at Mitsutoge.