Japan: Mt Takao & Mt Jimba Dayhike
A “little” stroll in the mountains just outside of Tokyo.
20 miles, 6300 ft
If interested, other Japan walks with geo-tagged photos we did here.
During a vacation filled with lots of urban sight-seeing, I had an open day available and gladly choose to explore less densely populated areas of Japan.
Of course Mt Fuji is the first choice of many, but with significant snow cover for a few thousand feet and being more than 2 hrs away, it really wasn’t feasible as a dayhike for me. So I stuck a bit closer to Tokyo.
Mt Takao (Takaosan) is one of the most popular hikes in the area, if not the most. I found mention of it in the Lonely Planet and used that as a base for planning a longer hike. I found additional info on other peaks sharing a ridge, culminating in the high point of Mt Jimba (857 meters). Seemed it would be decently long but not a ton of gain, and when you have a chance to hike in a “Quasi-National Park“, you just do it.
There are two main trains you could take out of Tokyo. From the Shinjuku, you can take the Keio Line to Takaosan-guchi Station, or take the JR East Chūō Line to Takao then take Keio Line the rest of the way. Right outside the station, you’ll see a big map of the trails up to Takaosan, and likely a bunch of hikers hanging out.
A short walk from the station leads to a lower tram station that you could take all the way up to Takaosan. Just past, the trailheads appear. I chose the Inariyama trail as it was relatively short and the first trail along the walk. The trail starts out steep with built in steps.
Up to Mt Takao, the trail switches between steep and flat sections like this.
I saw a lot of people on the trail, and even more on the summit. This photo doesn’t even do justice to the ~ 200 I saw 10 min later.
I probably said “konnichiwa” at least 50 times, so it was really good practice. Since a lot of people draw out the end, I started saying “konnichiwaaaaaa” and I have to say it felt good. Sadly my vocabulary was probably 10 words overall so I couldn’t do much more!
At this point I had “only” climbed 1400 ft, so I figured the traverse to the other peaks would add on maybe another 2000 more. I headed west and quickly reached the next peak, Koboteshiroyama. Some girl jogged past me wearing Vibram Five Fingers…and a ninja outfit. Some sort of black and yellow crazy thing!
I left to continue onto the next two peaks. This was a nice area with fewer people and more solitude. I really enjoyed the lush green and tall-treed forest here; not bad for being so close to Tokyo. The route seemed relatively flat, but had a lot of ups and downs of a few hundred feet at best. And the parts that actually go up are steep.
After a while, I thought I was getting close to the final peak, Mt Jimba, when I reached the summit of a small bump that I hoped was it merely because I had already done 8 miles and was ready to turn back. I set and ate a to-go sushi set when a few Japanese guys stopped to rest. I “communicated” with them with many hand gestures and a few phrases (I didn’t bring the phrasebook with me) if this was Jimbasan and they indicated it was further. Although disappointed, I was fine with turning around.
Moments before heading off, the ninja trail runner girl hit the peak and took a rest. I asked if she was going to Jimba and she indicated yes. Well damnit, if the ninja trail runner is gonna go to Jimba, so am I!
The peak was about another 1.5 miles further and I made it in good time. Unfortunately the clouds ruined the potentially nice views in all directions from Jimbasan, but at least it had this, whatever it is
Motivated by the ninja and a few other trail runners (and time), I decided to run the way back. This worked out pretty well except for the portion that I went on the wrong trail for a 1/2 mile and had to turn around. I avoided the temptation to just follow the trail down whatever ridge descent it was taking since I may have ended up who knows where. (Posthike analysis indicates this would have taken me to some main road, so probably would have been okay)
Overall, this turned out to be a monster of a hike, about 20 miles and over 6000 ft gain (even without my side excursion). I would highly suggest this hike (or a subset of it) to anyone who has a day to hike while in Tokyo. It’s not the best of Japan, but quite feasible and really nice.
This entry was posted on Thursday, June 17th, 2010 at 12:43 pm and is filed under Trip Report, Uncategorized. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.