Tokyo is a sprawling metropolis, known for the countless things to do, see and experience in the city. But, it is also surrounded by incredible nature and there are some well-known hikes in the larger Tokyo area which make for the perfect escape for nature-loving couples.
Mt Takao is the go-to destination for those living in and visiting Tokyo who want to experience some nature. It’s not a very tall mountain (599 meters) and even those who are less fit can reach the summit in no time thanks to both a cable car and chair lift. Due to its accessibility, it can get crowded on weekends, public holidays and popular times (spring and autumn, especially).
But, the positives are that there are a number of different hiking trails, it’s nice and close to the city and it’s easy to climb in one day.
For first-timers, the usual route is to take track 1, which is very popular since it features all the main attraction sights of the mountain – the monkey park, Yakuoin temple and some observation decks. The trail is mostly paved and easy to walk on, although the start of the track and the end of the track are quite steep.
For the more experienced climbers, track 6 is a bit harder and more scenic as it follows a river for much of the way. The path is quite rough, but this also gives a more authentic hiking experience. The Inariyama trail is also a nice trail that has some tough parts, but is mostly a nice, pleasant hike away from the main crowds.
Whichever trail you choose, don’t forget to pack a good meal to enjoy when you make it to the top. Hopefully it will be a clear day and you can see Mt Fuji in the distance!
For the more enthusiastic hikers, there is also the option to walk to nearby Mt Jinba (or vice versa). It’s best to start early if you choose this option as the total walking time is around 5 to 6 hours.
Literally named “Old Road”, this trail runs for 9 kilometers from Okutama Station to Lake Okutama and follows an old road that was used for transporting goods into the mountainous area. It flourished between the late 19th Century and until the end of World War II, when it fell into disuse after a new road was built.
Nowadays, it’s an easy hiking trail for those who want to revisit a little bit of Japan’s past while also enjoying the spectacular nature. You will walk past an abandoned railway, disused tea houses and suspension bridges. Get to the other end and you’ll be rewarded with beautiful views of Okutama Lake.
Mt Mitake to Mt Otake
This hike is a popular day trip that is perfect for experienced beginner hikers.
The usual route is to take the cable car up to the top of Mt Mitake, take a look around the Musashi Mitake Shrine and visit the variety of hiking trails from there.
Walk past and enjoy the “rock garden” and follow the signs up to Mt Otake. Most of the trail is straightforward, with some steep uphill climbs in some areas. Be especially careful closer to the top of the Otake as you will need to climb over some steep rocks – but this should be fine with a helping hand from your date!
Make sure to bring your lunch with you to enjoy at the top, where you will be rewarded with stunning views of the Chichibu-Tama-Kai National Park and, if the weather is clear, Mt Fuji.
Also located in the Okutama region, this mountain is a bit more challenging, but also not as crowded as some of the other hiking destinations in Tokyo.
You will walk well into the woods, past a beautiful waterfall and along a stream. There is a long, steep uphill climb to the summit, so this hike is best done by those who already have a moderate level of fitness.
Note that you need to take a bus from Okutama Station to Kawanori-bashi and walk to the start of the trail from there.
If you’re looking for a serious hike to do with your significant other, Mt Kumotori is the highest peak in Tokyo at 2,017 meters. It’s recommended to climb this mountain over two days, staying overnight at the mountain hut on the summit or at the camping area. This one isn’t for beginners, so make sure you come well-prepared if you wish to do this hike!