Mount Mitake (御岳山, Mitakesan) is one of the many highlights of the Chichibu-Tama-Kai National Park, which covers more than 1250 square kilometers of forested mountains, hills, gorges and some rural towns in the prefectures of Yamanashi, Saitama, Nagano and Tokyo. Besides a popular shrine, Mount Mitake offers various walking and hiking opportunities in virtually unspoiled nature. Located in the Okutama region, the westernmost part of Tokyo, the mountain can be reached in less than two hours from central Tokyo, and is accordingly popular among people looking for a break from the city.
Slowly, the autumn foliage has been its way to the Tokyo region, the next 2-3 weeks will be packed with Tokyonites headed to various parts of Tokyo for some nature activities. For us, we woke up at 6am on Sunday to make our way out to the west Tokyo. We took the first holiday special train from Shinjuku to Mitake Sation, oh boy, the train was packed even though I thought we were early. We arrived at Mitake at 9am and took the 920am bus to the base of the Mountain. (1 way bus fare is 270 JPY, payable with Suica)
Next would be another line for the trolley to bring us up. (1 way trolley fare is 570JPY, payable with Suica). Of course, there is the option to walk your way up but we wanted to save energy for our hike in the mountain instead. Plus, with the trolley the journey up would only be 6 minutes. If we have to walk up, it probably would take us about 30 minutes
Welcome to Mitake San.
Quick stop at their visitor board, apparently a bear was spotted just a week ago. Sushi-san asked what if the bear appeared? My reply was, we would be eaten, no choice. There was a warning for visitors to take note of the sunset times, since it gets dark by 430pm nowadays. That was also the main reason why we started early.
Here’s my video of the day.
Then the real hiking starting, the treks were really clean and some parts of it had decent steps. Even the dogs are all dressed up for their hikes. (Mitake is very pet friendly as one of the gods in the shrine is a dog form so dogs are welcome at this mountain!)
The trek down for the Nanayo Falls (七代の滝) was challenging for the unhealthy me, it was all the way down so we had to conquer many steep steps/mud treks/rocks descending. It was really tiring for my poor knees, of course if you go down, you have to go up. The trek up was easier but still a lot of steep steps and this part of a tangle of trees roots which you grab to move yourself up.
Stop by to climb this steep rock with the support of the metal chain followed by tree branches. For a city gal like me, it took me a longer time to maneuver especially on the descent. A lucky thing was that the Japanese were really polite and patient, just standing there in line waiting for me to come down since there was only one way up and down.
I guess, I was a really “bad” example since a Father told his young daughter that “you see, it looks quite difficult, I promise to let you climb when you are older, ok” 😛
After we were done with the rock climbing, it was either for us to continue our way to Mount Otake which was another 2 hours away or we would just call it a day. We decided to call it a day since we took almost 2 hours to complete half of the actual trek. So we followed the crowd to check where they are taking a break.
Then I see many interesting stuff from a city girl’s perspective. Many people brought along portable burners and making hot coffee/porridge/soups/curry rice, which would be really awesome in the cold. I even spotted one who brought along bowls for their soups! Effort effort~!!!
Next, would be the Mori-Girls (Mountain girl) fashion. You can check out more on this pinterest. I was the rare few who was wearing jeans or trackpants. Most of the ladies were decked out in shorts/thermal skirts with patterned socks. It was just another type of fashion scene on the mountains but most of the ladies were all dressed to their “fine” mountineering wear, I kinda looked out of place compared to them *shrug*
A quick lunch stop to fill the stomach since I did not pack any bentos like the Japanese. The few restaurants on the mountain was brimming with business since this is the few weeks where business would be good.
A cute bike I spotted before we ran to the train…….Trains run on a 30 minutes interval during the weekends, so we made a quick run to the nearby river for some more photos before taking the train back to Tokyo. It was another 2 hours of standing in the train…..