Autumn Foliage at Mount Mitake (御岳山)

Mitake San Station

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.

Japan Guide

Mitake San Bus
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)

Mitake San Trolley
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.

Mitake San
We decided to challenge the 2.5 hours hike (which in fact we could only complete half of the trek with the same amount of time)

Mitake San Wasabi
Wasabi is a famous produce here due to the clean waters, so of course Fresh wasabi was on sale too.

Mitake San
The reason why we took a long time was because of my frequent stops to take photos and marvel in the amber colored leaves.

Mitake San
At this point of time, much of the mountain is still pretty green with spots of red and orange but there are a few trees here and there that are pretty red/orange.

Bear?
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.

Radish!
There are many small ryokans dotting the way when we hiked, I guess people do visit here to stay overnight for some fresh mountain air. These gigantic radishes were lined up outside a ryokan to dry.

Mitake San
Red against blue.

Mitake San

Mitake San
From the cable car station, it took us almost 30 minutes to reach the famous mountain shrine.

Mitake San
To reach this, we had to go up a steep slope and a steep flight of stairs.

Mitake San

#御岳山 #紅葉 #mitake mountain #autumn #hiking #tokyo #japan

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Here’s my video of the day.

Mitake San
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!)

Do we see sakura?
I spotted some winter sakura. This specie bloom during the cold.

Mitake San
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.

Rock climbing
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” 😛

Mitake San
The view for all the effort to climb that rock.

Mitake San
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.

Things you should bring
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~!!!

Mori Fashion
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*

Lunch
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.

please deposit the money
Some houses have some home produce out for sale. Probably only in Japan, you can have such un-manned stores where the customers would drop the payment into the boxes.

Mitake San
A quick photostop

Mitake San
Rafting to admire the red leaves? Too bad it was too cold for me if not it would be good chance.

Mitake San
Ah, nature….so near and yet so far from the bustling city of Tokyo.

Cute Bike
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…..

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