Autumn in and around Tokyo is undoubtedly one of the most magical times of the year for hiking enthusiasts. As the scorching summer heat begins to wane, the lush landscapes that surround this bustling metropolis transform into a vibrant carpet of colors. It is a season that invites outdoor adventurers to escape the urban bustle and delight in the serene beauty of nature – almost like stepping into an enchanted forest from a fairy tale.
Mount Takao, also known as “Takaosan,” is a beautiful mountain located a short distance from downtown Tokyo. It is especially beautiful in autumn, as it is during this time that all the leaves turn different colors. The peak has a height of 599 meters, it therefore offers a breathtaking escape from the hustle and bustle of the city and is easily accessible from the heart of Tokyo. There are several hiking trails that vary in difficulty, making it a great destination for beginners and experienced hikers alike. Here are the best hiking trails:
- Omotesando Trail: This is the most accessible hike and offers a pleasant and relatively easy walk to the summit. Along the way you will encounter temples, statues and viewpoints.
- Inariyama Trail: This route is slightly more challenging and leads you through dense forests and along rocky paths. Along the way, you will pass the Yakuoin Temple and a number of interesting geological formations.
- Biwa Waterfall Trail: For those who love waterfalls, this hike is a must. You will pass by a lot of them!
All the trails start at a 5 minute walk from Takaosanguchi station.
Google maps link: https://maps.app.goo.gl/vkaGbdQbhvdBknzs6
The Okutama machi is a nice place to enjoy the autumn colors. There are many hiking trails here and we have listed the most beautiful ones.
- Mitake Valley Trail: This path follows the Tama River and is full of trees that turn beautiful colors in autumn. There are beautiful babbling brooks and picturesque bridges that you will encounter while hiking through the enchanting landscape. The start is at Ikusabata Station.
Google Maps link: https://maps.app.goo.gl/ftxyZnBWmGLUURkA9
- Mount Mitake (Mitakesan): If you are looking for a panoramic view of the area, you should definitely consider climbing this mountain. Located at the peak of the mountain is the Musashi Mitake Jinja, a very popular attraction for those who have completed their hike which also offers stunning views of the surrounding area. The starting point of the hike is Mitake station.
Google Maps link: https://maps.app.goo.gl/kuBYzafroysbVa4M6
- Okutama Mukashi Michi Trail: On this hike, you walk through forests and past historical sites, including ancient temples and tombs. It is a fun way to explore the history and nature of the region. The hike begins at Oku-Tama Station.
Google Maps link: https://maps.app.goo.gl/bh3b7u61AhVkFHFz7
Mount Tsukuba, also known as “Tsukubasan,” is a beautiful hiking destination located in Ibaraki Prefecture. You can see the skyline of Tokyo and Mount Fuji on a clear day. Below are the most beautiful hiking trails.
- Miyukigahara Course: This hike is especially popular for its breathtaking panoramic views of the surrounding area. You can reach both Nantaisan and Nyotaisan peaks and enjoy the autumn colors along the trails. It starts at Tsukubasan Jinja Iriguchi bus station. Google Maps link: https://maps.app.goo.gl/pMcPo8gjNCo28j9r7
- Cable Car Route: If you prefer a less tiring start to your adventure on Mount Tsukuba, then the Tsukuba Cable Car is the perfect choice for you. With its easy and scenic ride up to a higher point on the mountain this is a great choice, especially for those travelling with children. You can enjoy the views of the autumn colored leaves as you go higher and higher. Once the cable car reaches the top, you are ready to begin your hike. Google Maps link: https://maps.app.goo.gl/vhsrrFznAZA2PNqA9
Mount Kumotori, also known as the “Cloud Tower,” is a beautiful peak located in the Okutama range on the border of Tokyo, Saitama and Yamanashi prefectures in the Chichibu area. In autumn, this mountain is a wonderful destination because of all the vibrant fall coloured trees.
The best hike is the Kumotori-san Loop Trail. It offers a varied landscape of forests, rivers and rocky peaks. When you are at the summit the views are spectacular. This is a long and difficult hike, so make sure you are well prepared. The starting point is Kamosawa bus stop.
Google Maps link: https://maps.app.goo.gl/gJEBzx9oo2KgPvcx8
Fuji-Hakone-Izu National Park
Fuji-Hakone-Izu National Park is one of the most famous and beautiful national parks in Japan, located southwest of Tokyo. The town of Hakone is a nice town located in the area, and is about an hour ride on the shinkansen from Tokyo station. Fuji-hakone-izu is known for its impressive landscapes, views of mount Fuji and beautiful hiking trails. Some of these routes are detailed below.
- Old Tokaido Road: This historic hiking trail takes you along the famous Tokaido road, which formerly ran between Edo (now Tokyo) and Kyoto. This route offers you a historical atmosphere and spectacular views of nature. The starting point is Yumoto station. Google maps link: https://maps.app.goo.gl/UNKzQTnTU7Np4wP57
- Hakone Ropeway to Owakudani: When you take the cable car up, you enter a volcanic valley. You will find several smoking geysers and hot springs here, a unique experience! You can start your hike here. Google maps link: https://maps.app.goo.gl/nncMwBsgXoK5oBc6A
- Lake Ashinoko West Bank Course: This is a longer hike of 11.5 kilometers, but is still worth it as it does give you that fantastic feeling that you are in the middle of nature. The starting point of this trail is the Hakone visitor center. Google maps link: https://maps.app.goo.gl/FS9Krz3tB5dptvQq9
Autumn in and around Tokyo reveals an enchanting world for hiking enthusiasts. As the summer heat subsides, the lush landscape around Tokyo transforms into a vibrant carpet of colors. Whatever you choose from the options we’ve provided, each of the great hikes available at these locations promise to offer unforgettable memories unavailable any other time of the year. So, put on your hiking boots, prepare for a breathtaking experience, and go exploring the enchanting autumn landscapes around Tokyo. It’s the perfect way to experience Japan’s natural splendor and create memories that will last a lifetime.
Featured image by Gor on Unsplash
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