One great thing about living in Japan is the fact that there are so many holidays. Between New Year’s Day on January 1st and the Emperor’s Birthday on December 23, there are a further 15 national holidays observed. One new addition this year to the calendar is Mountain Day, or ‘Yama no he’ (山の日), on August 11. According to the legislation that enacted the law, Mountain Day was created to give the Japanese public “opportunities to get familiar with mountains and appreciate blessings from mountains”
But this need not be restricted to the locals. As a national holiday, many of you will be given the day off too, so why not get out and explore some of the mountains in the Tokyo area. Of course the most famous is Mt. Fuji (more about which you can read here), but it’s not the only mountain in the region. Here we will have a look at a few others that you can try out, relatively easily.
Rated as a a three star attraction by The Michelin Guide and said to be one of the 100 best landscapes in Japan, Mount Takao, a 599 metre high mountain located in Hachioji is great for a one day hike. On the top of mountain there is a 1,200 year old temple and you can enjoy views of Mount Fuji on a clear day. As well as the seven hiking routes there is also a cable car for those of you who want the view without the exertion.
Approximately 2 hours from Tokyo, Mt. Mitake, with streams, waterfalls and beautiful scenery, is 920 metres high and has a 2,000 year history of pilgrimage. It is home to Mitake Shrine and has several hiking trails that are suitable for hikers of all abilities. In the summer it is covered in greenery and hydrangeas.
Mt. Mito is a picturesque and relatively easy hiking spot to enjoy with the family. After taking a bus from Musashi Itsukaichi Station, enter at the Tokyo Citizen’s Forest Museum to begin your walk. The loop hike around Mt. Mito takes around three and a half hours and passes by the high 33 metre Mito no Otaki Fall, accessible by a suspension bridge. The summit is a great place to pull out the picnic and enjoy lunch with a view.
One of the ‘100 Best Mountains in Japan’, at 877 metres Mt Tsukuba isn’t particularly high, but the steepish slope makes it a little more of a challenge. Thanks to the mountain’s double peak, representing interlocked lovers, the Tsukuba-san shrine is dedicated to couples and marriage. Perhaps a perfect place to ‘pop the question’ or celebrate an anniversary?
With some steep climbs, bridges, easyish terrain and views of Mt. Fuji, Mt. Mitsutoge offers quite a bit of variety along its six hour path. One of the more interesting sites is the ’88 Buddhas’ statues all clad in red when you near the summit (although there are only 81 remaining).
Photo: Wikipedia.com Mt.Tsukuba in Ibaraki, Japan by RESPITE - Public Domain