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Mt. Mitake: Cable Car and Rock Garden Circuit

A sacred tour of Mt. Mitake through its rock garden.
  • Duration
    1Day , 3.5Hours
    Highest Point
    929m
    Elevation Gain
    91m
  • Skill Level
    Fitness Level
    Gear Level

Mt. Mitake (Mitake-san) is in the Okutama area west of Tokyo. Its peak is 929 meters above sea level. A cable car makes scaling it a breeze so there are often lots of hikers. The mountain has a rich natural environment and is even home to giant flying squirrels.

Musashimitake-jinja Shrine is on Mt. Mitake's summit and has been worshiped as a sacred mountain since ancient times. These days it's also a popular place thought to have spiritual or healing energy, often referred to as “Power Spot.” There are 24 shukubo temple lodges, in the vicinity of the shrine, and the tea shops along the shopping street heading there provide meals and a place to rest.

Mt. Mitake has beginner trails, and it's possible to do a traverse from Mt. Odake (Ohdake-san) to Mt. Mito (Mitoh-san). Mt. Odake is one of the Three peaks of Okutama (Okutama Sanzan).

Taking the cable car at Mitake Tozan Railway's Takimoto Station part way up the mountain will bring you about 423 meters to Mitakesan Station.

From here, you head towards the Musashimitake-jinja Shrine on the paved approach. Pass below the visitor center and through the village, and in about 30 minutes you'll find an ancient keyaki (Japanese zelkova) tree on the righthand side that's estimated to be 1,200 years old.

Turn right and walk down the shopping street lined with souvenir stores and tea shops. At the end you'll pass through a large torii gate before arriving at another shrine gate and Musashimitake-jinja Shrine. Pay your respects and then head toward Mt. Odake.

When you reach the junction for Nagao-daira, descend to Nanayo Falls (Nanayono-taki). Nanayo Falls is a 50-meter cascade with seven levels of varying heights. The area around it is blanketed in moss. A zone known as the Rock Garden is about 1.5 kilometers between Nanayo Falls and Ayahiro Falls (Ayahirono-taki).

The trail runs through the moss-covered rocky area along a stream. Especially in the fresh green of spring, the natural splendor of the woodland hues and mossy boulders is wonderful. The colored foliage of autumn also creates some amazing scenery. As soon as you pass Ayahiro Falls, you'll merge with the trail to Mt. Odake.

To get back to the cable car at Mitake Station, head back towards Musashimitake-jinja Shrine and return via the same way you came.

Other Info

The Jindai Keyaki (ancient Japanese zelkova) tree is thought to be 1,200 years old. It's 23 meters tall and the trunk is 8.2 meters in circumference. It's a nationally designated natural monument. Ayahiro Falls is used for ceremonies by Ontake-jinja Shrine as well as takigyo, spiritual training while standing beneath the waterfall. Both the ancient keyaki tree and Nanayo Falls are considered power spots. On the mountain above the cable car's Mitakesan Station, there is a colony of roughly 50,000 rengeshohma (false anemones). Typically, the end of July to the beginning of September is the best time to see them. Oshi, the village on the mountain top, is dotted with inns and tea shops. There are also ninja workshops and events geared towards international visitors.

Notes

Hiking the rock garden takes about 60 minutes. Using the cable car, the entire course takes less than three hours, making it accessible even to those new to hiking in the mountains. Nevertheless, it's a good idea to use proper hiking footwear since the wet boulders in the rock garden can be slippery.

Route Map

Elevation Map

Height (m)
Horizontal Distance (km)

Spec

Duration
1Day , 3.5Hours
Highest Point
929m
Elevation Gain
91m
Horizontal Distance
7.8Km
Skill Level
Fitness Level
Gear Level

On the Trail

Sleeping
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Eating
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Hot-Springs
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Access

Mt. Mitake is located in the Okutama area, west of Tokyo. From JR Shinjuku Station, you can take the Chuo Line to JR Tachikawa Station, transfer to the JR Ome Line, and get off at JR Mitake Station. It is approximately 1 hour 20 minutes from Shinjuku Station.

It's approximately a 10-minute bus ride from JR Ome Line's Mitake Station to Mitake Tozan Railway's Takimoto Station. Take a Nishi Tokyo Bus bound for the Cable Shita stop.

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