Hike to Mount Takahata & Mount Kuratake

In May, I went on a hike to Mount Takahata (高畑山) and Mount Kuratake (倉岳山), in Yamanashi prefecture.

Here is a map of the path I walked (download KML):

I started at Torisawa station (鳥沢駅) in Otsuki, on the Chuo Main Line. The 2 mountains are on the other side of the valley from Mount Ougi and Mount Momokura. In better weather, the summits would have offered a great view on Mount Fuji. I still got a glimpse though. After Mount Kuratake, I followed the ridge until I reached Mount Daimaru (大丸). I then followed the trail down the mountain until Shiotsu station (四方津駅), in Uenohara. When I came in the morning, I was intrigued by a large tunnel-like inclined structure next to that station: It turns out is is called the Commore Bridge and is a 200m elevator/escalator combination leading to an area called Commore Shiotsu. I went up there while waiting for the train back to Tokyo.

This page can serve as a reference to reach the trailhead (at the end, it goes a bit further after Mount Daimaru than what I did).

Above, Torisawa station in the morning.

Above, the tunnel to cross the tracks.

Above, on the other side of the rail tracks.

Above, the start of the trail. It looks closed but the door on the right is actually open.

Above, view of Mount Ogi on the other side of the valley.

Above, summit of Mount Takahata.

Above, Mount Fuji with a few clouds.

Above, summit of Mount Kuratake.

Above, Mount Momokura.

Above, Mount Ougi.

Above, Mount Takatsukayama (高柄山).

Above, Commore Bridge at Shiotsu.

Above, inside the Commore Bridge. The escalator is only open during rush hours so I took the elevator.

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Lake Kawaguchi in spring & Fuji Omuro Sengen Shrine

After the boat ride, I walked on the north bank of Lake Kawaguchi until I reached the Fuji Omuro Sengen Shrine, Mount Fuji’s oldest shrine. I then took a bus to the train station.

Hike to Mount Mitsutoge, Mount Kachi Kachi & Lake Kawaguchi

A couple of weeks ago, I went on a hike to Mount Mitsutoge (三つ峠山), in the Fuji 5 Lakes area.

Here is a map of the path I walked (download KML):

I basically followed the same path as detailed on this page: Starting from Mitsutouge station (三つ峠駅) on the Fujikyuko line, I first walked to the summit of Mount Mitsutoge. There was a great view of Mount Fuji from there (although clouds were forming). Then I went down the mountain by walking to the Mount Kachi Kachi Ropeway (カチカチロープウェイ) and then on to Lake Kawaguchi.

Above, Mitsutoge station in the morning.

Above, there was a section on a paved road to reach the trailhead.

Above, trailhead.

Above, Daruma-Ishi stone (達磨石).

Above, Mount Fuji with more clouds.

Above, 88 Buddha statues on the way to the summit.

Above, the area is a popular rock-climbing spot.

Above, hut at the summit.

Above, summit of one of the 3 peaks of Mount Mitsutoge.

Above, the actual highest point of Mount Mitsutoge: Kaiun-yama (開運山).

Above, passive relays for radio waves.

Above, summit of Kaiun-yama.

Above, view of Kaiun-yama from the third peak of Mount Mitsutoge.

Above, smiling dog on the way down to Mount Tenjo (天上山) and Mount Kachi Kachi Ropeway station.

Above, first glimpse of Lake Kawaguchi.

Above, a snake.

Above, small shrine at the summit of Mount Tenjo, just above Mount Kachi Kachi Ropeway station.

Above, more clouds on Mount Fuji.

Above, rabbit shrine at Mount Kachi Kachi Ropeway station.

Above, rabbit and tanuki. They look very cute at first glance but they reference the Japanese folktale called “The Farmer and the Badger“, a grisly story of treachery, murder, cannibalism and revenge. The story takes place on Mount Kachi Kachi.

Above, Lake Kawaguchi from the viewpoint.

Above, rabbit setting the tanuki on fire.

Above, sleeper on the way down to Lake Kawaguchiko.

Above, finally at the lake.

Above, view of the ropeway from the lake.

Saruhashi Bridge in Otsuki

At the end of the hike to Mount Ougi and Mount Momokura, I went to have a look at the so-called Monkey Bridge (猿橋; Saruhashi), which gave its name to the area of Otsuki surrounding it. It is a wooden bridge spanning the Sagami River and also one of the three unusual bridges of Japan. This page has some details on its construction (and the list of unusual bridges). After the bridge, I went to the nearby Saruhashi Park before going to the train station and back to Tokyo.

Above, on the other side of the Chuo Expressway bridge.

Above, view of Sagami River and Saruhashi Park.

Above, the Monkey Bridge.

Above, view from the bridge.

Above, stairs to the viewpoint in the canyon.

Above, at Saruhashi Park.

Hike to Mount Ougi & Mount Momokura

Mount Ougi (扇山; Ougiyama; 1138m) and Mount Momokura (百蔵山; Momokurasan; 1003m) are 2 mountains located in Otsuki, in Yamanashi Prefecture. In good weather, they offer great views of Mount Fuji. I went there on a hike a couple of weeks ago.

Here is a map of the path I walked (download KML):

I basically followed this itinerary (in English). From Shinjuku in Tokyo, using the Chuo Line, it takes about 1h30 to reach the start of the hike at Torisawa station (鳥沢駅). It ends at Saruhashi station (猿橋駅).

Above, the paved road to reach the trailhead to Mount Ougi.

Above, the Chuo Expressway.

Above, first glimpse of Mount Fuji.

Above, statue at the trailhead.

Above, there was still a lot of snow on a section of the trail on the way up to Mount Ougi.

Above, Mount Fuji.

Above, summit of Mount Ougiyama.

Above, on the way to Mount Momokura.

Above, summit of Mount Momokura.

Above, on the way down the mountain.

Above, area with a view.

Above, the Chuo Expressway.

Above, parking zone at the end of the trail. From then on, the path follows a paved pedestrian path (following the stairs).

Above, Saruhashi station is on the other side of this bridge. I actually made a detour to have a look at the Monkey Bridge (猿橋; Saru Hashi) before going to the station.

Above, view of Mount Ougi (right) and Mount Momokura (left) from Saruhashi station.

Hike to Mount Kumotori

At 2,017m, Mount Kumotori (雲取山) is the highest mountain in Tokyo. The peak actually stands at the boundaries of Tokyo, Yamanashi Prefecture and Saitama Prefecture. I went there on a day-hike a few weeks ago. I basically followed the plan outlined here (with map).

Continue reading Hike to Mount Kumotori

Fuji 5 Lakes area: Lake Kawaguchi, Mount Ashiwada, Aokigahara Forest

A couple of weeks ago, I went on a day trip to Fujikawaguchiko, in Yamanashi Prefecture. The area is located on the north side of Mount Fuji, west of Tokyo, and is famous for being a great spot for watching the mountain. It also known under the name “Fuji Five Lakes” (after Lake Kawaguchi, Lake Sai, Lake Shoji, Lake Motosu and Lake Yamanaka). On top of the lakes, the area has mountains and swathes of woodland, the most well-known being Aokigahara Forest, also called the “Sea of trees” (and sometimes “Suicide Forest”).

While I was there, starting from Kawaguchiko station, I walked on the south bank of Lake Kawaguchi for a while, until I reached a mountainous area. I then hiked a forest trail up to the summit of Mount Ashiwada. It was possible to see Mount Fujji along the way. Then, I went down towards Aokigahara Forest, stopping to enjoy the views at Sankodai and Koyodai. In Aokigahara, I walked the well-marked trails and visited the Ice Cave and Wind Cave. Finally, I went to Lake Sai to catch the bus back to the train station.

Here is a map of the path I walked (download KML):

Above, fishermen on Lake Kawaguchi.

Above, Mount Fuji.

Above, Mount Fuji from the bridge.

Above, the path next to the lake. It goes all the way to Katsuyama Road Station and offers splendid views on the lake, the surrounding mountains and, occasionally, Mount Fuji.

Above, a Peace Pole with the usual message: “May Peace Prevail on Earth”.

Above, Mount Ashiwada.

Above, view of Katsuyama Road Station and Lake Kawaguchi from the trail.

Above, Lake Kawaguchi.

Above, Mount Fuji from the summit of Mount Ashiwada (Gokodai).

Above, Lake Sai.

Above, it did not feel that cold but some ice still formed on the ground.

Above, Sankodai view point.

Above, mountains, with Aokigahara Forest in the foreground.

Above, view of Lake Motosu from Sankodai.

Above, view of Mount Fuji from the Koyodai observatory.

Above, view of Lake Sai from Koyodai.

Above, Aokigahara Forest.

Above, entrance to the Ice Cave.

Above, entrance to the Wind Cave.

Above, Lake Sai.

Above, back at Lake Kawaguchi, watching the last of the sunlight on the mountain.

Above, “See you again” sign on the way to the train station.