Chances are you’ve already been up Mount Takao, but if you’re a more serious hiker and felt shortchanged by it, then you might like this multi-peak route from Mount Jinba to Mount Takao.
The route, while relatively low alitude, is still quite a taxing hike of 7–8 hours. There’s less need for preparation and precaution as it is a rather popular area with teahouses along the way. And you can skip some of the vertical climb with a bus to the start and cable car at the end. Most of the hike is a traverse, but as there’s still a lot of up and down, you’ll need to be quite fit to do the whole route comfortably.
You can also do this hike in reverse, but given the shorter return time to Tokyo and cable car option, it’s usually best to finish at Takao rather than Jinba.
Mount Jinba to Mount Takao overview
- Mount Jinba elevation: 854 m
- Altitude change: 657 m
- Distance: 18–22 km (depending on route)
- Duration: 8 hours hiking + 2–3hours transport from Shinjuku
- Skill level: Medium (need some stamina)
- Season: All year (crampons required in the winter in case of snow)
Top tip: See our guide for where to buy hiking gear in Tokyo.
Costs to and from Shinjuku
- Simple: JR Shinjuku Chuo line -> JR Takao -> JR Fujino, 990 yen
- Cheap: Keio Shinjuku -> Keio Kitano -> Keio Takao -> JR Takao -> JR Fujino, 610 yen
- Cheat: JR Shinjuku -> JR Takao -> Nishi Tokyo bus (32) to Jinbakogenshita, 1,140 yen
- Optional: Cable car down from Mt Takao, 490 yen
- Keio line Takaosanguchi -> Keio Shinjuku, 390 yen
Getting to Mount Jinba
You can take the JR Chuo line (or cheaper Keio line until Takao) from Shinjuku to Fujino Station in Kanagawa. This will normally require a change at JR Takao Station. Leave Fujino Station and turn right, walk alongside the tracks keeping an eye out for Mount Jimba (陣馬山) signage, which will take you north, across the tracks and into a long tunnel through the hillside.
Follow the road for another 30 minutes, waving at the locals along the way, until you reach the Jinba Tochiya Trailhead (陣馬山登山口 栃谷尾根). From here you start uphill, winding past some countryside houses and into the forest. Once you’re in the forest, it’s about a 2-hour hike up to the Jinba summit.
Although relatively early in the journey, you’ll want to take a good stop at the Jinba summit, weather permitting. There’s a few teahouses serving soba and similar mountain hut fare, but the views are really worth soaking up. Mount Jimba’s summit is very open and positioned so that you have an almost uniterrupted 360° panorama from Kanto to the east and as far the as the Southern Alps to the west. On a clear crisp winter’s day, you can see snow-capped peaks a good 100 km away in several directions.
There’s also the horse sculpture.
Alternative starting points
If you want to take it a bit easier, then you could take the Nishi Tokyo bus (32) from the north exit of Takao Station (the first stop) to Jinba Kogen Shita (the last stop). Buses run once an hour in the morning and take about 40 minutes. This brings you to a higher starting altitude and about a 1.5/2 hours hike from the summit, which will shave off more than an hour of total hiking time.
Be sure to check the bus timetable before you go.
There’s another option if don’t mind a little backtracking and prefer to start in a forest rather than walk 30 minutes along a road. Get off one stop before at JR Sagamiko Station, and follow the trail up from Yose Shrine. The hike to Jimba summit is about the same and covers some of the traverse to Takao, so you’ll be retracing your steps for 30 minutes.
From Mount Jinba to Mount Takao
From Jinba summit, follow the trail that goes off on the Mount Fuji side to Kagenobuyama (景信山). It’s then a fairly long march with a good deal of up and down from summit to summit: Mount Kagenobuyama, Mount Shiroyama and finally Mount Takao. There’s some rest spots and toilets along the way, including another teahouse on the summit of Shiroyama.
To finish this long hike, you would be excused if you decide to take the funicluar or ropeway from Takao down to Takao Station. It’s still a good 30-minute walk from the summit to the funicular or ropeway.