If you’re ever in Tokyo and looking for a nature-escape, Chichibu-Tama-Kai National Park is a lush and beautiful park less than two hours from the city, with hiking trails for all skill levels.

Trade City Streets for Hiking Trails

Tokyo is an exceptional place; it’s a million cities in one and a destination that offers endless opportunities to experience something wild and unforgettable. One of the most common trends among visitors to Tokyo, though, is that all too often, after a few days in the heart of the city, many people want out – even if only for a day. Sometimes you need time to refresh by getting a taste of green and realigning the mind after feeling like a subway sardine.

Luckily, Tokyo is home to some incredible hiking routes under 2 hours from the buzzing centre of Shinjuku – many of them in Chichibu-Tama-Kai National Park. This lush pocket of the Tokyo metropolis is a popular escape for Tokyo netizens, and a place travellers should be more across. As a case in point, these three excellent hiking routes are just a train ride out of the city.


Essential Gear for Hiking in Chichibu-Tama-Kai National Park

  • Walking/ hiking shoes
  • Sunscreen
  • Plenty of water
  • Money (in cash form)
  • Coins (for public toilets)
  • Snacks/ lunch
  • First aid kit

Hot tip! Sometimes trail signs might only be in Japanese, so save a digital version of the hiking route before you go. AllTrails has excellent offline download map options. 

Okutama’s Otama Walking Trail

Skill level: Beginner
Elevation gain: 289m
Distance: 8.2km
Duration: 3-3.5 hours
Starting point: Kori Station

Okutama’s Otama Walking Trail is more of a riverside walk with a few hike-ish elements added along the way. Situated in the Okutama region, a lush valley in western Tokyo, the 8.2km long route travels along the Tama River from Kori Station to Okutama Station. You can walk the hike in the opposite direction too, starting at Okutama and finishing at Kori. But if you start at Kori Station, you’ll end up at riverside craft brewery Vertere Beer Cafe & Shop.


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From Kori Station, the route is quite easy to follow as there’s signage along the way. Keep an eye out for signs that point to ‘Okutama Hiking Trail Hatonosu’. The path begins along the road before running along the river practically to Okutama Station.

The walk will take about three to three and a half hours, depending on how much time you want to spend hanging around by the river. If you’re visiting in summer (July/ August), it’s a great way to escape the heat of the city, and if you decide to go in autumn (around October/ November), the changing colour of the foliage is some of the best you’ll see in this corner of the country.

There are plenty of small shops as well as riverbanks to sit and chill on, and be sure to put aside some time to explore Hatonosu Gorge. This stunning ravine has 40m high cliffs, incredible natural scenery, and plenty of vantage points to take it all in.


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How to get there from Tokyo: From Shinjuku Station, take the orange JR Chuo Line (Rapid) Limited Express for Ome to Kori Station. If you have to switch, there’s a good chance you’ll have to do so at Ome Station. In total the trip out will take about an hour and a half and cost a little under $10 each way.

Mt Mitake Trekking Course

Skill level: Intermediate-Advanced
Distance: 9.3km
Duration: 4-4.5 hours
Elevation gain: 729m
Starting point: Takimoto Station (cable car)

Mix a little spiritual study into your hiking adventure with a trek up Mt Mitake. Mitake was a centre of mountain worship for some 2,000 years, and its shrine, Musashi-Mitake Shrine,  has been cared for by generations of Shinto priests and their families living in the mountain village. It’s a great hike for those who want to experience a little taste of Japanese mountain culture, as Mitake village is home to shrines, small accommodations, and stores selling meals and snacks.



The mountain is lined with a network of trails, but for an all-rounder experience, try the Mt Mitake Trekking Course, a 9.3km out-and-back trail that takes around four to four and a half hours to complete.

There’s a cable car that’ll take you to the start of the main leg of the hike, but if you’re feeling inclined (get it?), you can also hike up from Mitake Station; this uphill journey will add an extra 45 minutes or so to your walk.



If you visit in summer when the weather’s wet and humid, put aside some time to explore Mitake Rock Garden, located on the southern side of Mitake. The trekking route will take you along this way. This rock garden is like a mini-slice of Yakushima, a landscape lined with soft green moss-covered rocks, clear waterfalls, and a torii gate.

How to get there from Tokyo: From Shinjuku Station, take the orange JR Chuo Line (Rapid) Limited Express for Ome to Ome Station, from there it’s a ten-minute bus journey to the Takimoto cable car. Just look out for the number 10 bus. If you miss the bus, it’s a 45-minute walk to the cable car.

Mt Takamizu, Mt Iwatakeishi, Mt Sogaku

Skill level: Intermediate-Advanced
Distance: 9.4km
Duration: 4-6 hours
Elevation gain: 744m
Starting point: Ikusabata Station

This semi-challenging mountain loop takes you up and around some of the less tourist-traversed hiking routes in the area. It’s a little further away from the Okutama region, meaning that you’ll get (weather permitting, the area is infamously foggy at times) views of the Okutama mountains. The trek is 9.4km and takes about four to six hours to complete.

What’s also great about this path is that you can follow the signs and hit all three peaks, but there are options to skip or bypass one summit or another if you need to. Just keep an eye on the trails and your map, and you’ll end up on the right track.



You can wrap up your hike with a visit to Sawanoi Sake Brewery and some time in the river-side garden, Sawanoi-en, which in the warmer months is decked out with tables and chairs and a small kitchen serving sake and Japanese staple food (think soba noodles and tofu).

How to get there from Tokyo: From Shinjuku Station, take the orange JR Chuo Line (Rapid) Limited Express for Ome, and get off at Ikusabata Station. Depending on when you go, you may be required to switch trains at Ome Station.

Extend Your Stay

These hikes are easy day trip destinations from Tokyo! If you start early, you’ll be back by late afternoon or evening. But if you want to get away properly, consider booking a night at one of Mitake’s mountain minshuku (guest houses) and spend a few days exploring Chichibu-Tama-Kai National Park at a more casual pace. It’s an easy, lazy planner/ adventurous traveller option that’ll offer a whole new perspective on Tokyo.


For more information on travel to Japan, please visit Japan Travel.


Feature photo thanks to @deanaizawa