Distance: 10.9 km
Elevation change: 1005 metres
Highest point: 1405 metres
Start: Sakaibashi Bus Stop
Finish: Lake Okutama Bus Stop
Splendid Autumn Hues Impress on this Lesser Walked Mountain Trail
With the autumn weather arguably at its finest this hike takes in some delightful views from the relatively secluded Mount Gozenyama. While most hikers start from Lake Okutama this hike commences from the Sakaibashi bus stop a short 10 minute bus ride from Okutama Station. From the bus stop walk back along the bridge, turn right and follow the road for 2.6 km to the Taiken no mori 体験の森. This local access road tails the Tochiyorisawa Creek passing a fish farm as it winds up to a small mountain village and the Citizens Forest management building. As of November 2014 the Tochiyorisawa Creek trail to the Otaki Fall is closed thus the road is the only means of access to the trail head. Before you reach the trail head there is a small rest area near the Tochiyorino Otaki Fall.
From the rest area keep following the narrow road which passes several more trail closures. The actual trail head is a little difficult to pin down but roughly corresponds to location marker 12 on the map boards. From the trail head to the Gozenyama Refuge Hut takes around an hour and is particularly beautiful with yellow and brown autumn hues augmenting the fine weather. The hut is clean and well-presented and has a small watering hole. If you plan on setting up camp the summit is better with a flat open area to pitch a tent. From the hut to the summit of Mt. Gozenyama 御前山 (1,405 metres) is a short 10 minute walk through the roped off bollards. The summit has plenty of benches and makes a great lunch spot while providing a clear line of view towards Mt. Fuji.
When you’re ready to head off the trail drops down to Mt. Sogakusan where it picks up the Obuna Ridge for a long and sustained descent to Lake Okutama. Some sections are rather steep with lose rocks hampering progress on this rather interminable ridge. A rest spot can be found around Mt. Sasuzawayama サス沢山 (940 metres). The final plunge to Lake Okutama is easily the most arduous, though makeshift ropes have been thoughtfully erected to assist with getting down safely. The bus stop is located on the opposite side of the Ogouchi Dam wall and the Nishi Tokyo Bus takes only 15 minutes to Okutama Station.