Mt. Iwatakeishiyama 岩茸石山

Mt. Sogakusan 惣岳山 – Mt. Iwatakeishiyama 岩茸石山 – Mt. Takamizusan 高水山

Duration: 4.5 hours
Distance: 10.5 km
Difficulty: easy-moderate
Usage/Traffic: medium
Start: Mitake Station (JR Ome Line)
Finish: Ikusabata Station (JR Ome Line)
Map: Yama-to-Kogen 山と高原地図 series 1:50000 [No.23 Oku-tama 奥多摩]
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Winter Escape On Tokyo’s Door Step

Many of the best hikes around Tokyo are situated along the Ome Line 青梅線 which stretches from Tachikawa to the town of Okutama. This hike takes in three mountains with excellent views provided from Mt. Iwatakeishiyama.

Weekend and public holiday access is conveniently provided through a Holiday Rapid train service ホリデー快速 Holiday Kaisoku from Shinjuku which makes stops at Tachikawa, Haijima, Ome, Mitake and Okutama among others. There are three services from Shinjuku with the first departing at 07:44 arriving in Okutama at 09:15. The train splits at Haijima with the three front cars headed for Musashi-Itsukaichi so it pays to listen to the English announcements to avoid disappointment. Alighting the train at Mikate Station 御嶽駅 there is a Visitor Center open 09:00-16:30 (closed on Mondays) which provides a good variety of guides and maps. If possible I really recommend picking up a copy of the ‘Okutama Nature Information Map’ 1:50,000 annotated in both English and Japanese. The Visitor Center also stocks handy B4 sized 1:25,000 topographical maps of the local area free of charge.

Weekends at Mitake Station are pretty packed with most visitors heading up to Mt. Mitakesan. Exiting the station you need to turn left walk 60 meters, cross the railway line where there are signs pointing to Mt. Iwatakeishiyama. Next to the trail head there is a small shrine which you pass by. The hike itself is well marked and after an hour the trail intersects with an option of heading directly to Mt. Takamizusan if desired. Heading up further you pass Mt. Sogakusan 惣岳山 (756 m) which although shrouded with trees has some benches to rest next to the Aojinja Shrine. The snow from last week’s dumping made the last section up to Mt. Iwatakeishiyama 岩茸石山 (793 m) a little treacherous with steep ice covered rocks. The view from the summit was pretty decent with glimpses of snow-capped Mt. Asama 浅間山 in Nagano Prefecture. After lunch it was a short 30 minute walk across to Mt. Takamizusan 高水山 (759 m) and down to a snow covered Takamizu-san temple 高水山常福院 which made for a prime photo taking opportunity.

The final stretch affords some good views towards Tokyo proper and the Skytree. After passing the dam wall the walk back to Ikusabata Station 軍畑駅 takes around 25 minutes following the stream down. Just before you pass under the elevated railway line there is an indistinct sign on your right pointing upwards to the station.
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7 comments

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  • Great post David – thanks. I think perhaps it’s worth noting that some sections of this trail can be quite challenging. In particular, in between Mt. Sogakusan and Mt. Iwatakeishiyama where there is a steep rocky ridge that requires use of both hands and feet to tackle. The trail close to Mt. Iwatakeishiyama also requires a little care in both directions if wet or icy.

    Most people seem to tackle this trail from Ikusabata to Mitake rather than the other way around. I guess it’s down to personal preference, but I find walking on the road quite boring, so for me the road section around Ikusabata is definitely better tackled coming down rather than going up!

    As an intriguing footnote – I wonder if anyone knows the reason for the quite impressive dam near to Ikusabata, which seems total overkill for such a small stream. There is a warning sign that appears to indicate possible danger from volcanic lahars, but to my knowledge there are no volcanic peaks anywhere close to this area.

    • Glad to hear you enjoyed the hike and appreciate the feedback! Your right the section from Mt. Sogakusan heading to Mt. Iwatakeishiyama can be a little gnarly and regretted not bringing along a pair of crampons. I have done the hike in both directions and agree that walking downhill to Ikusabata Station makes the last section a little more tolerable though in summer the stream is great for taking a dip. As for that dam you’re talking about, I used to think the same, completely over engineered though given the mountains are often subject to torrential downpours it probably provides some comfort to those nestled in the valley below. The last time I did the hike I came across some deer hunters which resulted in a near miss with one unsuspecting deer leaping at maximal velocity in front of me near that dam wall!

  • Did this hike today…Trail was epic with lots of powdered snow and strong anabatic winds on the way to Iwatakeishiyama. Going down from Sogaku to Iwatakeishi was the hardest part, since rocks were steep and slippery. Thanks for your post.

    • While the winds were certainly strong today the upside would have been the no doubt clear views afforded from Mt. Iwatakeishiyama. Also with yesterday’s half decent snowfalls it doesn’t surprise me that the trail a little difficult to negotiate.

      • Yes, the views were awesome. I can see whole Tokyo, including Skytree clearly 😀 Also, I had so much fun with the trail.

  • Just did this hike this morning. I am lucky and was able to catch the first train out there so I was on the trail just after 5:30 am. The first part from Mitake station to Sogakusan was a little tough for me, but maybe that was just because I hadn’t woken up yet. After that and the rocky bit between Sogakusan and Iwatakesan that other people have also mentioned, it was gentler and easier for me to tackle. There was great forest cover the entire way keeping everything cool given the heat lately, until of course the road at the end. Unlike the winter (unsurprisingly), the view from Iwatakesan wasn’t as clear as it could have been. I was surprised however that I could actually just see the outlines of the buildings downtown, but I couldn’t see Mt. Asama at all.

    Overall it was a great hike. Not too busy, and barely saw anyone until I was finally on the way down from Takamizusan and everyone else was going up. Even saw a snake about a meter long making its way along the side of the trail, couldn’t tell what type though. I ended up arriving at Ikusabata station just before 10, making your time frame pretty much on point.

    Thank you for this post and all of the others that you have on this site. Trying to see how many I can accomplish!

    • Thanks for the comment. Wise decision making an early start as it’s the only practicable way to hike these low-lying trails during the summer months. Haven’t seen a snake in a while though I’m more concerned about coming across suzumebachi at this time of year.

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