Mt. Jinba 陣馬山 – Meio-toge 明王峠 – Mt. Magoyama 孫山
|Duration: 4 hours|
|Distance: 11 km|
|Elevation change: 434 metres|
|Start: Jinba Kougen Shita Bus Stop|
|Finish: Sagamiko Station (JR Chuo Main Line)|
|Map: Yama-to-Kogen 山と高原地図 series 1:50000 ［No.28 Takao & Jinba 高尾・陣馬］|
A White Concrete Horse and 360 Degree Views from Mt. Jinba
Escaping the crowds isn’t something that can be easily accomplished on the mountain trails surrounding Mt. Takao, even more so when blessed with exquisite weather. With that in mind, I headed out to the lesser visited but no less impressive Mt. Jinba 陣馬山. In contrast to Mt. Takao the summit of Mt. Jinba has uninterrupted panoramic views and although Mt. Fuji was cloaked in cloud cover the white crested peaks of the Southern Alps could be glimpsed.
First and best advice is to make an early start if possible, as even on the second bus of the morning at 07:35 there was a fair crew lined up, Nishi Tokyo Bus timetable. Buses depart outside the north exit of Takao Station 高尾駅 and look for one bound for Jinba Kogen Shita 陣馬高原下 (bus stop 1). The ride follows the Jinba Hwy taking around 35 minutes. At the Jinba Kogen Shita bus stop there is an area guide map to reference if necessary but basically look for a sign on your right pointing towards Wada Pass and Mt. Jinba. The first section requires walking on a paved road for approximately 1.5 km and you should find the trail entrance veering off to the left. The trail as you can imagine is well trodden and should take little over an hour to reach the summit from the bus stop.
The summit of Mt. Jinba (857 m) is famed for a white concrete horse. The statue which some even think bears a resemblance to a giraffe was erected in 1969 by Hachioji Tourist Association courtesy of the Keio private railway corporation. There is also an engraved stone proudly stating that the mountain is one of the fifty scenic locales of Kanagawa – though technically the mountain shares the border with Tokyo. Apart from the horse there some tables and benches and a small restaurant to refuel.
From here is the option of making the long trek across to Mt. Takao some 15 km away. This hike continues along that same ridge until Meio-toge 明王峠 where it swings down right towards Sagamiko Station 相模湖駅. The hike to Meio-toge was a veritable highway for trail runners coming across presumably from Mt. Takao and did my best to stay well clear. At Meio-toge there is an old homestead come refreshments stand and the owner was keen to draw attention to some prominent nearby mountains. The last downhill stretch to station was mostly devoid of foot traffic and includes a couple of nice spots for taking lunch overlooking the Sagamiko Lake. When you are arrive at the shrine head down the stairs, over the elevated pedestrian crossing and left for a five minute walk to Sagamiko Station.