Distance: 11.4 km
Elevation change: 674 metres
Highest point: 990 metres
Start: Torisawa Station (Chuo Main Line)
Finish: Yanagawa Station (Chuo Main Line)
Map: Yama to Kogen Chizu 山と高原地図 ［No.28 高尾・陣馬 TAKAO·JINBA］
Tranquil Streams and Expansive Views
Mt. Kuratake is the highest peak of the Akiyama mountain range which runs south of the Katsura River on the border between Otsuki and Uenohara cities. It is also one of the 100 famous mountains of Yamanashi. This hiking route has been documented by several outdoor bloggers and features in Day Walks Near Tokyo by Gary D’A. Walters. Its easy access from Shinjuku (1 hr 15 mins, 1,320 yen) and moderate elevation makes it a year-round hiking destination.
A little after departing Takao Station, I was recognised by one my blog ‘fans’ who was travelling in the same carriage. Andy, was nice enough to come over, introduce himself and we enjoyed having a chat before I got off at Torisawa Station while he prepped himself to climb Mt. Daibosatsu.
After exiting the Torisawa Station 鳥沢駅 turn right, walk along highway for around 500 metres and look for a signpost pointing to Mt. Takahata 高畑山 on your right. After dipping under the railway underpass, turn left and follow the road, veering right at the T-intersection and cross the Katsura River (known as the Sagami River in Kanagawa). Thankfully there are numerous signs signalling the way. After 25 minutes from the station you’ll arrive at a gated road and the Oshino Reservoir which begins the trail proper. At first trail runs parallel to a small stream which you later rock hop across.
Further along at a major trail branch there is an option of heading directly to Mt. Kuratake but ignore this and launch into a series of switchbacks up to the main ridgeline. It’s a nice spot to take a breather before the final push to the summit of Mt. Takahata (982 m). At steady pace it should take around 2 hours to reach this point. In fine weather your efforts are rewarded with fine views of Fuji san though on this hike I met overcast conditions. Next up the trail rises a little passing Anaji-toge 穴路峠 descending into a saddle before climbing up to Mt. Kuratake 倉岳山 (990 m).
Along with Mt. Fuji, views from the summit include Mt. Ougiyama, Mt. Momokura, Mt. Daibosatsu and the Mt. Tanzawa mountains to the south. After lunch the trail sets off from the south side of the summit. The first part is rather steep and takes around 30 minutes to reach the multi directional trail branch at Tateno-toge 立野峠. While it’s possible to extend the hike by continuing along the ridge, this time steer left towards Yanagawa Station 梁川駅. Soon you pass a minor watercourse which appeared clean and safe to drink however there is an advisory not to collect water from the stream junction further down.
The scenic Tateno River shadows the trail and criss-crosses it several times. Eventually the track pops out at a road which you follow back to the station.