Distance: 11.4 km
Elevation change: 991 metres
Highest point: 1531 metres
Start: Ogouchi Jinja Bus Stop
Finish: Kazuma Bus Stop
From a Floating Bridge to Mountain Top
Along with Mt. Gozenyama and Mt. Odake, Mt. Mito 三頭山 is one of the three famous mountains of Okutama. The mountain retains expansive areas of beech trees owing to the fact that the mountain was largely off-limits during the Edo Period. While the main access to the mountain is via Hinohara Tomin no mori 檜原都民の森 on the opposite side of the mountain, this hike follows a route from Lake Okutama.
At Okutama Station, take a bus headed for Miyama 深山橋. Get off at the Ogouchi Jinja bus stop 小河内神社 (30 minutes, 560 yen) alternatively, you can go a few stops further to the Miyamabashi bus stop 深山橋 and hike along the Murokubo Ridge ムロクボ尾根. Either way, both trails meet up at Mt. Nukazasu ヌカザス山 after a couple of hours of walking.
From the Ogouchi Jinja bus stop, mosey across the Lake Okutama floating bridge 奥多摩湖の浮橋 which takes you to the Okutama Circular Road on the opposite side. Once you hit the road, turn right and look for the trailhead veering up to the left, about a five-minute walk. The first section along the Nukazasu Ridge ヌカザス尾根 tracks through ubiquitous plantations, taking around an hour to reach Mt. Iyo イヨ山 (979 m). The next section steepens as you approach Mt. Nukazasu ヌカザス山 (1,175 m). From here to the summit of Mt. Mito (1,531 m), the trail has a noticeably sharper gradient, with ropes available to steady your footing. My hiking companion, whom I met on route, made it to the summit in a little under 3 hours, though we maintained a fairly steady pace.
Views from the summit include Mt. Fuji and Mt. Kumotori though it is somewhat forested. With the wind having died down, it also made for a good lunch spot with plenty of benches to kick back on. After lunch, I headed down to the Mitosan Refuge Hut 三頭山避難小屋 which is spacious and well-maintained. Nearby, there is a watering hole around a 10-minute walk along the trail towards the Mito Otaki Falls 三頭大滝. The waterfall itself is surprisingly high, cascading some 33 metres, and a suspension bridge allows you to get closer to the action. From the waterfall, head along the tourist trail to the Tokyo Citizen’s Forest, which is the entry point for most sightseers. If you wish to sidestep the Tokyo Citizen’s Forest, there is a minor trail junction about 15 minutes after the falls that shortcuts down to the road hairpin. Take the trail to the right, marked Keyaki-no-michi ケヤキの路.
The final section to the Kazuma bus stop 数馬バス亭 click here follows the river and eventually pops out on the Hinohara Kaido which you stick to downhill for a further 5 minutes for the trip back to Musashi Itsukaichi Station (1hr, 920 yen).