Mt. Odake 大岳山

Hiked on May 4, 2013    Aug 23, 2023


Mt. Odake 大岳山 – Nokogiriyama 鋸山

  Duration: 5.5 hours
  Distance: 14.5 km
  Elevation change: 916 metres
  Highest point: 1266 metres
  Start: Mitake Cable lower station (Takimoto)
  Finish: Okutama Station (Ome Line)
  Difficulty:   ▅▅▅▅▅▅▅▅▅▅  
  Map: Yama to Kogen Chizu 山と高原地図 [No.25 奥多摩 OKUTAMA]



One of the Three Famous Peaks of Okutama

This hike introduces Mt. Odake 大岳山 another of the three famous peaks of Okutama along with Mt. Gozenyama and Mt. Mito. The trail’s convenience to Tokyo also makes it the easiest of these mountains to access. Given that the hike tends to be immensely popular, I would suggest avoiding long weekends and making an early start at other times. The popular hiking course described here starts from the top of the Mitake Tozan Cable 御岳登山ケーブル finishing at Okutama Station. On clear days the summit of Mt. Odake provides good south views towards Mt. Fuji, Mt. Daibosatsu and Mt. Hirogatake. The hike can be undertaken year-round, though it would be wise to carry crampons in winter as some patches are a touch exposed.

Access to the Mitake Tozan Cable is reached by taking a train to Mitake Station 御岳駅 on the JR Ome line and hopping on a bus which takes you to the lower station at Takimoto (10 minutes, 290 yen). The bus service runs at half-hourly intervals, corresponding with the Cable Car timetable. If you prefer not to ride the cable car, the option exists to walk the 420 metres of elevation gain from Takimoto to the upper cable car station, which takes around an hour.

The first section to the Mt. Mitake Shrine snakes its way through the rather quaint Oshi Village with its traditional wooden houses and thatched roofs. After making a short detour up to the Mt. Mitake Shrine look for signs pointing towards the Mitake Rock Garden 御岳ロックガーデン which takes a little over 30 minutes. The trail begins to steepen as you pass through coniferous forest and onto the delightful Nanayono waterfall. Next is another steep slope with exposed tree roots and iron stairs, which exits at the Rocken Garden trail. Here you will find the infamous Tenguiwa Rock 天狗岩 with two statues of Tengu – a half-man, half-bird beast with mystical powers, positioned on top and accessible by means of a precariously suspended chain.

From Tenguiwa Rock, follow the stream lined with maples for a 40-minute walk to the Ayahirono waterfall. Take a short rest here as the trail begins a rather steep ascent to the Mt. Odake (1,266 m) summit. About halfway along, you will pass by the dilapidated Odake sansou and Odake Shrine on your right. The final push to the summit follows a series of short switchbacks. Take extra care on slippery or icy boulders in the winter. The summit has plenty of rocks to perch on and hopefully enjoy some stunning scenery.

When you’re ready to head off, continue across the summit and take care descending the first steep section of the trail. The traverse across to Mt. Nokogiriyama 鋸山 (1,109 m) will take around 1 hour and 20 minutes, and again, some parts are challenging with fixed chains and metal ladders to help cope with the descent. The home stretch follows the Nokogiri Ridge, which feels rather interminable and cruelly punishing on the legs. When you hit the service road continue straight ahead, past the shrine and over the bridge crossing the Tama River. From Mt. Odake to Okutama Station, allow for 3–3.5 hours of walking time.


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  • Thanks for another great write-up.

    Trip Report – I did this hike solo today, April 2nd, 2017. There was still plenty of snow on the mountain, so a good pair of microspikes would come in handy. It was pretty steep and slippery conditions this early in spring.

    Arrival time at the top part of the cable car: 9:40am. 12pm summit of Odake. I finished in Okutama around 2:20pm. I was moving fairly fast and had limited breaks since I was alone. Trail to Odake I was within eyesight of someone most of the time. But on the way down to Okutama, I was mostly alone, passing by maybe ten people.

    PS. Don’t pass up the small Beer Cafe VERTERE across the street and down a little alley from Okutama station. Nice little find in such a small town.

    • Thanks for your trip report. I must say you made trailblazing speed to arrive back at Okutama at 2:20pm. I’ve done this hike a couple of times and the final stretch from Mt. Nokogiriyama always feels never-ending. Cheers for the heads-up about café VERTERE.

  • Did this hike today 7/16/2017. No snow (obviously haha). Was at the top of the cable car at 0830, and made it to Mt. Odake taking the shorter but more strenuous? route at 1030. This route to Mt. Odake took me via Mt. Nabiwari at 1,084 meters, which in the grand scheme of things was probably unnecessary. Leaving the summit of Mt. Odake at 1045, I made it to Mt. Nokogiri at 1200, and after a 20 minute break continued to Okutama. I made it to Okutama around 1430, and can definitely second that the latter half of the trail from Mt. Nokogiri to Okutama seems never-ending. Plus, I kept on seeing Okutama in the distance and had to think when I was going to finally lose all of the elevation I had. That descent comes pretty quick, but other than that it was a pretty nice hike.

    The biggest crowd I encountered for hiking this on a Sunday was on the way to Mt. Odake (20-30 people total) and at the summit of Mt. Odake (10-15 people). After continuing on to Mt. Nokogiri and Okutama, trail usage was very light with sporadic encounters of maybe 20 people over the ~3.5 hour stretch.

    Thanks for the guide, all of the information was really useful. It wasn’t too hot at all with a decent breeze here and there. Definitely a nice hike considering it has been getting into the 90s in the Kanto plain lately.

    • Cheers for the report 🙂 I think you made a wise decision as the heat in downtown Tokyo today was ridiculous. Most folk tend to skip Mt. Nabiwari in favour of heading past the waterfalls so it’s a good plan of attack if you wish to dodge the crowds. The last time I did this hike was during Golden Week a few years back and it almost put me off hiking for life, so you did well picking a quieter day for it.

  • Am going to make a trip for this coming 26 /8 or 27/8/2017, would like to ask if there is any clear sign from mt odake to okutama.

    Was looking forward to make a hiking + fishing trip. Hope there is facility nearby.

    • The trail from Mt. Odake to Okutama Station is well-trodden however as for all the hikes on this site I highly recommend bringing along a map, in this case Yama-to-Kogen No.23 Oku-tama. Your best bet for trout fishing would be the Okutama Fishing Center below the Kawai Dam near Mitake Station

  • Great trail. Did it today 7 april 2018 and i confirm…the ridge nevers ends. It is a very nice walk but i would remove the Easy from your difficulty rating. When you have to use your 2 hands, climb vertical ladders and go over boulders and rocks bigger than a 10 year old it is more on the moderate to difficult side. Thanks for the great tip.

  • Did this hike two days ago on 30 Jun 18. Very warm and not a really enjoyable hike. I did Odake as an out and back the previous weekend going up to Nabewari, which as another posted stated was not really necessary and nothing to see, then onward to Odake and back to Mitake. I found that trail, while steeper going up to Nabewari, a bit easier although I think the distance was pretty close to the same. Yes, the ridgeline down to Okutama is very long. And only to get to Okutama and realize I had to go up another small mountain to that damn pagoda (again) was disheartening since I was already pretty tired. But knowing that Vertere’s beer garten was just down the road was helpful. As was knowing I had some great soba to eat at Hikawa Service Station. This was a one and done for sure. Glad to have conquered this beast as it was a great work up for Fuji this week.

  • Hiked Odake today and regretted immediately going during Golden Week. I had come to Mitake about two weeks ago in the middle of the week and there was pretty much no one. The crowds thinned a little once I got further along the trail up to Odake but there was plenty of obnoxious people ruining the summit, even in Japan 🙁
    Fuji was decently visible from the top but not easily photographed. I took the rock garden path back and it was amazingly green and mossy and the crowds had all but left for the day. Overall, a pleasant hike. One of these days I’ll hike the loop to Oku-tama….one day.

    • Hiking Mt. Odake during GW is possible provided of course you get up early and be on the trail pretty much before anyone else. Otherwise as you say the place can turn into a proverbial zoo. Do try the loop back to Okutama as while it’s long there it’s also peaceful.

  • I hiked this trail solo yesterday. My very first hike. Thanks to your detailed description I was well prepared. And yes, the last stretch is gruesome. And seemingly never ending. I thought knowing that it would be harsh would make it less so. Couldn’t have been more wrong. I have never been so glad to walk on asphalt as when I stepped on the street leading to the bridge over Tama river. I concluded my hike in the onsen across the river which I highly recommend.

    Since I left very early in the morning I was mostly alone on the hike from Mt. Mitake to Mt. Odake. My fellow hikers who I shared the cable car to the top with were Japanese senior citizens who practically ran from the station. I have not seen a non-Japanese person throughout the hike. From Mt. Odake to Okutama I was mostly alone. Which was more than lovely.

    I was using the Gaia app as a guide and to track my progress. It also lets you download maps in case there is no service though the reception on the mountain was better than in any city in Germany where I live. All together I hiked 14 km in 6 hrs and I enjoyed every minute. The woods and the views are amazing up there.

    So thanks for your description, David. This was one of the best days during my visit in Japan.

    • Great to hear that Sabina ? Thanks for the information about the Gaia app I’ll have to check it out. Hopefully you’ll have time to tackle another hike or two while you’re here in Tokyo.

  • Hi,
    I would like to try this hike on my own (solo-hike), so need to check the following with someone who has done this trail before.
    1) Can I do the hike the other way round? (frm Oku Tama to Mitake?)
    2) Are there English signages on the way for directions?
    3) Safe to hike in Autumn (i.e. late Nov)?
    Thanks in advance for the information/reply.

    • Yes, of course you can start in Okutama. Signage is not English friendly and getting to Odake isn’t very well marked. From Odake to Mitake to the bottom is well marked in English.

      Finishing in Okutama offers beer (on weekends at Vertere), soba, and onsen at the end.

    • Hi Sarah, just adding to Tim’s point the elevation gain up to Mt. Odake is just over 900 metres but it is pretty gradual. Hiking signs in Okutama are a bit of a mixed bag although main junctions usually include both Japanese and English. It’s a good idea to familiarise yourself with the kanji of the main mountains before setting out. I also recommend carrying the Yama-to-Kogen map which I link in the description. Hiking in late November is a great time to view the autumn colours.

    • Thanks Tim and David, thanks for the recommendations and suggestions.
      Will Okutama Visitor Centre offer any guides for hiking frm Okutama (for Odake to Mitake)? Possible to complete the hike frm Okutama (for Odake to Mitake) and end in Mitake in a day hike?
      Thanks in advance for your replies.

      • Do you mean trail maps? They may have a map but it would be in Kanji. If you mean actual guidevperson, I don’t think so..

        Yes, easily a day hike which is what I did. Around 18 kms one way.

      • It’s worth calling by Okutama Visitor Center and asking if they have a copy of the ‘Okutama Nature Information Map’ which includes both English and Japanese place names. If they do you’re in luck as it’s an excellent hiking map.

  • Did this hike with 2 buddies, all of us being young relatively fit guys who hike from time to time. Being the dinguses that we are, we decided to take the “shortcut” (2.4 km versus 3.6 km) that split off just after the temple. It warned it would be a more dangerous route but in another dingus move, we decided to ignore that. The more dangerous part turned out to mean portions of having to slide down muddy parts and having to cling onto chains, as well as descending a part where it was extremely steep and mainly loose rocks and other unstable footing material. So dont do that.

    In a third dingus move, we decided to start at the top of the cable car at around 1 pm, sundown being around 6.30-7pm. After a long break at the mesmerizing summit, this meant walking the last stretch in the dark.

    All in all, the rock forrest was kinda stupid, we didnt see any big waterfall neither, but the summit view was to die for. Expect lots of parts where one wrong step means broken bones. Would probably rate the difficulty a very very strong 3. It is by no means a walk in the park easy breezy step and a hop.

  • What a gem of a blog you have, David. Thank you for all the material you compiled here, it is super helpful!
    Did this hike solo yesterday. Started at 12:21 from Mitake cable car top station, arrived to Mt. Odake summit at 14:09. Finished the hike around 17:00.
    All in all a pretty nice trail, not too crowded these days. Sadly a big chunk of the hike is through the forest so you just keep looking under your feet. The view from mt. Odake is pretty nice though, as well as some other observation points along the trail.

    • Many thanks Alex. The blog started as a weekend side project and kind of grew organically from there. You picked a good day for it yesterday and nice that the crowds aren’t overwhelming nowadays. I remember one Golden Week there was scarcely an inch of ground to take lunch on the summit.

      • This comment is for those who want to climb Odake on the weekend, but would like to avoid the Mitake bus / cablecar / crowds. I did this alternate route a few days ago (12 July, 2020). From Musashi Itsukaichi Station , take the bus to Kamiyozawa; get off at the penultimate stop (25 mins). Just down the hill on the right , you’ll see a Kanto Fureai Michi sign for Odake Falls. Take this right paved road for 30 mins. When the road ends, you’ll see a hiking board and sign for Odake Falls. Follow this to the Falls, and continue up to the Mazukari Ridge. At the ridge T-junction, turn right for Mt. Odake. (From bus stop to Odake summit is 2– 2.5 hours). From the summit, head back down the same way to the Mazukari Ridge T-Junction. Continue straight over toward Kanotoiwa (a giant rock formation). Just past the rock, turn right at the sign for Senzoku (this is the bus stop) and the Ayahiro Falls. You’ll pass 2 great waterfalls, and finally emerge onto a main road in Senzoku, where the bus stop is. (Mt Otake summit to Senzoku bus stop is about 2 hours). This route avoids the crowds, has excellent English signage, and you see 3 impressive waterfalls en route .

      • Sorry — just noticed a mistake in my directions in the last post. Kanotoiwa is wrong — the sign is for Tsuzuiwa (but it is a giant rock formation). Also, from Senzoku bus stop, you are heading back to Musashi Itsukaichi Station (about 35 mins)

  • Hi everyone,

    Great blog and have been using this a lot. I did the Mitake-Rockgarden-Odake-Nokogiriyama-Okutama hike yesterday and want to point out that the last stretch is definitely longer than indicated in the Yama-to-kougen map. It shows a 1:40h from Nokogiri for the last stretch if I read it correctly, but as many people wrote it probably took us around 2:30h down to finally reach Okutama bridge. I read on Japanese blogs as well that it usually takes longer.
    Safe hiking everyone

  • Hello. I’d like to hike Mt. Odake this weekend. I’m wondering if hikers are allowed to have tent night in the mountain. Do you have any idea about that? Nice blog by the way.

  • Thanks for this website, great information. Had my first hike last weekend (Takao to Jinba) went the wrong way down Jinba, should have paid more attention to what you said. Anyways, I am hoping to do this hike this coming weekend but my friend thinks that the trails might be not be opened yet for the season. Is there any place to call to make sure the trails are open? Thanks again and I look forward to completing more of your hikes.

    • Hi Sam, good choice for your first hike it will help stretch out the legs for Odake-san. Speaking of which yes, this trail is open, most trails around Tokyo are open year-round and are generally only closed due to collapses, bear sightings etc. The latest road and trail conditions in the Okutama area is provided on the Okutama Visitor Center website.

  • Hey David,
    Again, thanks for everything.
    Is it possible to hike from Mt Odake to Gozenyama to Mt Mitou in one day? I am thinking of covering these three peaks using the ridge.

    • Hi Pratik, to answer your question in a word, no. You’re looking at 2.5 hours from Mt Odake to Gozenyama and another 5 hours thereafter to reach Mt. Mito. This doesn’t include the time needed to get to Mt. Odake and from Mt. Mito back to the bus stop. Even for a fit and fast hiker it would take 10 hours plus. Be mindful of the lack of daylight hours. The sunset for Tokyo in late Nov / Dec is at 4:30 pm!

    • Hi Michael, thanks for the kind words. Nice that you discovered those Seibu hiking maps which are rather handy. As for the hike either direction is fine however if you’re starting from Okutama Station it’s a bit of a sustained climb to Mt. Nokogiri but after that not too strenuous.