Distance: 10.9 km
Elevation change: 244 metres
Highest point: 494 metres
Start: Ikusabata Station (Ome Line)
Finish: Ome Station (Ome Line)
Ome Kyuryo Hiking Trail
If you’re after a half-day beginner friendly hike close to Tokyo, then the Ome Kyuryo Hiking Trail 青梅丘陵ハイキングコース could be just the spot. While the rolling hills which vary from 300-500 metres lack the commanding views offered by nearby Mt. Iwatakeishiyama the elevation gain is a fair bit less making it suitable for people of all ages, including children and seniors. The hike also has plenty of ‘escape routes’ off the ridgeline towards the JR Ome Line if called for.
Additional train services from Ome Station makes it more convenient to finish there but equally the hike can be undertaken starting at either end. From Ikusabata Station 軍畑駅 five stops from Ome turn left from the station’s only exit and cross the pedestrian level crossing. When you hit the main road veer left and follow it up hill shadowing alongside the Hiramizo River 平溝川. After 30 minutes you’ll reach the trailhead proper at Enoki-toge 榎峠 leading off to the right. The route is well-maintained and easy to follow.
The trail starts off steeply though aided by earthen steeps shored up with wooden logs. At a steady pace it should take 30 minutes to reach Mt. Raiden 雷電山 (494 m) the highest point along the hike. The north side of the summit has a bird’s-eye view of a limestone quarry and there is a rough-hewn bench to take a breather. The next landmark to look out for is a 10-minute detour up to the ruins of the Karakai Castle 辛垣城跡. Traces of the former castle constructed around 1560 and abandoned not long thereafter are largely gone due to limestone that was excavated from the latter half of the Taisho era. The descent trail from the castle pops out at Nago-toge 名郷峠 (387 m).
A little further along the views open out with Mt. Odake and Mt. Kawanori visible to the south. After passing by the transmission tower, you’ll hit Nosuzawa-toge ノスザワ峠 (420 m) before a short deviation to Mt. Sanbosan 三方山 (454 m). Once you get to the vehicular road the number of hikers begin to grow and feels more like a nature park than a hiking trail. Dotted by the side of the road are sheltered rest areas 休憩所 and the occasional lookout.
Before hitting the bridge and Nagayama Park 永山公園 there is a rather incongruous miniature peace pagoda. It’s officially known as the “Sun Holy Hair Tower” 太陽聖髪塔 and has a golden statue that looks like a Kannon enshrined inside. On further reading it appears to be linked to a religious sect founded by a couple whose bronze reliefs are adorned on a nearby rock. After reaching the road hang a right and follow the twists and turns back to Ome Station.