Distance: 8.8 km
Elevation change: 516 metres
Highest point: 976 metres
Start: Hatsukari Station (Chuo Main Line)
Finish: Otsuki Station (Chuo Main Line)
Revel in Top-notch Views on this Beginner Friendly Hike
Takagawayama has plenty going for it, for starters it’s relatively easy to access from Tokyo, climbable by beginners and notably offers an impressive view of Mt. Fuji. It also happens to be one of Yamanashi’s 100 famous mountains. While there are several climbing routes the most popular is a longitudinal trekking course commencing at Hatsukari Station and finishing at Otsuki Station on the JR Chuo Main Line. From Shinjuku Station by local trains the travel time is 1 hr 40 mins with one transfer at Takao Station. Note there are numerous trail branches along the hike so pay particular attention, carry a map and a GPS-capable smartphone.
Leave Hatsukari Station 初狩駅 by the only exit, turn right at the entrance of the carpark and follow a small street which runs under the railway line. There is a Lawson’s straight ahead up on the main road if you need supplies. On the far side of the train tracks turn left up a slope, cross the river where there is a red and white signpost signalling the way to Mt. Takagawayama. Follow this minor road uphill past the cemetery to the trailhead proper just past some portaloos. It takes approximately 30-minutes from Hatsukari Station. Start heading up the earthen steps (there is an alternative “sawa course” veering to the right). After 15 minutes of moderately steep climbing there is a Otoko-zaka 男坂 (male) and Onna-zaka 女坂 (female) trail branch. The Onna-zaka is the easier but longer of the two slopes. Take your pick, as they meet further up.
After 90 minutes of hiking from Hatsukari Station including an elevation gain of just over 500 metres you’ll reach the summit of Mt. Takagawa 高川山 (976 m). In clear weather bask in a 360-degree view of Fujisan, the antenna ladened Mt. Mitsutoge and to the east Mt. Jinba. When you’re ready to head off look for the signpost on the summit indicating 160 minutes to Otsuki Station. From here on you’ll be following the Musubiyama course むすび山コース. If you’re looking to shorten the hike there are alternative trails leading off the ridgeline down to Kasei Station 禾生駅 and Tanokura Station 田野倉駅 on the Fujikyuko Line. The first downhill section from the summit is steep, rocky with fixed ropes and was slippery after recent rain.
The trail continues along the undulating ridgeline, below which the Chuo Expressway can be seen through the foliage. If there is a downside of this hike it’s the ambient noise generate by traffic and local industry. The next landmark to look for is a trail branch at Tenjin-toge followed by Mt. Mineyama 峯山 (584 m) shown by a metal nameplate tied to a tree and a triangulation point on Mt. Okiyama オキ山 (513 m). The traverse terminates at Mt. Musubiyama むすび山 which overlooks Otsuki City. Remnants remain of the Omusubiyama Observatory – a stone walled pit once used to monitor enemy aircraft during World War II.
The trailhead on the Otsuki side rests beside a house. After passing the Municipal Chuo Hospital cross the bridge, turn right, and follow the National Route 20 back to Otsuki Station. Allow 30 minutes to get to the station from Musubiyama.