Clocking at 2017 MASL, Mt.Kumotori (雲取山) towers over Tokyo and the surrounding Chichibu-Tama-Kai National Park (秩父多摩甲斐国立公園) mountains. One thing good about hiking these mountains is the relative ease of access from Tokyo.
On a cool November weekend, we started off our day with a warm cup of coffee at the local conbini as we made our way to Shinjuku to take the Chuo line bound for Okutama. After almost a two-hour commute, we arrived at Okutama station around 9:30AM. Just beside the station, you can find the Okutama Visitor center. They have people who can inform you of the different trails and give you a trail map, albeit in Japanese. There are several trails you can take from the station. The first choice is to start from the station and hike gradually up the mountains via the Mt.Mutsuishi (六ッ石山), passing through several mountains before reaching Mt.Nanatsuishi (七ッ石山) where it converges with another trail all the way up to Mt.Kumotori. Another route would be to start from Tabayama (the last stop for the bus from Okutama), hike all the way up to Mt.Mitsuishi (三ッ石山) and then Mt.Kumotori. The man we talked to at the Okutama station told us that this trail was rather hard and that we should take the Kamosawa trail instead. And that we did. From the station, we took a bus bound for Kamosawa (鴨沢). After a 30-minute bus ride, we arrived at the trail head for the Kamosawa trail. After some stretches and gearing up for our long hike up, we started at 10:30AM.
Although the sun was up and the sky was clear, the air was quite cool and we were ready to hike up Tokyo’s highest peak. From the trail head, it takes about an hour and a half at the first water station where we had our lunch. We packed with us some onigiri and some yogurt from an old hiker we met on the train. He told us the directions of the trail using his worn-out map where he marked all the mountains he has climbed around the vicinity. Out of the blue, he just realized that he wanted to give us some of the yogurt and the yakiniku he packed with him. We graciously accepted the gifts. But I digress.
After hastily devouring our provisions, we picked up the pace as we made our way to Mt.Nanatsuishi. So far, the trail was very decent, albeit the occasional 100-feet slide down if you don’t watch your step. Before you reach the mountain hut, there is a constant ascent that takes most of your time and breath away. We were jokingly calling the mountain Mt. Na-NotSoEasy (get it?) because of this ascending junction. It takes about an hour to reach the next pit stop at a mountain hut in Mt.Nanatsuishi where you can top-up your water bottles for free!
It was around 1:30PM when we started our assault for Mt.Kumotori. From the summit of Mt.Nanatsuishi, we descended to the ridge that separates it from Mt.Kumotori. Before reaching the summit of Kumotori, you will pass by a helipad and a junior summit called Shoukumotori (小雲取) at 1937MASL. This whole junction took us about 2 hours before we reached the true summit of Kumotori at about 4:00PM. At the summit, there’s a mountain hut where you can stay for free, but you have to come earlier if you want to have a spot.
From the summit, we descended to Kumotorisansou mountain hut (雲取山荘) for about 20 minutes. This was our stop where we pitched our tents and cooked dinner (yakiniku courtesy of the old man from the train) for the cold night.
We broke camp at around 9:00AM after enjoying the sunrise and a warm breakfast. From Kumotorisansou, the hike to Mt.Siraiwa (白岩山) is straightforward with a combination of slight ascents and descents. During winter, crampons are necessary in this junction as shaded parts are filled with ice and snow. This is the last water source until Mitsumine, so it would be smart to fill up your canteens here.
The final leg of the trail leads us to Mitsumine Shrine (三峰神社) via a ridge where you can see the western mountains of Okutama. Trekking poles were very helpful during this leg as it was all downhill from there. We reached Mitsumine at about 12:30PM just in time to take some more pictures and wait for our bus at 2:00PM. Buses bound for Seibuchichibu depart every two hours. The last bus is around 4:00PM. It’s an hour and a half bus ride along the ridges of Chichibu to Seibuchichibu (西武秩父駅) train station where you can take a train for Tokyo.
Overall, the hike was a very pleasurable experience, but not without its challenges. Make sure to have the right clothing and gear for the season you plan to climb this mountain. It’s also pretty important to know the bus schedules as they will not be as frequent like the city. Click here for the bus schedules. The area around the summit gathers lots of snow in winter, so it would be smart to bring along a pair of crampons when doing a winter hike.
Difficulty: Moderate (Hard if starting at Mitsumine)
- Mt. Nanatsuishi (七つ石山 1757.3MASL)
- Mt. Shoukumotori (小雲取山 1937MASL)
- Mt. Kumotori (雲取山 2013.1MASL)
- Mt. Siraiwayama (白岩山 1921.2MASL)
- Mt. Maesiraiwayama (前白岩山 1776MASL)
- Mt. Kirimogamine (霧藻ヶ峰 1523.1MASL)