The Tanzawa mountain range, home to the highest peaks in Kanagawa prefecture, is a must-hike for adventure seekers who live in Kanto. We did the traverse last January 10-11 on a warm and sunny winter day. The trail starts at Okura bus stop where you will be introduced to a lush green forest even in winter. The first 4 hours of the hike will be a continuous ascent to Mt.Hori (堀山) and Mt.To or Mt.Tonodake (塔ノ岳). The trail here is very established, so there’s a little chance that you’ll get lost. Make sure to ration your water as there’s only one water source in this leg.
We arrived at Mt.To around noon. On a good day, you will be greeted by a majestic view of Mt.Fuji in the west and Mt.Oyama in the east. There’s a nearby watersource (20-minute roundtrip) from the summit of Mt.To.
From Mt.To, we then hiked our way to Mt.Tanzawa (丹沢山). This leg of the hike takes about 2 hours of both uphills and downhills. Some parts of the trail were already covered by a thin sheet of ice, so crampons are highly recommended. The whole stretch of the Tanzawa mountain range can be viewed from the summit of Mt.Tanzawa. For 2-day hikers, if you find yourself already exhausted, I recommend staying here for the night and continue to Mt.Hiru the next day.
From Mt.Tanzawa, we continued our hike to the highest point in this mountain range – Mt.Hiru, or locally called Hirugatake (蛭が岳). There is a water source an hour away from Mt.Tanzawa. Unfortunately for us, the water was all frozen when we got there. This leg had much more steeper ascents and descents. After two hours, we finally reached Mt.Hiru around 1600. The sun was already setting, so we checked-in our stuff in the mountain hut and warmed ourselves with a hot cup of tea. Dinner was spartan, to say the least, but enough to give us renewed energy for the next day. After we had our fill, it was time to get some frostbitten sleep to prepare for the next day.
From Mt.Hiru, it takes about 4-5 hours to complete the traverse and exit the northern part of the range in Sagamihara. You should check the bus schedule at the hut before departure. There are 2 water sources to be found on this leg, but don’t count on it in the winter season. This trail will take you to two more minor peaks called Mt.Kibigara (黍殻山) and Mt.Yake (焼山) until you exit at Higashino bus stop (東野). A caveat, some people read this kanji one as Tono which may be confused with Mt.To or Tonodake, so please take note! From the bus stop, you can either call a cab, or wait for the bus. Make sure to check the bus schedule beforehand so you can time your arrival. We arrived in Higashino around 1300, but the bus doesn’t come until 1630, so we had to walk on a paved asphalt road all the way to Migaki (三ヶ木) station for two hours! We’re that cheap!
From Yokohama, you can take the Sotetsu-line bound for Ebina and transfer to Odakyu bound for Shibusawa station (渋沢駅) . From the train station, there are several buses bound for Okura (大倉) bus stop that leave every 30-minutes or so. The hike can be done year-round, but crampons are necessary for winter treks. You can visit this site for bus information for Higashino bus stop (Japanese). Camping is prohibited anywhere on the mentioned trail, so it is a good idea to contact the hut of choice beforehand for reservations. This post has a lot of information on how to contact the huts. We bought the No.28 map of the Mapple Mountain and Highland Map (山と高原地図) map series. You can buy it at any major bookstore in Kanto.
- Mt.Hori (堀山 943MASL)
- Mt.To (塔ノ岳 1491MASL)
- Mt.Tanzawa (丹沢山 1567MASL)
- Mt.Hiru (蛭が岳 1673MASL)
- Mt.Kibigara (黍殻山 1273MASL)
- Mt.Yake (焼山 1260MASL)