Located just 90 minutes from central Tokyo, Mount Mitake offers the beauty of nature and panoramic views from its height of 900 meters. At the top of Mount Mitake, there is Musashi Mitake Shine which is said to have been founded over 2000 years ago and has served as a place of worship ever since. Visitors admire the religious atmosphere on the mountain and a traditional local village at the foot of the shrine.
A day trip starts from JR Mitake Station which is close to the beautiful Mitake Gorge. A bus stop is near the station and a 10-minutes bus ride will take you to Takimoto Station, where you board the cable car for Mitakesan Station. If you want to hike from here as I always do, you can walk along a narrow road which winds from Takimoto to the top. The concrete road is steep for 2.5km, but it is worth trying to walk this road that is lined with many beautiful giant cedars.
The road joins a path from Mitakesan Station near the top. You walk another 10 minutes through Mitake village where you see a huge sacred tree that is 1000 years old, traditional local houses, and shukubo lodges which were originally for pilgrims visiting the shrine. At the entrance of the shrine, you come up to a large torii, and get a wonderful view of the surrounding mountains from the main hall.
There are several walking trails which lead to waterfalls, a lookout, and other natural interests around Mount Mitake. If time allows, visiting these points will be another memorable experience. Some trails are steep, so you may need hiking equipment. It is advisable to get a trail map at the Visitors Center near Mitakesan Station. Staff there will provide information on the area.