Odake - November 1985
Location: Okutama, South of Okutama Station, Ome Line
Duration: 1 day (6 hour) hike
Transportation to Start Point:
Train: Shinjuku - Tachkawa 30 mins
Train: Tachikawa - Okutama 1 hour 15 mins
Odake san is a moderate 5 - 6 hour hike within easy reach of Tokyo
for a day's outing, reached by way of the Chuo and Ome Lines. A
30-minute train ride from Platform 8, Shinjuku Station, on the Chuo
Line takes you to Tachikawa, where you can quickly change to Platform
2, the Ome Line to Okutama. Care has to be taken to get on to the
right train on the Ome Line as it splits at Hajiima, with the branch
disappearing in to the nether regions of Musashi Itsukaichi.
The ride up the Ome Line to Okutama is slow but scenic, with trees,
the deep gorge carrying the source waters of the Tamagawa, steel
bridges over precipitous drops, and the occaisonal traditional thatched
house amid persimmon and shaped Japanese trees. Down goods trains
are filled to the brim with limestone from the works near Okutama,
which is reached in one hour fifteen minutes from Tachikawa and
is the terminus of the Ome Line. Okutama is an ideal starting point
for hikes and apart from the Odake route, Kumotoriyama (2,108m)
and may other peaks are readily accessible.
Turning left out of the station you drop down the 100 yards or
so to the main road, the Ome Kaido, and go straight across the Showa
Bridge. The entrance for the walk is then immediately on your right
through the tori gate and up the stone steps.
Start of the walk
After a short uphill section the terrain levels out as you traverse
a pleasant picnic area, and then a near vertical flight of nearly
200 steps lifts you towards Atago Shrine, with an unexpected red
and white pagoda nestling on the hillside.
The formidable concreete steps leading
to Atago Shrine
The path passes over a pretty rock area before dropping down slightly
to a road. The road goes off to the right and it is the path straight
ahead that you need to take. After half an hour's walk from the
start point the 600m point is reached, and Tensei Jinja, a craggy
outcrop watched over by two stone relief statues, thirty minutes
later. This is a sunny spot, ideal for a short rest.
Shortly after leaving Tensei Jinja and climbing further, a sign
is reached stating that 2.9 km has been covered since leaving Okutama
Station, and that Nokogiriyama, the next major peak at 1,109m is
a further 2.1 km. Odake san, the highest point of the walk, is a
further 5 km hence.
Nokogiriyama is reached an hour and fifteen minutes after leaving
Tensei Jinja, and after this point there are some nice tree lined
ridge sections that are realtively flat making a pleasant change
to the uphill struggle. Eventually another sign appears at the base
of Odake itself, announcing that the summit at 1,267m is now within
20 minutes climbing. This is indeed a welcome sight, but the last
20 minutes is some of the steepest climbing of the walk. On a nice
day the summit of Odake is a pleasant spot for lunch, with good
views of the surrounding mountains, including Fuji san and the Tanzawa
range to the south, but on a cold day there is a wicked chill in
the air and it is better to drop down past Odake Jinja to Odake
Sanso, a small lodge with overnight accommodation.
Sue and Nicholas at Tensei Jinja
After leaving Odake Sanso most of the walk is down hill along
sweeping paths until Mitake Shrine is reached in about an hour and
Chance for refereshment about 20
to 30 minutes before Mitake Shrine
Care has to be taken about half way down to take the path that
drops off to the left, but otherwise it is straight forward.
After Mitake Shrine the path enters the narrow shop-lined streets
of Mitake village and winds its way amongst the houses and lodges
until the cable car is reached. A Yen 430 ride on the cable car
brings you to the lower station where a short walk down the hill
takes you to the bus for Mitake Station, also on the Ome Line, for
the return journey to Tokyo.