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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.

Okutama Station

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 a half.

 

Odake Jinja

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.

Mitake Shrine

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.