Running the Mt Takao to Mt Jimba trails

Mt Fuji with a cloud cap in the distance to the south west, seen from the route
Thanks to first time visiting runner Michal who sent photos and a report on his recent run from Takaosanguchi station on the western edge of Tokyo - his gpx file is at the end of the post:

"My recommendations for someone running it for the first time would be to start from Takaosanguchi station; there are shops for water, lockers, and an English-friendly information office with maps etc. and it is easy to get there from Tokyo, for example from Shinjuku. I took route number 5 up and down Mt Takao, which was pretty nice and mostly runnable. From Mt Takao to Mt Jimba there are good markings, but while some are bi-lingual, some are only in Japanese; it's therefore best to memorise the Kanji characters, for example as on this sign:

Sign on Takao-san with approximate walking times - fit runners might take around one third of these times

For many of the hills on the route there are options to go up over the hill or around it with the a more contouring path which re-joins the ridge path later - the latter is usually the more runable option.

The view back East towards the Kanto plain and Tokyo from Takao-san

It's easy to get water at shops or toilets at Mount Takao and Mount Jimba plus several other places in between, but decent food options are limited. There is a new, really good onsen directly attached to Takaosanguchi station (1000 yen entrance fee, 150 yen for towel rental), which is great for post-run recovery!

A shorter alternative to doing the out and back course is to run down to the main valley road south of Mt Jimba (maybe 20 mins running?) where I have heard there is a bus that goes back to Takaosanguchi station. It might be best to check at the information centre before starting though.

The summit of Mt Jimba with its memorable horse statue -the turn-around point on this route

GPX file for the Takao-san Jimba-san out and back route
"Note that I was doing extra “loop” on the way and I got lost in a minor way a few times, so it might not be perfect, or may require corrections. But it gives you an idea of elevations etc. Michal"

Thanks Michal! For other ideas for running near Tokyo click here


Trail and mountain runs near Tokyo

Looking for trail and mountain runs near Tokyo? I'm often asked about this, so here are a few ideas:

The best hills to do within a day when in Tokyo are are on the west side, and if you have an early enough start you should be able to get back in the afternoon. They are mostly less than 1000m high, and you can choose to make it as easy or tough as you like. The stations to start from are marked in red. For example:

Musashi-itsukaichi station on the JR East Itsukaichi Line
The Okutama area: Hinode-san to Odake-san and back – nice undulating ridge running. This post is from that area: http://trailrunningjapan.blogspot.co.uk/2013/02/mitake-mountain-trail-race-tokyo.html
Or here is someone's linear route using different station
There is a prestigious 71km race using this area called the Hasetsune Cup with an English webpage: http://www.hasetsune.com/en/cup/

On Hinode-san in winter with Taku and Kick


Takaosanguchi Station on the Keio-Takao Line

Mt Jimba via Takao-san

Ome station on the JR East Ome Line
Head north west for  Takamizu-san. It is also a race course: http://www.kfctriathlon.jp/html/event_trail.html#2009_takamizu_trail

Even ex-international orienteers like Alessandro need to stop and look at the map sometimes! Near Ome

Higashi-Agano Station on the Seibu-Ikebukero Line
Trails to the north for Koruyama-san-taki and Kamakitako lake see this post: http://trailrunningjapan.blogspot.co.uk/2014/06/running-from-kamakita-lake-and-kuroyama.html

A hot runner cooling down under Shukuya no Taki near Kamakitako: me

Seibukyujo-Mae Station on the Seibu Sayama Line
For runs round Tayama and Sayama lakes and woodland - rolling trails and roads, an oasis within the city - not mountain but OK if you are short of time.

I advise your to buy a map of the area (Mapple Yamachizu series), and if time is an issue doing an out-and-back course is safer than doing a circle or point-to point when you don't know the area. The navigation is up to you, but I advise a map and compass and take time to match the signs with the map – all mountain trails in Japan can be complicated, especially if you don't read Japanese, so allow time for checking as you go along. Mistakes will occur!

Enjoy, and please send photos and a report to go on the website to help other runners who come later. 

Please note: a certain amount of radiation from the Fukushima Daichi disaster reached this area. Please research the risk before eating local food or drinking from springs.