Mt. Tanzawa (丹沢山)

Mt. Tanzawa is a wonderful series of rolling hills located just west of Yokohama. The night views of Tokyo are incredible, as is the unobstructed view of Mt. Fuji.


The hike: From the bus stop, hike up the road past some houses and Japanese inns. The road will split after about 10 minutes or so. Take the left fork. Initially a forest road, the path will eventually turn into a proper hiking trail. During the first 90 minutes or so, you’ll pass by a number of ‘teahouses’ which sell basic refreshments during the summer hiking season. Horiyama-no-ie (堀山の家), is the first actual mountain hut in which you can stay. Click here to access the hut website. There’s also a trail junction at this hut, but keep going straight, towards Tou-no-dake (塔ノ岳). After 20 more minutes another trail will come in on the right, but ignore it and keep going up and up. There’s a seemingly endless array of wooden stairs along this point, and you’ll keep seeing them all the way to the top of the ridge line. Mt. Fuji should start coming into view just behind you if the weather is clear. Around 90 minutes from the hut at Horiyama you should be sitting on top of Tou-no-dake. Take a well deserved break and check into the hut if you’ve lost your energy or if it’s late. You’ve got about 2 hours of up & down ridge hiking in order to reach the high point of the mountain range. Please note that no camping is allowed anywhere on the mountain, so be prepared to fork over some money to stay in the huts. The hut on top of Tou-no-dake, named Sonbutsu-sansou (尊仏山荘) costs 5000 yen with dinner or 4000 yen without meals. Anyway, regardless of whether you stay here or not, you’ve got to traverse the entire Tanzawa ridge in order to say you’ve truly done it. Continue on the path that goes behind the hut, which leads to the true summit of Mt. Tanzawa (丹沢山). It’ll take about an hour or so to reach the top, where you’ll be greeted with another hut. This one is called Miyama-sansou (みやま山荘) and their website can be found here. If you’re a sucker for punishment (like I was) and want to traverse to the highest peak in the range all in one day, then take the trail to the left of the hut towards Hiru-ga-take (蛭ケ岳). It should take another hour or so from Mt. Tanzawa. I timed my arrival perfectly, as the sun was sinking just behind Mt. Fuji when I arrived on the doorstep of the hut. There are also tons of deer in this area who are looking for free handouts of food. The website for Hiru-ga-take Sansou (蛭ケ岳山荘) is here. The night views of Tokyo from here are out-of-this-world, especially on a clear winter night. If you stay at this hut, then you’ve got a much shorter 2nd day compared with staying at the other huts. Continue on the trail that leads past the hut. Your goal for the day is Tono (東野), where there’s a bus back to civilization. It should take about 3 hours from Hiru-ga-take. Just follow the signposts and turn left at the 2nd trail junction you come to. The entire mountain is lacking in water, so make sure that you bring plenty. Even in the huts there isn’t any fresh water and you have to buy overpriced bottled water! Check the bus schedule at any of the huts before departing on the 2nd day.

When to go: This hike can be done year round, but bring some light crampons during the winter because of lingering ice in shady areas.

Access: From the northern exit of Shibusawa station (渋沢駅), take a bus bound for Ookura (大倉). The bus takes only 15 minutes and costs only 200 yen. Alternatively, you can grab a taxi to the trailhead for around 1500 yen. Click here for the bus schedule.

Map: Click here

Live web cam: Click here

Level of difficulty: 3 out of 5 (elevation change 1383m)

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14 Comments on “Mt. Tanzawa (丹沢山)”

  1. jean Says:

    I did the Tanzawa this weekend, with a variation on the second day.
    Useful peace of information: buses from Tono (東野) are only 8:08am and 16:08pm!
    I opted like, most people seem to do, to take the bus back to Shin-matsuda (新松田) from Nishi Tanzawa Shizen Kyooshitsu (西丹沢自然教室) (time on weekend includes … 9:50, 10:20, 10:55, 12:00, 14:00 …). It takes a 4,5 to 5 hours to get there from Hiru-ga-take (蛭ケ岳). From there you pass Uru-ga-take (臼ケ岳), reach Hinokiboramaru (檜洞丸) then take the track on the left (south) towards the end point.

    It was my first trek in Japan and all in all I was pretty surprised.
    First, it was rather hard: as mentioned 1400m ascent the first day, as it goes up an down quite a lot between Mt. Tanzawa (丹沢山) and Hiru-ga-take (蛭ケ岳), and then at least 1500m descent the second day, not speaking about the ascent. And it was always right on the ridge, always straight up the hill, straight down the hill, no curves! And that makes it a lot more tiring!

    I’m used to trek in the European Alps, and it’s rarely like that there. Most of the trails are actually used by local peoples, for their flocks or even just to get to another village, and that since centuries. I don’t know if all Japan mountains are like what I have seen in the Tanzawa range, but it seems the trails are for hikers only. On the map covering the area you can see quickly that all trails are on ridges only. Their huts seem to sit on peaks most of time. This makes no sense to me: they have no river next, so no running water. They have no electricity since there’s actually nobody leaving in the mountain. No villages, not even isolated house. On the other hand, huts offers stunning views!

    I was unlucky regarding the weather. It was pleasant but I coudn’t see neither Tokyo’s light nor Fuji san at night time. It was very cloudy on the second day, I was lucky enough to get a quick sight of Mt. Fuji in the morning, before hiking down in the clouds until the end of the trek. The hut at Hiru-ga-take (蛭ケ岳) was just ok but quite expensive in my opinion for two meals made of rice only (and some pickles, whatever they call it). We had some canned curry to go with it for the dinner :) And that was ¥7000! Yes, more expensive than a Swiss hut!!
    I liked the little introductory speech by the owner before the diner at 5:30pm, the 8 guest were listening religiously! By 7pm everybody was sleeping! And everybody was up at 5am, long night! I think there was only two guys below 60, 3 with me!

    All in all it was very good. It’s just fabulous to be able to get to such a wild nature in a few hours while living in the world biggest urban area!
    People were nice and much more talkative than in Tokyo, I improved my poor Japanese a lot already!

    But I still can’t believe there’s no activity at all running up in the hills. I expected to see the local mountain dweller life and culture and couldn’t find anything like that.
    Tanzawa has a lot of forest and very few clear spaces though, while being quite close to Tokyo. That could explain. Im gonna check northern alps next time see if I can find any local altitude activity.

    • wesu Says:


      Many thanks for the bus information at the end of the hike. Very helpful for future hikers!

      You’ll find that all of the trails in Japan are for hikers only. Not much village life in the mountains of Japan (although there are some peaks are sacred and get a fair number of religious pilgrims – Ondake and Mt. Ishizuchi are two of the better known)

      I agree about the Hiru-ga-take hut – very overpriced considering that they don’t have any running water! Most huts sit snugly on the ridge line and the trails are very straightforward (not many switchbacks at all).

      There are a lot of wonderful mountain huts in the valleys as well, especially in Kamikochi. Also, there are a lot of mountain huts and hot springs at the beginning of a lot of trails, serving hikers who do day hikes. Japanese people are quite busy and overwhelmingly prefer day hikes to multi-day treks.

      Sorry the weather wasn’t so good. Winter usually has the best views and clearest weather on Tanzawa.

  2. Hamilton Shields Says:

    Just got back from a great Tanzawa hike, and wanted to contribute. After seeing the review on the Hirugatake hut, decided to stay at Miyama and enjoy a longer second day. It was a great choice.

    The owners have a large library of books on Japanese mountains as well as the Himalayas, some in English. The food was great, teppan-yaki with fresh vegetables and beef for dinner and karada-gohon for breakfast, each with a variety of side dishes.

    The sleeping area was very comfortable, and if you make a reservation you can request the two private ‘rooms’ (separated from the dorm by a pull across screen). The staff was friendly but not overbearing. Overall a nice treat for someone like me who has until now used only a tent or free huts.

    As for the infrequent bus schedule, on weekdays there are more options. I also didn’t realize that one of the buses heads towards the chuo-line, meaning there is an earlier 3:15-ish way to get back to Tokyo on the weekends. I would ask the people at the hut or stores close to the bus stops for details.

    Given that all the snow, I thought the trail would be more empty, but there were a decent number of people on the way up to Tanzawa (the rest was more empty). I would hate to see this place on a summer weekend! Must be packed.

    Beautiful hike, nice in the winter.

  3. El Dorawi Says:


    Hey folks!!!

    Thank you very much for all the precise and great information. I just spent 3 weeks in Japan and this hike was definitely one of the beautiful highlights.

    From Yokohama, I could arrive in Okura and do this hike, without knowing Japanese, with all the information you provided here.

    However, I printed out a good map with an altitude profile and the names in Japanese. It was thus possible to just ask hikers or in the huts for directions:

    Details for people who also want to do this complete hike from Okura to Higashi-no / Tono in one day:

    Getting there:
    – Getting up in Yokohama at 4.30h
    – First Train at Yokohama Eki to Ebina at 5.50h
    – Train Ebina to Shibusawa
    – Bus to Okura, Okura 7.30h

    – Okura, 大倉, 290m, 0km, Hiking start at 7.45am
    – Mt. Horiyama, 堀山, 1471m, 7km, at 10.30am
    On the way up and on the summit
    u have a beautiful view on Mt. Fuji.
    Quite a lot of Japanese hikers (still).
    – Mt. Tanzawa, 丹沢山, 1567m, 10km, at 12pm
    Here should be the decision if u r on time,
    and if you wanna make to catch the bus at 16.20h
    on the other side!
    – Mt. Hirugatake, 蛭ケ岳, 1673m, 13km, at 13.40pm
    Highest point of Tanzawa mountains.
    Time for a good break with hot café and food.
    Possibility to stay for night (expensive, ca. 70€)
    You should start here at 14h at the latest!
    – Higashi-no bus station, 390m, 22km, at 15.45h
    Valley of highway 413
    Tono (東野) is a bit before.

    Remarks for way down from Hirugatake:
    Just after the Hirugatake hut you take a right, then following the ridge trail.
    The way down from Hirugatake u will be quite alone. The way is not well marked (as e.g. up to Hirugatake). At some point I took a left, where I could already see down to the village Aone, in a valley with a river and the highway 413. Descending to the left from the ridge however, ended up over a very steep way along a small river. This was definitely no good idea, coz very steep and bad way. Better should be to follow the ridge way until down to the valley. Anyway, I finally ended up in Aone village, next to the Aone Jr. High School at 15.45h, where I took then last bus at 16.18h. The next station was Higashi-no (16.20h). Two stations later I passed with the bus at the station, which was the bottom of the ridge, so this way would have been much better. May be longer, but definitely more comfortable!!
    The bus will end in Hashimoto and takes about 2h (!!). From there, you have direct trains back to Yokohama.

    Remarks for the hike in one day:
    I actually walked up quite slow but steady, the view to Fuji and the nature was quite beautiful.
    However, I walked light (just a small hip-bag with snacks and 2l of water).
    Attention: On the whole way, you won’t find water sources, and food is very expensive in the huts.
    I only took a café in Hirugatake hut (5€). But I do mountaineering and running (half-marathon),
    so I normally do not need lots of food and water during sports.
    Between Mt. Tanzawa and Mt. Hirugatake I was running some flat and down passages.
    From Mt. Hirugatake down to Higashi-no, I almost was running everything.
    Thus, I took about 2h descending from 1650m to 400m, about 9km way.
    To the end of the ridge (the better way), it would have been approximately 1-2km more.
    This should be a reference for you, when deciding to try the walk in one day.

    Have fun & a beautiful hike!!!

  4. Tokyo Papa Says:

    An alternative route for a 1-day hike over the ridge and down to Okura:

    Yabitsu Toge (ヤビツ峠) –> Tou-no-dake (塔ノ岳)–> Okura (大倉)
    day hike: October 2, 2011

    Getting there:
    Odakyu express train from Machida to Hadano.
    Bus from Hadano (north exit) to Yabitsu Toge.

    The hike.
    After getting off the bus at the Yabitsu pass, continue on
    for a kilo or so down the road (it is downhill, but this is just the route to the trailhead). The trail starts off from the road with a teahouse on the right, and the trail to the left. There is a sign for
    Tou-no-dake (6.3 kilo). From Tou-no-dake, find the trail heading back down to Okura. After another 7 kilos on well marked and maintained trail, the trail becomes a road, and you walk a bit past farms before arriving at the visitors center, and the end of the hike.

    Getting back:
    From Okura, you can catch a bus to Shibusawa, where the Odakyu express line stops. Hop on the next train back towards Shinjuku.
    Buses from Okura are frequent in the morning and afternoon.

    My experience:
    The trail off the road starts out steep. The trees thin out here and there, and there is lots of up and down, with some sections requiring chains (fun). After 3.5 hours or so without going fast, but not stopping either, I made it to the summit of Tou-no-dake. I couldn’t see a thing as the summit was in the clouds- windy, cold, damp (8 degrees C.) A perfect opportunity to pop into the hut and get a warm coffee (or cold beer). You can cook your own food inside if you buy a beverage, so you see people with stoves cooking instant curry, and others breaking out conbini onigiri.
    For those who want to communicate their arrival, be aware that Softbank does not have a signal up there, while AU does. My AU phone’s battery was unexpectedly dead, so I couldn’t really take advantage to talk to my sweetie 1400 or so meters below. I did borrow a young couple’s phone and left her a quick message (don’t worry, everything is fine). I would imagine this is not a normal transaction, and I tried to pay the couple back with American organic gummy bears, and a fruit stick.

    After lunch in the hut (check out the hut-cat), it was still blowing, cold and in the clouds, and I started down towards Okura. Pretty soon the clouds began to thin out, and then they blew away and we were in the sunshine. Now I could see the ridge traversed in the morning (made me want to come back in better weather and do it again). Also saw a Buck with nice antlers. The path was pretty much downhill the whole way, as opposed to the mornings up and down sawtooth-style trail. I took my time on the way down and got to the Shibusawa station at around 4 PM.

    It was a wonderful day hike, and very strenuous if you are not used to climbing (like me!). But the cool weather, and the lack of crowds made it great. I didn’t mind not seeing the views. I would imagine on nice days in spring-summer-fall, this place could become a Shibuya crossing situation. While the trail is wide in places lower down, the upper sections are often narrow, and there are places which could become choke-points (like the Hillary step on Everest).

    A great day, and thanks to Wes for laying it out in the first place.

  5. Alex Says:

    First of all thanks a lot for the information. All your stories helped me to decide that this hike, should end in Ookura. Why? I want to hike entire ridge including Hinokiboramaru, with short second day. Start in Ookura making second day long enough with almost no option for the first day (you have to go to Hiru-ga-take). End in Ookura gives a lot of options in which hat you would stay, and you can make second day really short, and even try to finish hike in one day, if opt to descent after the sunset. On weekends last bus from Ookura is in 8:38. And because I reside in Yokohama, I choose Nishi Tanzawa Shizen Kyooshitsu 西丹沢自然教室 as the starting point.
    You can go to Nishi Tanzawa by bus from Shin-Matsuda station (Odakyu line) 新松田. Buses go quite frequently, two/three buses per hour. First bus from Shin-matsuda is at 7:20, but it is even better take the second one at 7:35. First bus is collecting people from the local train stations, so buses arrived in Nishi Tanzawa simultaneously at 8:50.
    At 9:00 I started the hike. One has to go little bit further by the road and then turn right, there is a sign indicating the trail to Hinokiboramaru. The trail goes up straight away and you have to gain more then 1000 m to reach the summit. This took me around 2.5 hours, another 2.5 hours were need to reach the Hiru-ga-take. It was actually the most difficult part of the trail. You going up and down, and I think you gaining another 1000 meters here. But I like Hinokiboramaru – Hiru-ga-take part much more then the rest of the trail. Here you have a real hiking: not many people (even on Saturday after Hinokiboramaru I met just few of them), proper hiking trail – not many ladders and pavements and they even did not remove fallen trees from the trail . After the Hiru-ga-take the “civilized” part of the trail starts and this really speed you up. I had a lunch and 30 minutes nap at Hiru-ga-take, then I spend 50 min to arrive at Mt Tanzawa and another 40 min to Tou-no-dake. It was almost 5 pm, sunset. I have to make a decision going down in the darkness or staying at Sonbutsu-sansou. I had headlight and it was more then 3 hours to the last bus so I decide to go. I had no problems on descent, except for the last 2 kilometers, where my legs started to betray me ,
    And as the bonus I feel like I am on night safari, my headlight reflection from deer’s eyes around the trail provided nice illumination. At Ookura I just come to the bus stop at the last minute to catch the 6:38 bus. In 12 minutes I was at Shibusawa station. With my heroic descent I had enough time to go to the Tsurumake oncen 

    • wes Says:


      Thanks for your detailed description on the hike in reverse. That is one monster traverse knocked off in one day.


  6. Philip Irri Says:

    Thanks for the hiking guide! I did the hike with two friends on Christmas Eve. It was really nice and snowed a lot, which reminded me of Christmas in Sweden. And you right about the “If you’re a sucker for punishment”-part! My knees hurt for almost a week after the hike! The total walking time was about 10 hours :P

  7. matt Says:

    any insight on the reported leeches in the area? I might be doing an impromptu hike this weekend, but I’m not looking forward to burning off blood sucking leeches. I figure it’s getting towards the end of the rainy season, but if it’s still really bad I might not go. thoughts?


  8. Ada Says:

    I live in Ebina and this is just about 40-min drive. Do you know if there are any parking lot nearby the Mountain? Thank you your blog is heaven sent.

  9. pmc Says:

    Hi, I am interested in doing a traverse of the Tanzawa Range starting from Okura to Tonodake, Tanzawa, Hirudake and then Tanzawa Nishi. Ive been able to find information about this much of the hike online but I would like to continue from here to Yamanaka if it is at all feasible. I have a hiking map which appears to show trails but I havent found any information online about other hikers taking this route? Could anyone give me some information, anybody who has done it, part of it, or even heard about it being done would be really helpful! thanks

    • wes Says:


      Sorry for the late reply. I’m based in Osaka so I don’t know much about the Tanzawa range. You could try joining the Facebook group and posting the same question there. The group has 1400 members and a lot of them are based in Kanto and know the range much better than myself.


      • paul Says:

        Thanks! i did the trek and it worked out fine, It took 4 days but got me all the way to yamanaka, could post about it here sometime if you like

  10. Nate Says:

    We did the actual whole ridge in a single day, starting from Ookura bus station, up to Mount To, Tanzawa, Hirugataketanzawa, Hinohokihoramaru and then down to the camping site near road 76. It is not easy as the ridge is up-and-down the whole way. So travel light and remember to eat to keep your energy levels up.

    Anyone going up, please note that the line “Level of difficulty: 3 out of 5 (elevation change 1383m)” is only the altitude difference between the highest point and the lowest point. It is not the actual elevation change you will encounter when you do the hike. After Mount To, the trail drops 100m before going up to Tanzawa. So already at Tanzawa you will have climbed about 1600m. After Tanzawa the trail drops another 100m before going up to hirugataketanzawa (1673m). After Hirugataketanzawa the trail drops a staggering 350m before you go back up to Hinohokihoramaru (1601m). The total climbing over the whole ridge is more than 2.3km so plan accordingly.

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