Mt. Amagi (天城山）
Mt. Amagi is the highest point on the Izu Peninsula, offering beautiful virgin forests and a great view of Mt. Fuji.
The hike: From the bus stop, walk down the road a short way, and enter the forest on your left. They’ll be signs marking the trail. The actual mountain isn’t called Amagi, so you have to follow the signposts to Mt. Banzaburo (万三郎岳). The path is flat for the first 10 minutes or so, and then you’ll descend to a small creek and start climbing up the other side. There’s a trail branching off to the right that also leads up to Mt. Banzaburo, but it was closed at the time of writing. I hiked in the fall and I think it was closed because of hunters, but it would make for an interesting loop if the trail is open in other seasons. Anyway, your first target for the day is Mt. Banjiro (万二郎岳). It should take about an hour from the parking lot to the summit. Along the way, you’ll pass by the golf course, so be on the lookout for stray golf balls. From the top of Mt. Banjiro, the trail descends to a saddle, where you should have a wonderful view of Mt. Fuji. On the descent, you’ll pass through a tunnel of Japanese andromeda shrubs, which is one of the highlights of this hike. I think they bloom in early summer, which would be a great time to come. Anyway, the climb up to Mt. Banzaburo should take 40 minutes or so from the saddle. You have a few options from here. You could continue on the trail and do a traverse of the entire mountain range. It should take about 3 or 3-1/2 hours to reach Amagi-toge (天城峠), where you can catch a bus to Shuzenji station (修善時駅). Or you could retrace your steps back to the parking lot. Better yet, you can take the trail leading off to the right for the aforementioned loop (if it’s open). Click here to see a report of a Japanese hiker who did the loop just mentioned.
When to go: This hike can be done year round, but be prepared for snow in the winter. Avoid weekends if you want to dodge the crowds.
Access: From Tokyo station, take the JR Limited Express ‘Odoriko’ train to Ito station (伊東駅). The train takes about 90 minutes, but will cost you around 4000 yen. A local train is half the price, but takes 2 hours and 15 minutes. From Ito station, take a bus bound for Amagi-kogen Golf Course (天城高原ゴルフ場). There are different bus times depending on the season, so make sure you check the schedule before departing Tokyo. Click here for the bus schedule.
Level of difficulty: 1 out of 5 (elevation change ~400m)