Many people visiting Japan want to see the elusive and beautiful Mount Fuji. Climbing Mount Fuji is popular with guests from across the world, but you don’t get to experience the true beauty of Mount Fuji from up close. Often the best views of Fuji can be seen from off of the mountain itself, and Mount Mitsutoge offers one of the most amazing views!
Mitsutoge is one of Japan’s top 200 famous mountains, and has recently been identified as a year-round course! Mitsutoge is actually a term that is used for three close summits; Mount Kaiun at 1785m, Mount Osutaka at 1775m, and Mount Kinashi at 1732m. This area has been a sacred mountain, worshipped by those that practice Shugendo, since the Nara period well over 1,000 years ago.
There are three main courses (コース) to summit Mitsutoge, and one shorter route (light purple on the map below).
A course (Aコース)
Start/end point: Mitsutoge Station 三つ峠駅
A course (Aコース) shown in green is around a 7-8 hour round trip, which starts with walking along paved roads until you find the trail head. This route starts at Mitsutoge station which is on the Fujikyuko line with trains from Kawaguchiko, Otsuki and Tokyo. This trail can be used as an out and back, which takes roughly 7-8 hours. It is also commonly used as an ascent route then descending to Kawaguchiko station along course C. On this course you can enjoy a beautiful view of Mount Fuji and see 88 statues of Daishi which is a known power spot. There are two viewing points along the route that also give some stunning views.
B course (B コース)
Start/end point: Kawaguchi Post Office bus stop 河口局前
B course (B コース) shown in blue, starts in the northern part of Kawaguchiko and is roughly a 4-5 hour round trip. On this path you can experience a beautiful waterfall Hahanoshirotaki, where pilgrims and worshippers of Mount Fuji would cleanse themselves. Once past the waterfall you can also experience the Kawaguchiko Asama shrine and torii, which gives a stunning new view of Mount Fuji. There are no other view points past Tenku no Torii until the peak of Mitsutoge. There are public toilets available at the start of the hike, just up the road from the Post Office.
Course C (C コース)
Course C (C コース) shown in pink is recommended for both ascent and descent from Kawaguchiko Mt Fuji Panorama Ropeway. The ascent can take from 4-5 hours, and the descent around 2.5 hours. Along this route you can enjoy views of Mount Fuji, from the Ropeway station, and along the paths, before you summit and see the whole area from above. You can shave some time off by utilising the ropeway up to Kawaguchiko Tenjozan Park and starting the hike from there, it is well signposted and takes you past a lot of fun things, such as a giant swing, and some delicious food. There are toilet here before you start the 4-5 hour ascent.
Start/end point: Mitutougetozanguchi 三ッ峠登山口
The unnamed course in the light purple is the quickest course, by far, to summit Mitsutoge. The route can be accessed by bus, or there is a car park on route 708. The ascent takes roughly 2 hours, and you can descend in less than one hour! The path you take is a long series of switchbacks which vehicles use to access the summit, very specialised vehicles that is! There are no views for the ascent, however, you are well rewarded once you reach the peak. There are toilet in the car park up from the bus stop to use before your ascent.
There are a number of amenities at the top, including toilets, lodging and vending machines offering beer and soft drinks. It is possible to stay at the peak and benefit from sunrise views. You can use any combination of the courses shown on the map to ascend and descend Mitsutoge, which means the mountain is accessible for hikers of varying fitness levels, and how much time you have spare.
The views are some of the most spectacular in Japan, with vistas showing Mount Fuji, the southern alps, and Misaka mountains. With views like that, you might want to stay forever!
Before you go
Before your hike, it is best to make sure of a few things, particularly to check the weather before you head out. As the region around Mitsutoge is very mountainous the weather can change quickly, so always be prepared. Click here for up-to-date mountain weather forecasts. If you want to stay on the peak please do book ahead, reservations are taken by phone, but you can check out the hut information here.
Also please make sure you have the correct clothes and equipment with you for your hike – the climb is very different between seasons, from being hot and steamy in the summer to frigid with snow and ice from autumn to spring. The peak of Mitsutoge can have an accumulation of snow, and the paths can be covered with ice from as early as November. Do bring enough snacks and water, the hut only serves light meals to non-staying guests on weekends and holidays. There is a vending machine at the top which serves Coca-Cola branded drinks and Asahi beer. You can pay to use the toilet at the peak, do bring coins to pay the proprietor.
If you want to know whern the best time to climb is, if seeing Mount Fuji is your goal, click here to learn more about when Fuji is visible.