Located in Kanagawa prefecture, Mt Jinba is a lesser known hiking spot. An easy climb to its 857 meter peak, it offers a nice day getaway from busy Tokyo. The mountain is not crowded unlike neighboring Mt Takao, and offers uninterrupted panoramic views at its peak. On a clear day, the famous Mt Fuji can be seen.
From central Tokyo, JR East or Keio trains take you to Takao Station. The train journey takes approximately an hour. From the station, take the north exit and look for bus stop number 1. The bus bound for Jinba Kogen Shita follows the Jinba Highway and the trip to the terminus takes about half an hour. At the terminus, there is an area guide map to reference if necessary, and it is advisable to take note of the bus timetable for returning to the train station as buses only run every hour.
From the terminus, follow the signs to a small path that cuts through a residential area before reaching the start of the trail. I went on a weekday in winter, and it was very quiet, with only a few people passing by. Nearer to the peak, there was a little snow on the sides of the hiking path, but nevertheless it was safe.
On a clear day, Mt Fuji can be seen very clearly. There was a small rest house at the top, where steaming hot udon or soba with a cup of freshly brewed coffee was very welcome. Since Jinba in Japanese means military camp horse, not unexpectedly, there was a huge white statue of a horse, with the height of the mountain clearly written.
Many people come to Mt Jinba from Mt Takao, but some do it the other way, starting from Mt Jinba first. Personally I would recommend to start at Mt Jinba, as buses at Mt Jinba are infrequent whereas Mt Takao can be accessed directly from the train station, hence there is no need to rush or be mindful of the last departing bus. By finishing with Mt Takao, you would be able to escape from the crowds, as it is less crowded towards the end of the day. It generally takes about seven hours one way. Remember to bring adequate food and water in case rest houses close early especially during winter.
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I still clearly remember the day I first landed in Japan, and since then it has been my goal to set foot in all 47 prefectures. I try to look for less touristy areas, preferring the countryside to the city. I'm always amazed by the many Haagen Dazs and ice cream flavors available only in Japan.