Living in a big city can be tough, especially for those who love nature and freshness of the mountain air. Fortunately, if you live in Tokyo, you have plenty of choices as for nature-immersion daily trips!
One of these is the hike up Mount Kintoki (officially Mount Ashigara) near Hakone. It’s pretty undemanding as Hakone-Yumoto is easy to reach from most of the big stations in Tokyo, and once arrived you can hop on one of the many buses going between Hakone-Yumoto and Gotemba. There are different accesses to the trail, the one from Sengoku bus stop allows you to reach the top in nearly one hour and a half. The trail itself is not difficult, but some passages may demand good trekking/hiking shoes as they can be slippery especially after rain, but the view from the top will repay your sweat and dirty shoes: fuming Owakudani volcanic valley, Lake Ashi, Sengoku plane encircled by mountains... and if you’re especially lucky that day, you may also see a glimpse of the Mount Fuji, so keep your eyes open and your camera ready!
As for the practical advice, it’s better to bring lots of water to keep you hydrated during the hike, and a bento to catch up on your energy levels once you reach the top of Kintokiyama (but if you don’t – no problem, there is a shop where you can buy some food as well as souvenirs featuring the symbol of the mount – Kintarō, or “Golden Boy”, a folklore figure with superhuman strength believed to have lived near Mount Kintoki). Also, pay attention to the weather before you go as mist and clouds could prevent you from fully appreciating this hike.
Finally, if you are a fan of onsen (Japanese hot springs), just ask the bus driver on your way to Gotemba, he will drop you off near one of the many onsen facilities with views of Mount Fuji. What can be more refreshing than soaking in hot water while enjoying mountain view after a good hike!
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