- January 11 2016
Mountain climbing from Shinjuku! I went to ‘Mt Kintoki’, where beginners can enjoy climbing!
You might not associate mountain climbing with travelling in Japan. However, there are actually many mountains around Tokyo that you can climb on a day trip. In fact, some mountain lovers just do that on one weekend spontaneously whenever they feel like climbing.
This time, I went to ‘Mt Kintoki’ in ‘Hakone’, a famous hot spring resort. It’s a small mountain of 1212m above sea level. When it’s sunny and clear, it’s possible to see Mt Fuji close from there.
All right, let’s go!
It’s great access catching a bus from Shinjuku!
To get to Mt Kintoki, it’s the best to catch a bus ‘Odakyu Hakone Highway Bus’ at the West Exit of Shinjuku Station. It departs every 30 minutes, and it only takes less than 2 hours to directly get to Hakone.
Here we go!
Some people say that Mt Fuji is visible from the bus when it’s nice and sunny. Between Shinjuku and Hakone, there is a bus stop for the Gotemba Premium Outlets, one of the biggest outlet malls in Japan. So, some people were on the bus to get there.
I was chatting away with my friend for 2 hours, so we got to the entrance of Mt Kintoki without knowing it!
We spot a convenience store LAWSON in front of the bus stop.
This store is in tie-up with Japanese anime Neon Genesis Evangelion, so the characters from that were everywhere inside! The anime is set in a futuristic city with the location called ‘Tokyo-3’ based on Hakone.
Anyway, we got isotonic sports drink with sodium and carbohydrate that would give us fast hydration and energy during climbing.
Let the climbing begin from the entrance to Mt Kintoki!
After purchasing drinks and lunch, the climbing begins. Following the signs on a paved walkway, soon the mountain path shows up.
We keep walking on the path surrounded by low bamboo bushes.
After about 30 minutes, we can already see the town of Hakone at the bottom of the mountain. So nice! It was late November when we went up there, so the leaves were slightly turning to fall colors.
Spotting a big rock, I had to pose for a shot.
The last 20 minutes was actually quite hilly, and I had to use this rope to pull myself up at some point.
Look at this witch hand like branch. Hope it’s not going to curse me...
It was exhausting climbing up this rocky path.
Time to rest at the top of the mountain
We got to the top after about 1hour -1½ hours! It wasn’t that hard in the end.
It was only early afternoon when we arrived, but there were many climbers up there.
What a shame not having clear sky! We would have been able to spot beautiful Mt Fuji from here if it was sunny.
There were two mountain rest huts at the top.
We had to think about it for a while, and we decided to check out the closer one.
Here is the climbers’ notebook, which is commonly seen on any mountain. For a record of reaching the mountaintop, I also wrote my name down.
Now, here is the fun part! It’s our lunchtime with two onigiri rice balls from the convenience store, miso soup from the hut and oden stew.
Oden is a hot pot dish with various ingredients like vegetables, eggs, Nerimono (Japanese fish cakes and fish balls) in a dashi broth. It’s so warming and very good! I always appreciate a nice warm dish like this after mountain climbing.
We can’t forget about taking photos! The sign says ‘the great and glorious Mt Kintoki 1212m above sea level’.
It’s just a divine view!
Descending via Otome-toge Pass
You can descend the same pass as you climbed, but we took the trail of Otome-toge pass. I think we walked for about 1½ hours in total.
On the way down, you’ll see this sign of Otome-toge Pass.
We just need to concentrate and watch our steps going down the mountain!
Following the signs, we come out to this big road. There is a souvenir shop that we can possibly have a good rest!
We found a mysterious statue in a parking lot!
Oh, this is a statue of Kintaro, the main character of Japanese famous folklore. It’s about a powerful and strong boy who won sumo wrestling games against bears. Mt Kintoki is supposed to be the setting of this ‘Kintaro’ story.
It says, ‘you’ll become a good person if you rub Kintaro’s buttocks. Kintaro would be happier, too.’
No kidding, his buttocks are so smooth and shiny after being rubbed so much!!!! lol
I had no choice and rubbed his buttocks. I wonder if I will become a better person...
Celebration at a souvenir shop!
We checked the bus timetable and realized that we still had some time. So, we went inside the souvenir shop to rest.
Ahhhh! The beer totally hit the spot after coming down the mountain. Excellent!
We got carried away and ordered shallow-fried Agedashi tofu. It even came with Maitake mushroom Tempura. It’s so delicious...
In addition, the sticky rice dumplings were superb! The subtle sweet sauce was on top of aromatic grilled dumplings, and I must say that would be the best dumplings in my life...♡
We were too relaxed and ended up catching the last bus to get home. It might be all right during a week, but you need to make sure to book a bus home on a weekend as well so you won’t miss a seat.
Oh, what a fun day!
The climbing itself was easy. It was only a short one, around 3 hours, but we enjoyed the view and shops at the top and the bottom of the mountain were both satisfying with high-quality service.
I would recommend staying in Hakone for a night to enjoy the hot springs there, too!
Please visit Hakone and give the mountain climbing a go!