Why Mt Oyama earns its place on the list of ‘Kanagawa’s 50 Most Scenic Sites’
One of the best things about living in Tokyo is the ease of which you can escape it. Travel an hour in any direction and you’ll either end up on the beach or on top of a mountain. Izu and Hakone are both great day escapes – as is Takao, just an hour away from central Tokyo on the Keio line. The problem with Takao, however, is its popularity. 3 million people climb its slopes every year – and my last visit resembled a conveyor belt of people patiently shuffling their way to the top. Not good. Maybe Mt Oyama would be different…
As I boarded a packed Odakyu train in Shimokitazawa during Golden Week I instantly thought to myself ‘this was a bad idea’. It looked like a rush-hour commute and I assumed everyone on the train was heading to Oyama. Thankfully, hardly anyone got off at my stop and I was quickly out of the station and on a bus bound for the bottom of the mountain.
Standing tall at 1,252 metres, Mt Oyama rightly deserves its place on the list of Kanagawa’s 50 most scenic sites. Twice the height of Takao, it also offers twice the amount of peace and solitude – with its peak affording impressive views across the Sagami Plain, the Boso Peninsula and the skyscrapers of central Tokyo. On my climb to the peak I saw Fuji amongst the clouds, drank holy water at Afuri Jinja Shimosha shrine and wondered why I hadn’t been here sooner.
To reach Mt Oyama, take the Odakyu Line to Isehara Station which is roughly an hour from Shinjuku. Take the north exit and catch the Kanagawa Chuo Kotsu I-10 bus to Oyama Cable (¥300). From there you can start walking or take the cable car up to Afuri Jinja Shimosha Shrine. Open daily, Mondays-Saturdays, 9am-4:30pm; Sundays, 9am-5pm; ¥450 (roundtrip, ¥850)