Mt. Kinpu & Mt. Mizugaki
➚ 1700 ➘ 1700m
Huts & Campgrounds
Mt. Kinpu and Mt. Mizugaki are two incredible peaks located between Tokyo and Nagano in an area that's known to have the best rock climbing in Japan. It also offers some of the best hiking in Japan, with a variety of terrain featuring panoramic views and incredible landscapes. There is a nice campground only 45 mins from the trailhead, which is perfect as a basecamp for day hikes to each peak. Both of these mountains are listed as hyakumeizan, and there are some mountain huts available if you prefer an overnight hike. Surprisingly, it's a little less busy than the Alps, so the weekend crowds are not usually a problem. Despite the area being famous for rock climbing, there are no technical or exposed sections for these two trails, but still enough scrambling and ropes to keep things interesting.
If you're driving you can simply park next to the trailhead located here, it's about 2.5 hours from Tokyo.
From Kyoto & Osaka: The cheapest option is an overnight bus to Kofu Station. You can view all the details and make reservations here. It takes over 7 hours and the price ranges from ¥7,000 to ¥9,000. Alternatively, you could take the Shinkansen, use google maps to see your best options.
From Tokyo: There is a train that runs all the way to Nirasaki Station from Shinjuku. It takes about 100 mins and costs around ¥3000 for a non-reserved seat.
The Bus: Once you arrive at Nokogiri you will need to catch a bus to Mizugaki Sanso, the bus only runs on weekends and holidays and only from April to October. The first departure is at 8:50am, but it's not listed on google maps so it's a good idea to confirm the timetable here.
The best option for camping is the Fujimidaira Hut located just 45 mins from the trailhead. From there you can drop off your gear and enjoy both peaks over 2 days. Alternatively, you can sleep near the peak of Mt. Kinpu at the Kinpusan Hut.
Weather and Seasons
Summer and autumn, from July to October, are the best time for this hike. There is likely to be snow hanging around until May, and starts falling again at the end of October. The most amount of rainfall usually occurs from mid-June to mid-July. The autumn leaves will be colourful from mid-September to mid-October.
Mizugaki Bus Stop → Mt. Mizugaki → Fujimi-daira Campground
Time: 5 hrs
Distance: 5 km
Elevation change: ➚ 800m gain ➘ 500m loss
For your first day, you have enough time to choose either Mizugaki or Kinpu, but due to the somewhat late arrival time of the bus, it's often easier to set up camp, have some lunch, and then hike up Mt. Mizugaki. From the campground, you can reach the peak of Mizugaki within 2 hours. The trail is easy to follow and only has one intersection, just follow the sign that says 瑞牆山.
Fujimi-daira Campground → Mt. Kinpu → Mizugaki Bus Stop
Time: 7 hrs
Distance: 10 km
Elevation change: ➚ 900m gain ➘ 1200m loss
For your last day of hiking you can still leave your tent at the campground, just make sure you pack it up first because other people might want to use your tent space. If you want to catch the sunrise, aim for the Dainichi Rock which is halfway to Kinpu and only 1.5 hours from the campsite. From here the trail continues along the ridge with incredible views the whole way. The terrain here includes some scrambling and the odd chain, but nothing too technical. There is no water up here, so bring extra if you're hiking in summer.
Altitude & Weather
Hiking Distance: 14km
Time: 2 days
Elev. change: ➚ ➘ 1700m