Mt Buko (武甲山, Buko-san) is a 200 Famous Mountain in Saitama. It's distinctive, ridged face is a result of it being quarried for limestone. I think it's a very cool, unique-looking mountain thanks to this, but if you're climbing this via public transport the course takes you past over a kilometre of very dusty road with a lot of factory buildings.
I first climbed this mountain in March of 2023 as a point-to-point course using public transport. From Ikebukuro (池袋) station, you get to board the very cheerful Laview express train, complete with yellow seats.
From here it's a couple of train transfers onto a local train, before you get off at Urayamaguchi (浦山口) station and begin your hike.
There was a tiny bit of snow remaining at the beginning of March, but nothing that required any special equipment. I also climbed it in January of 2024 without any snow, but if you're climbing in the winter months I recommend checking YAMAP to get a sense of the conditions.
I also totally forgot I saw this guy until I was looking back over the photos for this, but I got to see a deer on the way up!
Finally you'll reach the summit of Mt Buko, with an elevation of 1304m.
From Mt Buko you can get a view of the town of Yokoze below. In the bottom right you can even see some of the factories which I presume are for the limestone quarried from this mountain.
The summit itself is pretty small so if it's windy you can descend a little bit and there are some benching places scattered around here where you can take a break.
And then it's onto the descent! This whole course is fairly straightforward, with no difficult bits. People do do the station-to-station course but the loop course from the carpark is more popular, so you should encounter more hikers on this stretch back down to the carpark.
The common kingfisher is the official bird of Yokoze, so you'll see a lot of these guys on signposts as you make your way back to the station.
While the roads are fairly empty on the weekends, I climbed Mt Buko on a weekday, and so the occassional truck driving by made for a pretty unpleasant and dusty walk down to Yokoze station. I would recommend giving this course a skip if you're planning it on a weekday.
As I approached the station, I also managed to get a photo of a passing Laview. It has a very futuristic, spaceship-looking vibe from the outside.
From near Yokoze you can also get the best view of Mt Buko.
Finally before heading home, you can also stop off at the nearby 武甲温泉 (Buko Onsen). Overall, if you're looking for a slightly longer station-to-station course, and don't mind walking past all the factories, I think Mt Buko is a relatively accessible option for Tokyo-siders.
|7h20m (the expected time for an average hiker without breaks)
With the point-to-point course your toilet options will be first at Urayamaguchi station, and then again at the trailhead/carpark before you head towards Yokoze station.
There is a toilet just past the summit as well but it is closed in the winter months.
If you have a car, you can take a much shorter 7km loop course instead.
|Transfer to Laview at Ikebukuro
This course can be done from either direction, but I opted to do it from Urayamaguchi station as the train timings were better.
You'll have to reserve your Laview train tickets separately.
|武甲山御嶽神社一の鳥居 駐車場 （ぶこうさんみたけじんじゃいちのとりい ちゅうしゃじょう)
The car park at the trailhead is quite small for how popular the mountain is, so I recommend arriving early if you want a spot.
When we went in January 2024, inadvertently with bad traffic we reached the carpark at 10:30 and were just in time to grab a spot from some people who were leaving instead.