Mt Tanzawa (丹沢山)

02 January 2024
Mt Tanzawa (丹沢山)

Mt Tanzawa (丹沢山, Tanzawa-san) is one of the mountains that make up the Tanzawa mountain range in Kanagawa. At 18km the course is long, but still daytrip-accessible for hikers with stamina. It's also a 100 Famous Mountain, and with good public transport access it's one of the easier (and cheaper) mountains to check off your list.

I climbed Mt Tanzawa for the first time with a group of friends on Christmas day in 2022. Japan doesn't celebrate Christmas like back home in Australia, and since I'm far from my family it was nice being able to spend it with my friends.

The course we took was an out-and-back course starting and ending at the Okura (大倉) bus stop. Along the way, you will also pass another popular mountain in Tanzawa, Tono-dake (塔ノ岳).

trail start
The trail starts off in a typical forest

Affectionately (?) called バカ尾根 (baka-one or "stupid ridge") by hikers, your hike starts with a 3hr+ climb of mostly stairs up Okura ridge. The first time I climbed it I told myself I would never climb it again, but I've done it four times at this point so it does grow on you.

stairs for days
Basically, a lot of stairs

From part-way up you start getting a clear view of Mt Fuji if the weather conditions are good. There's a couple of spots to rest and buy drinks/snacks from mountain huts along the way up as well.

mt fuji
Mt Fuji - the winter months are definitely the best time to see it

Once you reach the first peak of Tono-dake, it's onwards to Mt Tanzawa! This is also a good point to check in with yourself whether you want to continue on. Going on to Mt Tanzawa and then coming back again to Tono-dake will add at least 2 hours to your hike.

The view of Mt Fuji from Tono-dake
Since we went in late December, there was a little bit of snow between Tono-dake and Mt Tanzawa

Since most people don't climb past Tono-dake, the route here is a lot quieter. It's mostly along a ridgeline with some stairs and ups and downs.

mt tanzawa 2
We've made it!

For the true masochist, there's the option to continue on past Mt Tanzawa to Hiru-ga-dake (the highest peak in Tanzawa). But this will bring your total hike distance to 24km so generally people split that course up into 2 days.

tanzawa peak
A bit more snow at the peak

Finally, it's time to go back all the way you came. Although the course is long, the stretch between Tono-dake and Mt Tanzawa is the prettiest part of the hike so it's worth the effort.

The ridgeline from Mt Tanzawa back to Tono-dake

Once you make it back to Tono-dake, then it's onwards down all the stairs you climbed up in the morning. At this point, your knees are probably hurting.

final stretch
The final stretch home

There are generally plenty of people on this trail so as far as mountain trails go, it feels pretty "safe" if you descend a little bit later than you usually do. I don't worry as much about finishing early like I do on other less-populated trails. But of course I always make sure to finish before dark!

heading home
Off the trail and back to the bus stop. This photo was taken around 16:30.

Hiking course details

Date climbedLengthCourse time
2022-12-2518.5km10h45m (the expected time for an average hiker without breaks)

The trail is long, but since there's a lot of stairs and it's very well-maintained it's easier than it looks. Its easy access makes it a good training mountain too.

There are toilets available at both the bus stop, and at multiple points on the way up (probably the most toilets I've seen on a mountain, which speaks to how popular it is!)

Public transport access with example schedule

There's a bus timetable here.

06:39渋沢 (しぶさわ)
07:03大倉 (おおくら)

Since this bus route is so popular with hikers, you might not be able to get the 06:39 bus from Shibusawa station. If you're keen, make sure you get off the train from the carriage closest to the stairs to beat the rush of other hikers. Take a right out the ticket gates, and then down the stairs on your right to the bus stop.

The next one is at 07:02 so it's not really a big deal if you miss one, though!

For the return trip, there are buses every 20 to 30mins until 8pm, so I don't usually aim to catch a specific bus home, I just get whatever comes next.

Trip total:2300

Related tags

Check out some of my other posts!

Mt Ashitaka (愛鷹山)
Mt Ashitaka (愛鷹山)
13 April
Mt Hamaishidake (浜石岳)
Mt Hamaishidake (浜石岳)
08 March
Mt Kumotori (雲取山)
Mt Kumotori (雲取山)
08 March
Mt Hodo (宝登山)
Mt Hodo (宝登山)
01 March
⛰️ Find me on Instagram and Yamap! Background image from Freepik.