It's a common misconception that the mountain to climb in Japan is Mount Fuji. While it is both the most striking and tallest mountain in the Japanese archipelago, I would argue it's infinitely better to climb a nearby\u00a0mountain to marvel at the snow-capped beauty, rather than to climb Fuji\u00a0itself. Luckily, there are\u00a0several nearby peaks\u00a0that provide a spectacular vista with Mount Fuji center stage. Usually, though, every summer in Japan (July to September), the promise of climbing Mount Fuji to see the sunrise attracts bus load after bus load of visitors. The usual format is to hike up during the evening, optionally staying for a few hours in a cramped hut for around per person, and doing the final leg in the early hours just in time to catch the iconic first rays of the sun rising over the eastern edge of Japan. Of course, if the weather conditions are less than ideal, you may simply be stuck inside a cloud with no view at all\u2014and hiking up a busy trail comprised of volcanic scree in darkness is not quite the idyllic experience that the postcard-perfect snow-capped images of Mount Fuji suggest. Moreover, Fuji is not the only mountain in Japan for which the sun rises! Here, I offer you some rewarding alternative hikes in the same general region as Mount Fuji and within easy reach from Tokyo. Climbing Mitsutoge Mitsutoge is perhaps the best mountain to catch a good view of Mount Fuji, and on a clear day has a spectacular 360-degree vista spanning from Tokyo to Mount Fuji and over to Japan's Southern Alps. It's easily doable as a day trip most of the year, and with the summit being 1,786 m it's not too strenuous a climb. There are multiple routes to choose from\u2014here's a map (in Japanese) detailing them all. The easiest option would be option A (see below), taking the same route up and down. Whichever route you decide on, allow at least four and half hours for the hike. You'll find a few possible eateries (including Tenkachaya pictured below) along the way, but do bring some provisions with you in case they're closed. There should at least be a vending machine or two on the way for liquid sustenance, but better be safe than sorry. The peak at just over 1,700 m will be a little cooler than at ground level, so depending on the season bring an extra layer or two. Pro tip: During winter, the path may be tricky due to snow and ice, so it is not recommended for inexperienced climbers. Altitude: 1,786 m (5860 ft) Difficulty: Easy - medium Season: Spring - autumn, and winter for more experienced climbers Time to get there: Day trip from Tokyo How to get to Mitsutoge Traveling from Tokyo, there's a regular JR limited express train (the Azusa\/Kaiji) running from Shinjuku towards Kawaguchiko, which requires a transfer to the Fujikyu Railway at Otsuki. Otherwise, you can take the JR Chuo Rapid Service to Takao, change to the regular Chuo Line and take it to Otsuki, then hop onto the Fujikyu Railway. This route is a little cheaper, but adds 30-40 minutes to your travel time. To get to the mountain itself, you can either: A. Start From Mitsutoge Station Get off\u00a0at Mitsutoge Station, head north to the Mitsutoge Green Centre and follow the trail sign posted to Mitsutoge (\u4e09\u3064\u5ce0) up to the summit from there. B. Take the bus from Kawaguchiko Station to Mitsutogetosanguchi If you like, you can stay on the train from Shinjuku until you reach\u00a0the Kawaguchiko terminus, then take the Fuji Kyuko "hiking" bus (which only runs between 09:00 and 10:00) to the other side of the mountain and get off\u00a0at the Mitsutogetozanguchi stop. From there,\u00a0follow the signs to Mitsutoge (\u4e09\u3064\u5ce0), or stay on the bus to the final stop Tenkachaya (\u5929\u4e0b\u8336\u5c4b) and get some of their very popular hoto (\u307b\u3046\u3068\u3046) noodles before hiking up. Note: If you go for Route B, you can take the snazzy, direct Fuji Excursion train from Shinjuku Station. It only runs in the mornings. What does it cost to climb Mitsutoge, and how long does it take to get there? Route A: JR Limited Express Azusa + Fukijyu Railway: one way, about 108 minutes JR Chuo Line Special Rapid Service + Fujikyu Railway: one way, 135-150 minutes Route B: JR Limited Express Azusa + Fukijyu Railway: one way, about 130 minutes Limited Express Fuji Excursion (direct train): one way, about 110 minutes Bus: , 25 minutes Return train from Mitsutoge Station: JR Limited Express Azusa\/Kaiji | JR Chuo Line , 120-150 minutes Climbing Akadake Akadake (\u001d\u8d64\u5cb3) literally "red peak" at just under 3,000 m is one of the Yatsugatake (\u516b\u30f6\u5cb3) range of peaks, and makes for a spectacular view at sunrise. You hike up, stay in one of the mountain huts (\u5c71\u5c0f\u5c4b) and then summit to catch the first rays of sun and a spectacular view stretching over Kanto, Mount Fuji and the Japanese Southern alps. If you start very early, you could do the hike in a day\u2014it's about 18 km (11 mi) and 1,700 m (5577 ft) elevation. Note that if you don't have your own transport, like a rental car, you'll need to check the timetables of public transport carefully, as the mountain trail is a long bus journey from the station. Do check weather conditions before departing and be sure to bring warm clothing, waterproofs plus plenty of food and water. Altitude: 2,899 m (9,511 ft) Difficulty: Medium - hard Season: Summer, other seasons for experienced climbers with appropriate ice gear etc. Time to get there: A good two-day trip from Tokyo Getting to Akadake Take the JR Limited Express Azusa\/Kaiji from Shinjuku to Chino (\u8305\u91ce\u99c5) (heading to Matsumoto \u677e\u672c), which takes about two hours. Then you take the bus to Minotoguchi (\u7f8e\u6fc3\u6238\u53e3). The current bus time table can be found on this page. Note that buses may run on altered schedules, or not run at all, due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Check before departing Tokyo. Once you arrive at the final bus stop, hike through the forest on the trail for about an hour until\u00a0you reach Minoto-sanso (\u7f8e\u6fc3\u6238\u5c71\u8358). Then take the right trail to Gyoja Goya or "Gyoja Hut"\u00a0(\u884c\u8005\u5c0f\u5c4b), which depending on your speed will take another hour or two. If you're staying the night then check in, otherwise follow the trail marked to \u8d64\u5cb3 from behind the hut. It's fairly steep climb from there and a scramble up some rocks until you get to the top of the ridge.\u00a0Take a right along the ridge, enjoying the spectacular views on either side. You'll ascend past a couple more mountain huts (which you could stay the night at instead of Gyoja Goya) and finally arrive at the Akadake summit. To return either loop back the way you came, or continue over the summit and take the right path to Amidadake (\u963f\u5f25\u9640\u5cb3). The trail continues to Nakadake (\u4e2d\u5cb3), and then drops again to another junction, where you can either hike up to Amidadake or continue down to the right back to Gyoja Goya. Note there are a few alternative accommodation options on the mountain, in particular Akadakekosen (which has its own hot spring), an easy 40-minute hike from Gyoja Goya. Staying at Gyoja Goya You can stay a reasonably comfortable night with dinner and breakfast meals at Gyoja Goya for . They have an all but unusable website, but the essential information is all here: Gyoja Goya Facebook page Gyoja Goya online reservation form Gyoja Goya phone number: 090 4740 3808. Note, on the reservation form there's Akadakekosen (\u8d64\u5cb3\u9271\u6cc9) or Gyoja Goya (\u884c\u8005\u5c0f\u5c4b), so be sure to check the right one! They say to call if you're booking with less than one week's notice. Other useful contacts in the area Minotokogen Lodge: (0266) 74-2102 Akadake Sanso Lodge: (0266) 74-2274 Chino Tourist Information: (0266) 72-2101 Further reading: Hiking in Japan (blog) How much does it cost to get to Akadake? Limited Express Azusa\/Kaiji train: one-way (don't bother with local trains, as they take too long and time can be tight on this hike) Bus: one-way Video on alternatives to Mount Fuji Other Tokyo area hikes We've covered a few other easy hikes and day trips in the Tokyo area on Tokyo Cheapo. While nowhere near as epic as Fuji-san or the two above, they are both pleasant days out: Mount Mitake Altitude: 929 m (3,048 ft) Difficulty: Easy Season: All year Time: Day trip from Tokyo Further info: Read the article on Tokyo Cheapo Koburi Pass Altitude: 500 m (1640 ft) Difficulty: Easy Season: All year Time: Day trip from Tokyo Further info: Read the article on Tokyo Cheapo This post was originally published in November, 2016, and was last updated in May, 2020. While we make every effort to ensure our information is accurate, details may vary. This includes prices, which may differ according to the date of travel. Always plan your routes carefully and ensure you are well prepared for your hike.