Mount Kumotori (kumotoriyama 雲取山, literally ”cloud-grabber mountain”, mountain (山) is pronounced here yama instead of san due to japanese kun-yomi reading of the signs) is a 2017 m high mountain west of Tokyo. It is the highest point in the Tokyo area and easily accessible via JR Okutama station. It is usually done as a 2-day hike but it is also possible to do it as a daytrip from the Tokyo metropolitan area. However, you have to do a fast hike since it is 11.5 km away and 1500 m higher than the closest road.
I did it as a trail running trip in early November. I started early and took the 7:44 JR Ome line rapid service from Shinjuku to Okutama and then took a bus from the Okutama station to the village of Kamosawa (鴨沢, ”duckswamp”). The bus stop is in front of the station on the other side of the road. It is useful to remember the kanji signs of Kamozawa as well as Kumotori since there are few english signs in this part of the countryside. Take the road 20 meters to the west of the terminal bus stop and follow the signs indicating Kumotoriyama 雲取山. The gradient is not too steep which makes running pleasant. The path winds on a steep hillside. Beware of tree roots when running, especially if they are hidden under a thick layer of autumn leaves.
I started running at 10:15 and finished at the summit at 13:11. Weather was sunny but a bit chilly and leaves on trees were beautifully coloured (紅葉, kouyou in Japanese). Fuji-san was also visible in the horizon with a snow cover it had got a few weeks earlier. This route is usually very crowded due to proximity to the Tokyo area. This time not too many people. The uphill part went smoothly but the descent on the same path was a bit boring and tedious due to long distances. I usually run with light shoes which are not good for descending. I carry only a very light backpack with some water and a rainproof coat and gloves, just in case of weather turning bad. Write up the schedule of the bus back to Okutama at the Kamozawa bus stop before you start hiking/running. These buses do not depart very often, only once every 1 or 2 hours. It is also possible to descend to the north and return to the civilization via the Seibu-line Chichibu station.
It was a long and splendid day in the mountains.