Hiking and Renge Shoma Flowers at Mount Mitake in Summer
Mt. Mitake offers several lovely hiking paths in a natural setting that will make you forget you're still in Tokyo.
Take the Chuo Line Express to Ome Station (about 80 minutes), then transfer to the local Ome Line to Okutama, and finally get off at Mitake (another 15 minutes). From there, you'll need to take bus and then there is also a cable car to get you up the steep mountain to begin the hike. Beware there are a lot of steep hills and stairs along this hike.
Mount Mitake is very popular with dog lovers, and we saw many pet dogs hiking and visiting the shrine. Musashi Mitake Shrine has many wolf statues, as it is dedicated to wolves. Legend has it, a white wolf with the spirit of O-Inu-Sama saved Prince Yamato Takeru from the fog in the forest, and Takeru told O-Inu-Sama to stay there to protect the shrine.
Apart from the priest lodgings, hotels and some small onsens the town's main street is lined with tourist shops and restaurants. I would recommend staying overnight next time to enjoy peace and quiet in the mountains and some time to relax and enjoy onsen.
After visiting the shrine, we walked to the rock garden, and our walk from the cablecar, to the rock garden and back via the shrine and a stop for lunch took around 4 hours round trip, so we did run out of time to go to visit Mount Otake.
We could see many of the Renge Shoma レンゲショウマ flowers (false anenome) which are blooming during August. There is a 'flower festival' section where you can enjoy a sea of these flowers planted on the forest floor with small trails to walk through and enjoy. You can also see Renge Shoma flowers in the shrine.