Oh-yama, a popular mountain travel destination especially during the Edo Period (from the early 17th Century to the middle of the 19the Century)

(Posted on July 10, 2024)

Oh-yama is 1,252 meters high, located in Kanagawa prefecture about 60 km east of downtown Tokyo. It stands on the western tip of the Tanzawa range, beyond which is Mt. Fuji. 

A typical trip to Oh-yama during the Edo Period was like this, a group of men either from their own community or guild would walk all the way to the mountain and then head for sightseeing in Enoshima, a scenic island off the coast of Kamakura, an old capital of Japan. It took about five days in all.


Why only men? At that time, women were not allowed to climb mountains. 













An ukiyoe shows a group of travelers, for Oh-yama,  a man on the right carries a large wooden sword, a must for the group. 

                                      A guide book for Oh-yama


In any particular year, it was said that over two hundred thousand people visited Oh-yama from Edo (now Tokyo) whose population was about one million. Can you believe how this was possible, a group of men travelling 5 days? Well, this was managed by a so-called “mutual aid system”, whereby a community or guild member each contributed some money for various purposes. For visiting Oh-yama, a number of participants were elected on a yearly basis. Why was Oh-yama so popular then? Oh-yama is sometimes called the “mountain that brings rain.” So, it has been revered by many and also, it’s not too far away from Edo or put it in another way, “not too close by.”



Today, Oh-yama is a popular destination for families and is easily accessible by public transportation or car in two hours from Tokyo. There is a cable car that takes you to the halfway point of the mountain; it takes only about two hours from the cable car stop to the top of Oh-yama.




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