Mt. Takao in Japan (Part 1) – a Guide to Tokyo’s 3-Star Sightseeing Spot

Mount Takao (Takao-san/Takao-zan in Japanese) has been a mountain for local hikers and elementary school students in Western Tokyo.

It surprised those locals that Michelin Voyager Pratique gave Mt. Takao 3 Stars as a tourist spot, the BEST RATING! That’s one of the reasons why more and more international travelers visit there these days.

Mt. Takao, Tokyo, Japan

In what ways is Mt. Takao attractive?

  1. Excellent Access from Tokyo City
  2. Rich, Soft and Mild Forest of Japan
  3. Friendly Trails to Hike
  4. Fall Leaves in Autumn, Cherry Blossoms in Spring
  5. Unique Culture of Tengus (Japanese Goblins) and Shugen

So it is a great place to explore Japanese nature without any hard trip. Now it’s time to go on an adventure! Please go down for tourist information.

Nature in Mt. Takao

Mt. Takao’s autumn color comes earlier than Tokyo City. The peak is in the middle of November.

They hold Maple Leaf Festival in the entire of November and there are some events in weekends. I went there a bit early, but I found many beautiful trees.

The hiking trails are well-paved surrounded by the deep forest. The trees are beeches and Japanese cedars mostly. Cedars are tall and very straight and beeches are freer.

I was impressed to learn that forests are different in other countries when I traveled in Australia. The kinds of plants, shapes of leaves, textures of the trunks… My ideas about “forest” changed. The world is bigger than I had thought!

And Mt. Takao’s forest is very Japanese-forest-like. Small, soft and fresh green leaves are relaxing and tender. 

If you are a Ghibli film fan, how about viewing Japanese forests in Ghibli movies, visiting Ghibli Museum in Tokyo and finally explore the real Japanese forest in Mt. Takao?

The Fun Transportation in the Hillside

Not only the friendly trails, the Cable Cars and Chair Lifts, which take you to the middle of the hillside, help people with hiking. I personally prefer to the Lifts because…

See this photo carefully. The chairs are just benches without any bars! Surrounded by the forest and deep valleys! It’s SCARY, but I felt good with fresh air. Safety and security are perfect with the net under us. Just keep your bag (and camera if you seek exciting shots as I did!) tight, and your 12 minutes will be comfortable. This photo was taken just after I started the return trip. Spectacular!

Oops, drunk people can’t take the chair lift because it’s too dangerous. So reasonable, isn’t it? If you got drunk, go to the Cable Car.

Things to see in the trail

In the trail, we pass beside interesting things.

Octopus Cedar Tree

Octopus Cedar is more than 450 years old – when we see a thick tree, we feel we are in the nature.

Interesting shapes. Really looks like an octopus. It’s definitely a BIG star here.

Yakuoin Temple

Yakuoin Temple was founded in 744. Since then, this has been a temple of Shugen-do, which is a mixture of Buddhism and the Japanese spiritualism to mountains. Mt. Takao is a place of Tengus, Japanese goblins, and……..
It’s a long story that is very unique and attractive. I’ll write about them in another post.

Foods in Mt. Takao

Just one more thing.

In Mt. Takao, many of the shops sell Dangos (rice dumplings.) Grilled by charcoal, those traditional rice dumplings make our stomach and heart really full.

I personally recommend Yakuoin Temple’s Ten Grains (=Tengu) Dangos the best! (310 yen)

I’ve written about Yakuoin Temple and Tengu legends with many other photos.

Hope you explore the very interesting things in Mt. Takao virtually!




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Mt. Takao Visitor Information

Descriptions of Mt. Takao

599 meters high above sea level. Registered as a National Park

There are 6 and more hiking courses in Mt. Takao. The main course is Trail 1, where you go beside the Octopus Cedar Tree, Buddha’s Bone Tower and Yakuoin Temple on the way to the peak. 3.8 km, 100 minutes. If you take the cable car or the lift, 50 minutes to the top.

How to Get to Mt. Takao

Take Keio Line from Shinjuku Station to Takaozanguchi Station. (Both stations are the terminals. This is the best and only way. You need to get to Takaosanguchi of Keio Line, so need to take Keio Line somewhere.)
50 minutes on rapid trains.

See The Easiest JR Train Map & The Easiest Subway Maps of Tokyo!

“Mt. Takao Ticket” sold by Keio Railway is a MUST-Buy. The price is just 1380 yen including the return ticket of Keio trains and the Cable Car or the Lift. Unbelievable saving! Even some Tokyo locals don’t know.

You can purchase “Mt. Takao Ticket” from ticket vending machines in Shinjuku or other Keio Railway stations except Takaozanguchi. Valid in the day of your purchase.

Keio Railway Official Website offers a detailed information of how to use it in English. >> http://www.keio.co.jp/english/tickets/discount.html

Helpful Links

Accommodation

Hotels in Hachioji (near Takao Station)

Hotels in Shinjuku – It is the best way to stay in Shinjuku because it’s the terminal station of Keio Line to Mt. Takao and convenient to go to anywhere in Tokyo. You can choose a hotel from a wide range of hotels in one of the most massive cities in Japan.



Booking.com

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