Mount Takao is a place of Tengu tales. You’ll meet Tengu statues all around there. What are they?
Tengus are Japanese goblins. They have a long nose, a beak and wings and are wearing Shugen ascetics’ costume.
They have been considered to be spirits of a mountain since old times. Since the middle age, Tengus have been those of today, being mixed up with Shugen-do, which is a mixture of Buddhism and the Japanese spiritualism to mountains, well. So they are highly-originated in Japan.
Mt. Takao is famous for its rich forest with many kinds of trees and it was one of the reasons why Michelin Voyager Pratique gave Mt. Takao 3 Stars as a tourist spot. Here are the great views from Mt. Takao.
Mt. Takao has been one of the best Fall Foliage spots in Tokyo.
And many kinds of birds and animals are inhabiting in the forest as well. Bird watchers visit there to find rare birds and young students on a school trip enter the monkey park in the trail.
See that it is a place where people can imagine that something is living?
I should note one thing so that you don’t misunderstand Tengus.
Tengus are not evil goblins.
In Mt. Takao, they are guardians of justice living with sacred trees. They are often with Buddha statues, and sometimes the Buddha statues take in Tengu styles. They also have Shugen tools in their hand.
In some folk tales, Tengus are scary with being considered to kidnap humans, blow down tall trees, throw stones from somewhere, and laugh at people with hiding. But anyway, they are more powerful than humans and respected in that way.
Just before Yakuoin Temple in Trail 1, you’ll find a Japanese cedar called, “Tengus’ Chair.” It is said that Tengus sit on the top of that particular cedar.
It was the tallest and the most magnificent tree around there. There must be good winds and excellent views to see humans on the treetop.
Do you believe those Tengu legends?
Mt. Takao Travel Information
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 with the Octopus Cedar Tree, the stupa and Yakuoin Temple. It is 3.8 km, 100 minutes to the peak. 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 go to Takaosanguchi of Keio Line, so need to take Keio Line somewhere in Tokyo.)
50 minutes by a rapid train.
“Mt. Takao Ticket” sold by Keio Railway is a MUST-BUY. It costs only 1380 yen and it includes the return ticket of Keio trains and the Cable Car or the Lift. Unbelievable saving! (Even many Tokyo locals don’t know – You are right to visit my site!)
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.
- Weather Forecast in Mt. Takao – A Japanese website, but the icons will tell you the daily and weekly forecast.
- Takao Tozan Railway International Official Website – The official site of the company of the Cable Car and the Lift.
- Keio Railway’s Official Website about Discount Tickets – The information about Mt. Takao Ticket I explained above. In English, French, Korean, Chinese and Japanese.
- Keio Railway’s Mt. Takao Information – A beautiful site with photos and maps by Keio Railway.
- Yakuoin Temple Official Website
- Walking On Fire Festival in Mt. Takao, Japan – A Report & Sightseeing Guide – There is a big, interesting festival at Yakuoin Temple in March!
Hotels in Shinjuku – As a local, I advise you to stay in Shinjuku. Shinjuku is the terminal station of Keio Line to Mt. Takao and it is 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.