HOME Tokyo and Surroundings Tokyo Mt. Takao Explore Mount Takao, Tokyo's Cutest Mountain! 1-Day Plan with Hot Springs, Stunning Scenery, and Beer
Explore Mount Takao, Tokyo's Cutest Mountain! 1-Day Plan with Hot Springs, Stunning Scenery, and Beer

Explore Mount Takao, Tokyo's Cutest Mountain! 1-Day Plan with Hot Springs, Stunning Scenery, and Beer

Date published: 13 November 2019
Last updated: 2 December 2019

Just about an hour west of Tokyo is Mount Takao, a popular day-trip destination for locals seeking to escape the hustle and bustle of the big city. It boasts a fascinating scenery that is especially stunning in autumn, gentle hiking routes that are perfect for casual climbers, and a recommendation by the prestigious Michelin Green Guide Japan.

From cherry blossoms in spring to the vivid foliage colors in autumn, let’s explore Mount Takao and all its fun aspects, including beer, hot springs, and even spot Mount Fuji!

12:00 P.M. – Getting to Mount Takao: Just an Hour Away from Central Tokyo - Fill Your Lungs with Fresh Air!

12:00 P.M. – Getting to Mount Takao: Just an Hour Away from Central Tokyo - Fill Your Lungs with Fresh Air!
The wooden design of Takaosanguchi Station fits the lush, natural scenery.

It takes about one hour on the Keio Semi Special Express to get to Takaosanguchi Station at the foot of the mountain. The Takaosanguchi Station building even won the Good Design Award in 2016 for its beautiful wooden exterior. After a 5-minute walk, we arrive at the cable car at Kiyotaki Station, which will take us to an altitude of 472 meters.

There are three ways to get up Mount Takao: the cable car, the chairlift, and good old walking. The cable car is the fastest option with about 6 minutes, while the chairlift takes around 12 minutes. Climbing the mountain on foot is a 1-hour hike. We decided to take the cable car.

This is Kiyotaki Station, served by Takaotozan Railway. The chairlift station is right next to the cable car station.
The two cable cars are called Aoba and Momiji, departing every 15 minutes. We got to ride in Aoba.
Of course, we passed Momiji on the way up.
It’s Japan’s fastest cable car, climbing 31 degrees in 18 minutes.
We arrived at Takaosan Station! From here, we’ll climb to the summit.

By the way—we visited Mount Takao in mid-July and wore a T-shirt, jeans, sneakers, and a hat for our hiking trip. It’s a casual outfit because Mount Takao is a gentle hike, but we still recommend something that is comfortable and easy to walk in. Even if you use the chairlift or cable car, try to avoid sandals and heels. Mount Takao is also a few degrees cooler than Tokyo, so bringing a light jacket or windbreaker is always a good idea.

  • Takaotozan Railway
    • Address 2205 Takaomachi, Hachiōji-shi, Tōkyō-to 193-0844

    Cable Car Hours:
    June 15 to October 15: 8:00 a.m. (first) – 9:15 p.m. (last)
    *The cars depart every 15 minutes.
    *Outside the above hours, the last car departs between 5:15 p.m. to 6:30 p.m.
    One-way adult: 480 yen
    One-way children: 240 yen
    Round-trip adult: 930 yen
    Round-trip children: 460 yen
    *Tax included. The chairlift costs the same.
    *See the official website for further details.

12:30 P.M. – Let’s Hike Mount Takao! Trail #1 is Full of Sights!

The hike to the 599-meter high summit takes about 40 minutes from the Takaosan cable car station. There are six hiking trails in total and each of them has different levels of difficulty. We’ll be taking the main route also called Omotesando course (“temple approach”), Trail #1.

Trail #1 follows a paved road, perfect for casual hikers!

The main trail also boasts plenty of sights, such as the Mt Takao Monkey Park & Wildflower Garden, the massive tree called Takosugi, and tea houses. It’s a casual route that won’t tire you out but instead entertain you with a myriad of sightseeing spots. Should you still feel a bit exhausted, feel free to take a break at the many benches and photo spots that dot the course. It’s a comfortable and fun hiking experience even for first-timers.

The first sightseeing spot you’ll come across is Takosugi. Its roots are like the arms of a giant octopus, boasting an age of more than 450 years!
Next to the ancient tree is a popular lucky spot called Hipparidako. Pet the “octopus head” for an extra dose of good fortune!

12:40 p.m. – The Path Forks! Which Way to Go?

12:40 p.m. – The Path Forks! Which Way to Go?

After a short while, you’ll be confronted with a choice: to go left, or right? Don’t worry, though, as this is not a fateful decision but merely two different ways to get to the top.

The steep way up (on the left) features 108 steps, mimicking the 108 earthly desires of Buddhism, while the slope (on the right) is a gentler climb and leads around the stupa on the hill instead of right to it.

Without hesitation, we said no to the stairs! However, if you’re up for the challenge, try it by all means. The stupa at the top boasts stunningly beautiful autumn scenery.

This time, we wanted to save our energies and chose the gentle slope over the steep stairs.
This is the stupa during autumn.

Further back, the two paths merge again. This is a good spot to take a break and enjoy a sesame rice cake dumpling. There are as many snacks and temptations as there are charming teahouses!

The Mount Takao specialty: sesame dumpling (350 yen, tax included). They taste a bit like mitarashi dango!

1:00 P.M. – Plenty of Power Spots: Up Your Luck!

1:00 P.M. – Plenty of Power Spots: Up Your Luck!

After about 20 more minutes, you’ll arrive at Takaosan Yakuoin Temple. This historic temple was founded by Emperor Shomu in 744, over 1,260 years ago! Mount Takao is famous for its tengu legends and tengu faith, a legendary creature with a long nose and bird wings. You’re actually welcomed by two such tengu as soon as you pass the temple’s gate.

The large tengu statues and an excellent photo spot.

We clean our hands at the water basin, after Japanese worship fashion. Then, we bow at the foot of the steps once and proceed to the main hall.

This is the shrine’s main hall. We pray by pulling the five-colored rope and say “Namui zanadai gongen.”

Next to visiting the shrine, make sure to look for the many power spots on the precincts. They’re said to bestow good fortune upon everyone who visits and one of the main charms of Yakuoin Temple. Take your time and leisurely explore the temple grounds for an extra serving of good luck!

This stone wheel is one of the power spots, said to cleanse your five senses and your heart when turned. Wheels such as this can be found at 24 locations around the mountain.
Strongly make a wish as you pass through this stone ring and ring the chimes afterwards.

Other power spots are the Aizen Hall, said to enhance your fortune in marriage, and the “hall of the eight dragon kings” rumored to enhance your monetary fortune. Make sure to thoroughly explore!

1:30 P.M. – Hiking to Mount Takao's Summit and Looking Over the Kanto Area from 599 Meters Up Above!

After thoroughly taking in the many sights of the temple, it’s time to head to the summit. It’s not much further now, so take your time and enjoy the lush nature all around at your own pace.

Taking another little break before making the final climb.
The summit square is right behind the trees.
We reached the top! If the air is clear, you can see Mount Fuji, Enoshima, the Boso Peninsula, and Mount Tsukuba.

Mount Takao's summit is like a park, crowded with people enjoying cherry blossoms and autumn leaves in their respective season. The Takao Visitor Center sits right in the middle, offering free magazines, events, plants, and animals—everything about Mount Takao. There even are free diaporamas and guided tours, so make sure to stop by.

Check the signs to find popular landmarks in the distance.
Various billboards introduce the flora and fauna of the mountain.
A butterfly came by to take a break. Chestnut tigers such as this one often come to greet hikers in summer.
In autumn, the summit is clad in vivid colors.

Arriving at the top, we were rather hungry, so we took a little break at the small shop near the top. Mount Takao is known for its delicious soba noodles.

Yamabiko Jaya lets you savor soba noodles amidst the lush green of the mountain.
The terrace seats offer a great view of the forest.
We enjoyed cold soba with mountain herbs and grated yam (1,150 yen, tax included). Warm soba are also available.

Eating soba while bathing in the sight of the forest is the best! The grated yam matches the mountain herbs perfectly, making for a gentle taste.

  • Yamabiko Jaya
    • Address 2176 Takaomachi, Hachiōji-shi, Tōkyō-to 193-0844
    • Phone Number 042-661-3881

    Hours: 10:00 a.m. – 3:00 p.m.
    Closed: irregularly

After recharging your energies with a hearty meal, we decided to start our descend via the same trail. Near the summit is also a toilet that’s slightly larger than the other ones, make use of it. By the way—it’s common courtesy to pack up any trash that you have and take it back down with you.

There are several trails leading back down, such as Trail #4 with its suspension bridge or Trail #3 leading through a deep, evergreen forest. Choose your route according to your stamina, mood, or what you want to see! Either of them is a bit more challenging than Trail #1.

The shadows of the trees look like papercut art. Downhill is easier, allowing you to really take in the lush nature all around.
We even found a flying squirrel nest with the help of the information shown at the Mount Takao Visitor Center! It’s the hole inside the tree on the left, can you see it?
We take the 108 steps for our descent. They’re much easier that way!

2:30 P.M. – Visiting the Monkeys at the Monkey Park

While we took about an hour to get to the summit, the descent is faster. That’s why we decided to stop by the Mount Takao Monkey Park & Wildflower Garden. In spring 2017, seven monkey babies were born here.

The Mount Takao Monkey Park & Wildflower Garden is on Trail #1, about 3 minutes away from Takaosan Station.

The park is inhabited by about 70 monkeys and seven little babies were born in spring of 2017. The monkeys living here do not do tricks, they’re not disciplined, they just go about their monkey lives naturally. Apart from their annual health check, they’re pretty much left alone and lead a low-stress life, responsible for their own co-existence.

Mount Takao might be Japan’s greatest monkey mountain.
The one in the middle is the head monkey. The keeper tells us that he takes care of the other monkeys, who in turn seem to respect and look up to him.
We even found a golden-rayed lily at the entrance to the park. On our next visit, we’ll make sure to pay more attention to the flowers.
  • Mount Takao Monkey Park & Wildflower Garden
    高尾山 さる園・野草園
    • Address 2179 Takaomachi, Hachiōji-shi, Tōkyō-to 193-0844
    • Phone Number 042-661-2381

    December to February: 9:30 a.m. – 4:00 p.m.
    March to April: 10:00 a.m. – 4:30 p.m.
    May to November: 9:30 a.m. – 4:30 p.m.
    Admission: 420 yen (junior high and older),

3:00 P.M. – Enjoy the Beautiful View with a Frosty Beer!

As we were heading down, we noticed that Takao Beer Mount had opened. The beer garden right next to Takaosan Station and only open from June to October, sitting inside an observatory at 500-meter altitude. It’s a genuine Mount Takao summer tradition.

It’s just up the stairs from the cable car station.

The beer garden offers three types of seats: the garden seats surrounded by greenery, the slab seats at the highest point, and the indoor hall seats boasting a great panorama view. No matter which seats you choose, the 2-hour all-you-can-drink plan costs 3,800 yen for men and 3,600 yen for women (tax included).

There are 600 seats in total. The slab seats and their stunning view are especially popular.
The view from the slab seats. Tokyo, Saitama, Chiba, and Kanagawa sprawl right in front of you.
The beer tastes even better with a backdrop like that.
The buffet features Italian, Chinese, Japanese, and Western-inspired cuisine, as well as ramen, teppanyaki, and desserts. Plenty of variety!

Both the food and the drink selection is rich in variety, so order to your heart’s desire. The pizza is baked in a proper stone oven while beer from four Japanese brands is available. On top of that, cocktails, wine, sake, shochu, and soft drinks make for additional flavor variety.

Fresh corn cobs from Hachioji, purchased in the morning of the same day, can be grilled on the spot. (For a limited time only.)
The crunchy vegetables are delicious!

While Takao Beer Mount is open, the last cable car departs the mountain at 9:15 p.m. So even if you work during weekdays, you can stop by for a nice drink at the top of Mount Takao!

The lights of the urban areas all around light up your beer experience.
  • Takao Beer Mount
    • Address 2205 Takaomachi, Hachiōji-shi, Tōkyō-to 193-0844
    • Phone Number 042-665-9943

    Period: June 15 to October 15, 2018
    Hours: 1:00 p.m. – 9:00 p.m.
    Menu: All-you-can-drink, all-you-can-eat buffet for 2 hours
    Price: 3,800 yen for men, 3,600 yen for women, 3,300 yen for high school students, 2,500 yen for junior high students, 1,500 yen for elementary students, 500 yen for children 3 or older (tax included)
    *There is an extension fee if you stay over 2 hours. 500 yen on weekdays per 30 minutes, 1,000 yen on the weekend/national holidays per 30 minutes

5:30 P.M. – Relaxing in the Natural Hot Spring After the Hike

After making the most out of the beer garden and its buffet, let’s take the cable car down to the foot of Mount Takao. Next up is relaxation at Keio Takaosan Onsen Gokurakuyu and its natural hot spring. It’s right next to the station.

The entrance is directly at the station. A lot of people stop by on their way home from work due to the convenient location.

The natural water gushes forth from roughly 1,000 meters underground, flowing right into open-air stone baths, cypress baths, open-air carbonic acid baths, and more—seven baths in total for both men and women.

The open-air rock baths are said to have a beautifying effect on your skin.
This is the open-air carbonic acid bath.

The entire facility is nice and clean, so don’t hesitate to walk around barefoot to refresh your feet after the long hike. Store any large bags or backpacks in the unusually large lockers, allowing you to enjoy the bathing experience hands-free.

There’s also a timetable showing the departures and arrivals of the trains. No need to worry about how to get back to Tokyo!
Train fans will have a particularly great time at the restaurant, as its windows look right at the station.

After a proper soak, why not treat yourself to a nice massage at the spa? (9:00 a.m. – 10:30 p.m., last admission at 10:00 p.m.) Or savor Mount Takao’s local specialties at the restaurant (9:00 a.m. – 10:00 p.m., last order), making the most out of your trip to the very end.

We especially recommend the “Takaosan Gozen” (1,680 yen, tax included), featuring delicacies that are famous for the region such as grated yam. Beef tongue, boiled barley and rice, soba, tempura, and tuna are also on the menu! If your stomach is empty, this is the place to go!

The restaurant has two private rooms, offering space even for larger groups. A lot of people experience Mount Takao and hold a banquet in one go. Far away from the hustle and bustle of the city, this spa is sure to revitalize you with nature and hot springs!

Mr. Yokota, the manager. The entire staff is friendly, warm, and very welcoming.

Soaking leisurely in the hot spring makes all the exhaustion of the hike disappear...

  • Keio Takaosan Onsen Gokurakuyu
    京王高尾山温泉 / 極楽湯
    • Address 2229-7 Takaomachi, Hachiōji-shi, Tōkyō-to 193-0844
    • Phone Number 042-663-4126

    Hours: 8:00 a.m. – 11:00 p.m. (last admission at 10:00 p.m.)
    Admission: 1,000 yen for adults, 500 yen for children (4 to elementary school), free for children 3 and younger
    *1,200 yen for adults and 600 yen for children from January 1 to 3, during Golden Week, and from November 1 to 30.
    *Tax included.
    Closed: open every day (irregular holidays for inspection, etc.)
    *See the homepage for details.

7:00 P.M. – Returning to Tokyo

7:00 P.M. – Returning to Tokyo

Hiking, beer, and hot springs—a perfect day trip! Just one hour away from central Tokyo, Mount Takao is an amazing destination to enjoy lush nature apart from the usual hustle and bustle. It’s close enough for even a spontaneous visit in the afternoon! There’s really no reason not to go see Mount Takao and its many beautiful sights.

Cherry blossoms in spring, forest bathing in summer, and vivid colors in autumn. No matter when you visit, Mount Takao is sure to become one of your favorite memories of your trip to Japan!

Mount Takao during autumn, beautiful beyond words!

*This article is from 2017. Shops shown in pictures may have changed.

  • Mt. Takao
    • Address Takaomachi, Hachioji-shi, Tokyo, 193-0844
      View Map
    • Nearest Station Takaosanguchi Station (Keio Takao Line)
      5 minutes on foot
    • Phone Number 042-661-4151

Top image credit: Wan Kum Seong / Shutterstock.com

*This information is from the time of this article's publication.
*Prices and options mentioned are subject to change.
*Unless stated otherwise, all prices include tax.

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