Mount Takao is a hugely popular spot where you can enjoy the richness of nature within an hour from the center of Tokyo. With an elevation of 599 meters it is not a particularly tall mountain, so even people not accustomed to climbing mountains can comfortably do so here. Its attractions are such that alongside with Mt. Fuji it is introduced with three stars in the Michelin Green Guide.
Many people come not only from all parts of Japan, but from all over the world to visit here thus resulting in it being said to have “the most climbers in the world”. So what kind of place is Mount Takao? Here we will introduce basic information about the attractions of Mount Takao, such as its power spots, sightseeing attractions and access, and guide to climbing the mountain, as well as recommended dishes to try!
These are places you must see when you visit Mount Takao!
Mount Takao has many attractions to please both children and adults alike. Here are some specialties and highlights that you should definitely check out when you visit Mount Takao.
● Mount Takao Yakuo-in Temple
Yakuo-in Temple, halfway up Mount Takao, is a temple with a history of more than 1200 years. Let's look at some of the many power spots here that are noted for their various benefits. There are many statues of Tengu, a legendary god-like creature, that is the symbol of Mount Takao. It has long been said since ancient times that Tengu brings good fortune and wards off evil.
Mount Takao has a number of observation points for admiring the spectacular views. From here you can get a panoramic view of the buildings and Tokyo Skytree in Tokyo all the way to Yokohama spread out far below. On clear days in the winter you can also sometimes see beautiful Mt. Fuji.
● Cable car and lift
Mount Takao has a cable car and a lift, so you can go midway up without having to climb it on your own. You can choose either the cable car that goes up and down some of the steepest slopes in Japan or the lift that goes through the beautiful forest enjoying the refreshing breezes.
● Paved course
One of the major attractions of Mount Takao is being able to access the summit by walking on a paved course. Though there are a few spots where the hill is a bit steep, for the most part the course is an easy one that even children and those not even in the best of shape can manage. And there are lots of things to see on the way up.
There is a fork in the road where you can choose between the Onnazaka [women's slope] with its gentle incline and the Otokozaka [men's slope] with its 108 stone steps, and as you are climbing you will see the Tako Sugi [octopus cedar], the twisted roots of which strongly resemble the legs of an octopus.
● Rich flora and fauna
Mount Takao is said to have more than 1500 kinds of plants, more than 100 kinds of wild birds, and more than 4000 kinds of insects. Being able to witness this abundance of wildlife is another attraction of Mount Takao. Throughout the four seasons Mount Takao shows many facets of its rich nature and wildlife.
● Mount Takao Monkey Park
Halfway up the mountain there is a Monkey Garden that is home to about 70 Japanese macaques. The Japanese macaque, loved by tourists for their adorable antics, is the mascot of Mount Takao. Stop by on your way to the summit and enjoy a moment with these mischievous creatures.
● Keio Takaosan Onsen / Gokurakuyu
Next to the Keio Line Takaosanguchi Station, there is a hot spring facility with a truly Japanese atmosphere. This is a healing space where you can enjoy 7 types of baths, including an open-air bath that is a natural hot spring fed from a source about 1000 meters below ground as well as a bathtub made from aromatic Japanese cypress. Soaking in a hot spring bath after a day of climbing about the mountain is a good way to relax and refresh yourself before returning home.
● Kaede [Maple]
This shop, located in Takaosanguchi Station, In addition to items found in convenience stores, such as drinks and snacks, also sells outdoor goods and souvenirs. You might want to stop by here to see whether you need to get anything before you set out to climb the mountain.
Access Guide: Getting to Mount Takao from Tokyo
Mount Takao is located in Hachioji City, Tokyo, so you can get there from the city center in about an hour. Takaosanguchi Station, the gateway to Mount Takao, is the last station on the Keio Takao Line. When using the JR line you need to transfer at Takao Station. Now let’s look at how you can go to Mount Takao for a leisurely day trip.
Shinjuku Station → Keio Takao Line Limited Express / Semi-Limited Express (approx. 46 minutes / 390 yen (cash)) → Takaosanguchi Station
* You can also transfer trains at Kitao Station and Takao Station on the way.
Shinjuku Station → JR Chuo Line Special Rapid Train (about 44 minutes, 550 yen (cash))→ Takao Station → Keio Takao Line (about 3 minutes, 130 yen (cash))→ Takaosanguchi Station
Guide to climbing Mount Takao: No problems for first-timers!
There are 7 attractive courses for climbing Mount Takao from which to choose.
Trail 1: Omotesando Course (3.8 km / 1 hour 40 minutes)
Trail 2: Kasumidai Course (0.9 km / 1 hour 30 minutes)
Trail 3: Katsura Grove Course (2.4 km / 1 hour)
Trail 4: Suspension Bridge Course (1.5 km / 55 minutes)
Trail 5: Takao Peak Loop Course (0.9 km / 1 hour 30 minutes)
Trail 6: Biwa Waterfall Course (3.3 km / 1 hour 40 minutes)
Inariyama Course: 3.1 km / 1 hour 40 minutes
● For beginners! Royal Road Course to Mount Takao Summit
You can choose the course according to your mountain climbing experience and physical strength, but this time we will introduce the recommended trail course for beginners. This is a course where you can enjoy the nature, history, culture and beautiful views of Mount Takao. If you use a cable car or a lift, you can easily climb even in your everyday clothes. Of course, if you prefer not to use them and walk the entire way, that is also possible.
↓ 5-minute walk
Cable car or lift
↓ 6 minutes by cable car / 12 minutes by lift
Cable car Takaosanguchi Station
↓ 5-minute walk
Monkey Mountain and Tako Sugi [Octopus Cedar]
↓ 3-minute walk
↓ 10-minute walk
Otoko-zaka and Onna-zaka
↓ 10-minute walk
Mount Takao Yakuo-in Temple
↓ 20-minute walk
Mount Takao summit
● Recommended clothing
Keep in mind that the temperature on Mount Takao is about 2 degrees lower than in the city center. At the summit it is 4 degrees lower on average so you need to dress especially warmly in the winter.
Mount Takao's popularity stems from the ease with which it can be climbed and if you use the cable car or lift you would not have a problem wearing your everyday clothes. That being said, though, high heels and sandals should be avoided. Hiking boots are ideal, however, sneakers should be OK for Trail No. 1 because it is paved.
Trail No. 6 and the Inariyama Course are not paved, so hiking boots that provide good ankle support are best and also it is advisable to check what the weather will be like ahead of time.
● Important points to remember when climbing
When climbing Mount Takao remember to bring a hat, water, snacks and other emergency food, a map, and a garbage bag. While it is not necessary to be so prepared when going up Trail No. 1 because it is completely paved and easy enough for even children to climb, do keep in mind that you are going up a mountain when making your preparations. Especially important is to not forget to take a garbage bag with you.
Other than for items bought at places to eat on the mountain, everyone is expected to take their own trash back with them when they leave. Further, as Mount Takao is a natural park, picking flowers or taking rocks back with you are both prohibited. Open fires are also prohibited so barbecues are not permitted.
Recharge yourself! Food for which Mount Takao is famous
Mount Takao has many power spots and also gourmet dishes which also provide energy. During your walk up Mount Takao sample some of these tasty delights.
● Tororo soba
Tororo soba is a specialty of Mt. Takao, which features thick and syrupy grated yam and Chinese yam poured over soba. It is said that this nutritional dish began being provided to worshipers at Yakuo-in during the Meiji period. There are about 20 eating establishments between the foot of Mount Takao extending up to the summit offering this dish.
● Tengu dishes
Tengu is the symbol of Mount Takao and there are many kinds of dishes that can be enjoyed here. The most famous is the Tangu-yaki that is filled with sweet bean jam. There are also other types of confections having the Tengu motif such as manju [buns filled with bean jam] and senbei [rice crackers].
As you are walking up Mount Takao you will also see shops here and there selling dango [dumplings]. The chewy dumplings, topped with miso, soy sauce, and red bean paste, are a specialty of Mount Takao. There is also one type of dango that is said to be auspicious for bringing happiness.
Recommended spots near Mount Takao
●Things to See around Mount Takao
●Places to Eat around Mount Takao
●Places to Stay around Mount Takao
main image:picture cells / Shutterstock.com
*Prices and options mentioned are subject to change.
*Unless stated otherwise, all prices include tax.
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