Aug
17
2015

Hiking Mt. Takao as a Day Trip from Tokyo

Mt. Takao is a great opportunity to get away from the hectic city life and crowds in Tokyo.
That’s why it’s a popular destination for all those who want to do some easy hiking and enjoy nature.

cute star smilie Visited: October 28th 2014 cute star smilie

Mt. Takao as a day trip from Tokyo

How to access Mt. Takao

Mount Takao can easily be done as a day trip from Tokyo. It is located west of Tokyo and at the eastern edge of the Kanto Mountains.

Located at the foot of the mountain is “Takaosanguchi Station“. From Shinjuku it’ll take about an hour to get there.

 

Mt. Takao as a day trip from Tokyo

From the station you can either start hiking right away or take a Cablecar (8:00 – 17:45, departs every 15 mins, one-way 480 yen) or a Chair Lift (9:00 – 16:30, from Dec-Apr -16:00, one-way 480 yen).

The latter two options will bring you up straight to an observation platform and a monkey park.

Mt. Takao as a day trip from Tokyo

Around the observation platform you’ll have the opportunity to grab some food.

How about a “Tengu Dog”? ;)

Mt. Takao as a day trip from Tokyo

Mount Takao is extremely popular during autumn foliage season in the second half of November.

Mt. Takao as a day trip from Tokyo

I went in late October and as you can see the colors weren’t fully out yet, but at least it wasn’t so crowded.

Please note that it doesn’t only get crowded in autumn, but generally on weekends, so try to avoid them if you can.

Mt. Takao as a day trip from Tokyo Mt. Takao as a day trip from Tokyo

After enjoying the view from the observation platform you can either visit the monkey park or proceed to the mountain temple.

As you can see most signs are in Japanese only, so make sure you get a map to help you figure out where to go. (At the very end of this post, you’ll find a pamphlet in English including a good map.)

Mt. Takao as a day trip from Tokyo

Approaching “Yakuoin Temple” (薬王院) which was founded in 744.

Mt. Takao as a day trip from Tokyo Mt. Takao as a day trip from Tokyo

Mount Takao has been a center of mountain worshipping for over 1000 years.

Mt. Takao as a day trip from Tokyo Mt. Takao as a day trip from Tokyo

The whole mountain also served as a place of ascetic training.

You can actually experience some of it at Yakuoin Temple (including waterfall asceticism, sutra reading, Zen meditation).

Mt. Takao as a day trip from Tokyo Mt. Takao as a day trip from Tokyo

In the background you see “Relic stupa” which looked a bit like a church from farther away.

It’s the first thing you’ll run into if you take the same route as I did.

Mt. Takao as a day trip from Tokyo

Here’s a good map in English of all the temple facilities.

Mt. Takao as a day trip from Tokyo

Entering through the “Shitenno-mon Gate”.

Mt. Takao as a day trip from Tokyo

There are lots of things to do if you want to pray for good luck to the “Tengu”.

Mt. Takao as a day trip from Tokyo Mt. Takao as a day trip from Tokyo

Not only can you enjoy the beautiful autumn foliage on the mountain, but also sakura.

The area around “Takaosan Senbonzakura” is a popular cherry blossom viewing spot in spring.

Mt. Takao as a day trip from Tokyo Mt. Takao as a day trip from Tokyo

You can enjoy sakura there from mid to late April when the blossoms have long disappeared down in Tokyo!

Mt. Takao as a day trip from Tokyo Mt. Takao as a day trip from Tokyo

Proceeding to the Main Hall.

Mt. Takao as a day trip from Tokyo Mt. Takao as a day trip from Tokyo

And of course there were a lot of “Tengu” statues everywhere.

Tengu (天狗) literally means “heavenly dog” and is a Shinto-Buddhist god originated from Japanese folklore.
It’s a deified image of a man who mastered “Shugendo” (ascetic disciplinary customs) associated with an ancient Japanese practice of mountain worship to obtain magical and spiritual powers.

Mt. Takao as a day trip from Tokyo Mt. Takao as a day trip from Tokyo

The two guardians of Mt. Takao look like in the photo above.

Mt. Takao as a day trip from Tokyo Mt. Takao as a day trip from Tokyo

One has a long nose, the other one a crow beak.

Mt. Takao as a day trip from Tokyo

The Main Hall.

Mt. Takao as a day trip from Tokyo

I’ve found some of the most beautiful temple / shrine seal books there. So, if you intend to purchase one, Mt. Takao is a good place to do so.

Mt. Takao as a day trip from Tokyo

Around the main hall you’ll find impressive wooden carvings.

Mt. Takao as a day trip from Tokyo

5-yen coins were attached via a red rope. I’m not entirely sure what for, but 5-yen coins are often used if one wants to pray for good luck.

Mt. Takao as a day trip from Tokyo

If you proceed further you’ll run into the Daishi-do Hall.

Mt. Takao as a day trip from Tokyo

You can easily recognize the little red building because it’s surrounded by many, many stone statues.

Mt. Takao as a day trip from Tokyo Mt. Takao as a day trip from Tokyo

The Izuna Gongen-do Hall is very colorful and features impressive colorful carvings.

Mt. Takao as a day trip from Tokyo

Once you’ve passed the temple, you’ll be at the top of the mountain where you can take a break.

Mt. Takao as a day trip from Tokyo

From there you’ll also have a great view.

Oh yeah … do I even have to mention it? You’re supposed to see Mt. Fuji from there, but as always ….. nope!

Mt. Takao as a day trip from Tokyo Mt. Takao as a day trip from Tokyo

After taking a break, you should decide which of the many trails you’ll take back down.

Mt. Takao as a day trip from Tokyo

The one I wanted to take was closed because they found a suzumebachi (huge hornets that can kill you….) nest.

Mt. Takao as a day trip from Tokyo

No problem, though! Not too far away from the resting area is a tiny information center where you can ask which trail suits you best.

Mt. Takao as a day trip from Tokyo

Most trails also have lots of interesting information, so you can observe the nature around you even closer.

Mt. Takao as a day trip from Tokyo Mt. Takao as a day trip from Tokyo

Almost back down, there was a tiny waterfall.

Mt. Takao as a day trip from Tokyo

When I finally arrived back at the Cablecar Station there was an ambulance and firefighters. Apparently an older person fell down somewhere on the same trail I just had used. I admit that it was wet (and thus slippery) due to lots of rain the previous few days and you had to be careful!

 

If you need to get out of Tokyo and like mountains and not very difficult hiking trails, then I recommend Mt. Takao!
Have you been to Mt. Takao yet?

If you decide to go, definitely take this great pamphlet in English with you as it’s providing all the information you need: Mt. Takao pamphlet (English).pdf

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