Life in Tokyo is busy and loud. Tokyo is one of the most modern cities in the world and, while quite beautiful, it can get tiring to see the constant lights and buildings. If you are staying Tokyo for any amount of time, why not go visit the Japanese wilderness at Mount Takao?

Mount Fuji is the most beautiful and famous mountains in Japan that attracts the largest number of climbers. If you somehow miss climbing Mount Fuji, and finding for an alternative option to experience a hike in Japan, I would highly recommend you to climb Mount Takao. This is Tokyo’s most popular mountain to explore and enjoy a delightful day trip with friends, beloved ones, or even alone!

About Mount Takao

Mount Fuji from the summit of Takaosan. Photo Credit: Asteiner at Wikimedia Commons.

Mount Takao is located very close to Tokyo and is in fact within the metropolitan area. It takes only 50 minutes to get to Mount Takao from the city proper via Keio Shinjuku to Takaosanguchi Station, a ride that will cost you 390 yen.

It is more worth both the time and money! Mount Takao is 599 meters tall. There is a network of hiking trails that lead up to the summit. Most visitors take trail number 1 (Omotesando Trail), a broad, paved trail that offers many scenic views and passes along many points of interest. More athletic people who are looking for a challenge and some solitude can also choose to take one of the many narrower unpaved trails.

The summit of Mount Takao offers visitors to see the view of iconic Mount Fuji on a sunny day!

Things to See and Do

Yakuoin Temple

Takaosan Yakuō-in temple in Hachiōji, Tokyo. Photo Credit: Rob Young at Wikimedia Commons.

Founded in 744 by Gyoki Bosatsu, this beautiful Buddhist temple has been the center for mountain worship in the area for over 1000 years. Visitors often stop to pray for good luck at this temple and its many god statues. You can find many statues similar to those found at Yakuoin Temple all over the mountain.

Please note the temple is free to enter.

Takaosak Onsen

At the base of the mountain, behind the rail station, you can find this hot spring bathhouse. There are many gender-segregated bath options here. It’s always a great idea to soak your body after a day of hiking. Experience Japanese onsen bath and relax! The onsen is open from 8:00am to 11:00pm, with last entry at 10:00pm.

Mount Takao Cable Car and Chair Lift

Chair Lift. Photo Credit: Dick Thomas Johnson at Flickr.

For those who want a more leisurely experience, the cable car offers a great chance to get an excellent view. The car operates every 15 minutes up to the middle of Mount Takao.

Takao Natural Zoo and Botanical Garden

This monkey park is found on trail number 1. Here, you can view the 40 Japanese macaques in a glass-walled enclosure, where they put on shows throughout the day. There is also a wildflower garden here with 500 types of plants.

Takao 599 Museum

This unique museum is all about the ecology of Mount Takao. The museum is an interest and beautifully designed space and well worth a visit as you hike up to the summit. The museum is free to enter and located close to Takaosanguchi station.

Mount Takao Autumn Leaves Festival

Red maple leaves at the summit of Mount Takao.

Tokyo is Japan’s one of the most popular places to see fall foliage. There are many beautiful places in and around Tokyo to admire the colorful autumn leaves.

If you are at Mount Takao from November 2 to November 30, you can attend the Mount Takao Autumn Leaves Festival. Held on weekends, the festival gives visitors a chance to view and celebrate the mountain’s spectacular fall foliage. With concerts, dancing, and drumming. The festival is held near Kiyotaki Station.

Mount Takao Beer Mount

This is the highest beer garden in Tokyo, sitting at 500 meters above sea level. The terrace seats offer great views of Tokyo, while there are also great woodland views and indoor seating in case of adverse weather. The Beer Mount operates as an all-you-can-eat, all-you-can-drink venue, served buffet style.

Mount Takao’s Cherry Blossom in Spring

Cherry blossoms in spring. Photo Credit: Eiji Saito at Wikimedia Commons.

Like many locations in and around Tokyo, there are cherry trees on Mount Takao that bloom every spring. Only a few cherry trees line trail number 1, while more can be found a few minutes beyond the summit at Itchodaira. There are several varieties here. The blooms are best in mid to late April, usually after the cherry blossoms season in the city is over.

Mount Takao Fire Walking Festival

This annual festival is held every year on the second Sunday of March. Worshippers gather here to pray for safety and protection or themselves, their family, and friends. They then follow one of the mountain’s ascetic hermits, a yamabushi, as he walks barefoot over smoldering coals created by a sacred fire.

Monks will walk through the flames, chanting, an amazing sight to behold. For the brave, there is an opportunity to try fire-walking on the cooling coals before the flames are entirely put out. These coals are only a little hotter than your body temperature, but bring a wet towel to wipe off your feet after you test your mettle.

How to Get to Mount Takao from Tokyo

The most easiest way to reach Mount Takao is by one of Keio Railways’s direct semi-limited express trains from Keio Shinjuku Station to Takaosanguchi Station, located at the foot of the mountain. The one way journey is just under an hour and will cost you 390 yen.

Alternatively, you can take the JR Chuo Line that connects Shinjuku to Takao Station, where you must transfer to the Keio Line and ride one more station to Takaosanguchi Station.

In Conclusion

One of the hiking routes of Mount Takao! Photo Credit: Joshua Rappeneker at Flickr.

During my travels throughout Japan, I had the opportunity to explore a lot of truly amazing places and cultural experiences. Hiking is in my blood, so everywhere I go in Japan, my first priority is to search for hiking routes of a particular area.

Tokyo has everything to make your trip a great adventure. If this what you want to believe, then your trip to Mount Takao is going to be exciting and memorable. A lot of tourists who are new to Japan also visit the mountain with a local guide.

There are a lot of great options for a Tokyo day trip itinerary and if you are looking forward to explore an area on the outskirt of Tokyo city, you must include a visit to Mount Takao in the itinerary.