A nice easy day trip out of Tokyo leads to Mt Takao (599 m). Mt Takao ( 高尾山 ) has been regarded as a sacred mountain for over a thousand years. A pilgrim trail takes you from the base station past the Yakuo-in temple to the summit in about 90 minutes. The top of the mountain offers great views of Tokyo, Yokohama and on a clear day Mt Fuji and the Japanese Alps. Not surprisingly “Takao san” is climbed by millions of visitors each year and is being rewarded with three stars in the Michelin green guide of Japan.
Location and how to reach Mount Takao is in Hachioji City about 55 kilometers from the center of Tokyo on the western edge of the Tokyo Metropolitan District. It is easy to reach in just less than one hour by train from Shinjuku. Best is to take the Keio line express train from Shinjuku to Takao-san Guchi station, the end of the line. On the website of the Keio line there is interesting information, the timetable and an easy to download sightseeing guide book in Pdf format. The same website also explains how to buy and use round trip discounted sightseeing tickets, including a ride with the cable car or chairlift on Mt. Takao.
Hiking You can hike to the top on one of the many well-indicated available trails, but it is possible to cut the climb in half by using the cable car or a chairlift. The cable car runs from Kiyotaki Station to Takao-san Station, climbing 271 meters. With a maximum tilt of 31.18 degrees, it is the steepest cable car in Japan. Just near the cable car’s top station, there is an observation deck from where you can look out over Tokyo and see the Sky tower. Beyond the summit of Takao-san a larger network of hiking trails connects to the peaks of the nearby Chichibu National Park. The official website of Mt Takao provides in English a detailed description of the various hiking trails and a map of the area. Yakuo-in temple Yakuo-in, is an interesting temple, along the trail no.1, and many visitors stop there to pray for good fortune. The Takao-san Yakuo-in Temple is believed to have been built in 744. Mount Takao is closely associated with devotion to tengu, a long-nosed demon-like being. They are often depicted holding an uchiwa (Japanese fan) that sweeps away misfortune and brings along good fortune. Various statues can be found at the temple and also other spots around the mountain. The summit of Mt Takao at 599-meter altitude On a clear day the summit offers stunning views of Yokohama and the Landmark tower as well as in the far distant the Japanese Alps and Mt Fuji ( 富士山 ) with 3776 meter the highest mountain of Japan.