A nice easy day trip out of Tokyo leads to the 599 meter high Mt. Takao (高尾山). For over a thousand years Mt. Takao has been regarded as a sacred mountain. 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 located in Hachioji about 55 kilometers from the center of Tokyo, on the western edge of the Tokyo Metropolitan District. In just less than one hour by train from Shinjuku it is easy to reach. Best is to take the Keio line express train from Shinjuku to Takao-san Guchi station at the end of the line. On the website of the Keio line one can find 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.
Just near the cable car’s top station, there is an observation deck. From here you can get a first glimp of Tokyo and the Sky tree tower while enjoying a cool beer (the beergarden is open from mid June till mid October).
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 various languages (via translation bots) a detailed description of the various hiking trails and a map of the area.
Yakuo-in, is an interesting temple, along the trail no.1 to the summit, 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 of tengu, a long-nosed demon-like being. These deities 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.