I really enjoy living near Tokyo because there is always something interesting to see or do, but sometimes it can be a bit chaotic and overwhelming with the constant hustle and bustle. As much I love spending the day in the city, my soul really belongs in nature. I recently took a trip to Mount Takao and it was an amazing place that I think everyone should visit!
Mount Takao is conveniently located about an hour outside of Tokyo (in the Hachioji region) and can be accessed by train or car. Depending on where you are coming from, both could be viable options. I carpooled with a few friends and we split the toll/parking fees as well as found parking pretty easily. There are a several parking lots surrounding the park and fees vary, but start at 1000 yen. Get there early and shoot for a weekday as this is a very popular hiking destination and can get crowded quickly! So here are a few highlights from my trip that I think you will like – even if you don’t like nature. 😉
- You can shop and eat! Once you arrive at the park and before you set off on your hike, check out the little shops along the main path. You can stock up on snacks for your hike or you can have a meal at a restaurant. And even if you aren’t hungry, it’s still fun to look at all of the unique foods and trinkets.
- There are cable car/chair lift options! Don’t feel like making the 2 hour trek up the mountain? No problem. Mount Takao offers a cable car and a chair lift option for your viewing convenience! Both will take you halfway up the mountain and both cost about 980 yen for round trip. We took the chair lift (the line is much shorter for the chair lift) and it was an awesome ride! You get to be closer to nature and enjoy the quiet sounds of the nature as you sit back on your ride. One thing I will mention is that there are no safety bars on the chair lift, so hold on tight to your kids, dog, backpack, etc. Also remember to smile – there will be a photographer sitting amongst the trees who will take a souvenir photo for you! You can purchase your photo for about 800 yen. But hold on to it! You will have your photo taken again on the way down and you can trade in your photo if you decide you like the other one better!
- Different paths! There are a few different paths you can take up to the summit so take a look at the map and determine your route before your adventure. But the other cool part is that you can also take a completely different path down to the bottom too! Which means double the scenery! Yay! There is also a monkey park that is pretty popular, however we didn’t have time to check it out so it will be on my list for the next visit!
- Temple (Architecture)! Along with the nature views, you can also check out the Yakuoin Temple and admire the architecture during your trip. Temples and shrines all have their own unique designs and details so even if you’ve seen 20 temples you will always find something new to appreciate at the next one. Mount Takao is very sacred to the locals so you may see some religious and cultural practices taking place throughout your hike, but especially around the temple area.
- View from atop (with beer)! Once you disembark from the cable car/chair lift it takes about 45 minutes to reach the summit of Mount Takao. Some paths are a little harder than others but I saw plenty of children, elderly, and people with dogs out on the trails. One of the paths is paved (but with some steps along the way), so even someone with a wheelchair or stroller could enjoy part of the hike. At the top you will find lots of places to sit and enjoy the view! On a clear day you can even see Mount Fuji! And bonus: there’s beer! Yes, that’s right – there is also a café and convenient store at the top that sells food, ice cream, mochi, coffee, and beer!
- Dango! You will see many treat options around Mount Takao, but the most popular choice is Dango. It’s a dumpling on a stick that has a sweet/salty or soy flavor. It will only cost you a few hundred yen and it’s basically the Mt. Takao thing to do. 🙂
So what did I love most about my Mount Takao experience??
- The amazing views! My hike took place around early November so I really enjoyed viewing the fall foliage and crisp air. Whether I was waiting in line or taking a break along the hike, there was always something beautiful and interesting to look at. The people we encountered along the way were also very friendly and polite and it was great to see so many people out enjoying nature.
Visiting Mount Takao was an amazing spiritual experience and I can’t wait to go back! Each season offers a unique perspective of scenery so no two hikes are the same. I also love that this park is great for people of all ages and abilities! It was fun to do with a group, but it would also be fulfilling to do it solo as well. I guarantee that you will leave here refreshed, restored, and your soul will be filled with joy and gratitude! Please visit if you get the chance! You won’t regret it! 🙂
“The mountains are calling and I must go.” ~John Muir