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Mount Takao

HISTORY

For Tokyo residents, Mount Takao is a natural recreation destination for them. With a variety of attractions for each season whether spring, summer, autumn or winter as well as close enough to the center of Tokyo City, Mount Takao is crowded with tourist arrivals either from within or outside the country.

Located in the Meiji no Mori Takao Quasi-National Park sanctuary established in 1967 in conjunction with the beginning of the era of the Meiji Maharaja, Mount Takao (高 尾 山 Takao-san) is an inner mountain located in Hachioji City, Tokyo. Although not located in the central area of ​​Tokyo City, Mount Takao is still part of the Tokyo Metropolis area with a 50-minute ride from Shinjuku.

With an altitude of 599 meters above sea level, Mount Takao is one of the natural recreation areas closest to the center of Tokyo City which offers beautiful year-round scenery, charming temples and exciting and diverse hiking trails. Michelin Green Guide lists Mount Takao as a must-see mountain with the highest award of 3 stars making Mount Takao denser with visitors with a visitor’s presence of 2.5 million a year. Even the number of tourists is increasing from year to year.

Considered as one of the sacred mountains since the Edo period by Japanese people, Mount Takao became the center of worship for more than 1000 years. This makes Mount Takao a busy religious center with the coming of the Shinto-Buddhists who come to visit the temple.

ATTRACTION

There are many attractions available on Mount Takao. It’s not excessive to say that Mt. Takao is suitable for all regardless of age, gender, background and interest.

If you are a natural fan of nature, Mount Takao is a paradise for you. There are more than 1200 types of flora and various variants of fauna such as wild boar and monkeys are there. Even the observation deck at the top of Mount Takao presents breathtaking views of nature. If the weather is sunny and good, from the observation deck, you can see as far as the center of Tokyo City as well as Mount Fuji. Even in the winter, there is a phenomenon called ‘Diamond Fuji’ because the sunset on Mt. Fuji is as glorious as diamonds on Mount Fuji.

In the spring, Mount Takao is a great place to see sakura flowers especially for those who miss the ‘hanami’ in central Tokyo. This is because sakura flowers in Mount Takao bloom more late when compared to in the center of Tokyo City. There are several cherry trees around the foot of the mountain, hiking trails and mountain peaks but the best place to enjoy the beauty of the cherry blossoms is the Itchodaira area, also known as Takaosan Senbonzakura (“Mount Takao Thousand Cherry Trees”), to reach you need to climb about 30 minutes past the summit of the mountain.

While in the autumn around late November, Mount Takao is among the most popular spots in Tokyo to enjoy the damyo (autumn foliage). At this time the forests around Mount Takao change colors from green to the ocean of red and yellow foliage that is quite eye-catching eyes that look.

Mount Takao in Autumn

In addition there is a tree called Takosugi (Octopus Cedar) where the cedar tree has root like squid. With a height of 37 meters and a circumference of 6 meters, it is estimated that Takosugi’s age is about 500 years old. This cedar tree is located on the route between Takaosan Cable Car Station and the summit of Mount Takao.

In addition, on this route there is also a Monkey Park. With an entrance fee of 420 yen, the park houses 40 Japanese monkeys separated by glass walls which over time has a monkey show performed. Also in this park there is a flower garden consisting of 500 species of wildflowers planted in this park.

Monkey Park

There are 6 hiking trails available on Mount Takao for you to the top of the mountain. The majority of visitors use route 1 which is wide and paved and passes all major attractions up to a 599 meter peak. Other routes are smaller and unpaved and less used by visitors. To get to the top of Mount Takao by line 1 takes about 90 minutes from the foot of the mountain.

But do not worry, there is a cable car facility and a chair lift available at Mount Takao with a little charge to take you half way to the top of the mountain. We recommend you to ride by cable car because this cable car line is the steepest route of this cable car in Japan with a 31.18 degree gradient. Then you can try to get off with a lift chair to enjoy the other scenery from others that you can not forget about. The price for lift chair and cable car is equal to 480 yen one way and 930 yen for return ticket.

Chair Lift
Cabel Car

If you are on Mount Takao, your trip is complete without visiting the main attractions of the Yakuoin Temple, a Shinto-Buddha temple. The temple is located near the summit of Mount Takao where many Buddhists of Shinto-Buddha come to pray to Tengu who they believe as God Mount that can bring good luck and power. This statue has a long nose and a beak like a crow.

Yakuoin Temple

Around the foot of the mountain behind the railway station, there is a hot bath house Takaosan Onsen Gokurakuyu. The bathhouse offers hot baths separated by sex with an entrance fee of 1000yen. There is also the Takao 599 Museum named after the height of Mount Takao where the museum exhibits various info on the environmental ecology of Mount Takao with no entrance fee charged to visitors.

Takaosan Onsen Gokurakuyu 
Takaosan Onsen Gokurakuyu
Takao 599 Museum

ACCESS

To reach Mount Takao by public transport, there are 2 options you can choose. We at JomJapan are more advised to choose the first because it is easier, cheap and fast.

You need to get off at Takaosanguchi Station on the Keio Railways route. Avoid getting off at Takao Station because from this station you have to walk about 1 hour to get to Mount Takao.

  1. From Shinjuku: Keio Railways offers the cheapest and most convenient trip to Mount Takao. The semi-limited express train takes 50 minutes at a 390 yen fee from Keio Shinjuku Station to Keio Takaosanguchi Station every 20 minutes.
  2. From Tokyo: You can take a JR Chuo Line train connecting Tokyo Station with Takao Station (920 yen, 77 minutes) which then you have to move to Keio Line to get off at Takaosanguchi Station (130 yen, 3 minutes). If you’re from Tokyo, we recommend that you go first to Shinjuku and take the Keio Railways.
Train

HALA FOODS

In the vicinity of Mount Takao, there is no halal restorant in the center of Tokyo City. But there are some foods that can be eaten in the Mount Takao area such as ‘Dango’ made from rice and also Tengu yaki made from wheat flour and filled with red beans.

Dango
Tengu yaki

The nearest halal restaurant is located in Hachioji Town, named RUMIZU. The restaurant offers halal-style Indian / Nepali dishes with an appetizing taste. To get there, you can use the Google Map app to locate this restorant.

PRAYER PLACE

There is no place to pray in the prayer area around Mount Takao, but you can choose an open space that does not interfere with other visitors to perform the prayers.

But if you want a more comfortable prayer place, there is a mosque located in Hachioji Town. The mosque is named Masjid Al-Tawheed or the Hachioji Mosque.

Masjid  Al-Tawheed

REFERENCES

  1. https://www.japan-guide.com/e/e3029.html
  2. https://japan-magazine.jnto.go.jp/en/special_keio.html
  3. https://www.keio.co.jp/english/sightseeing/takao.html
  4. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mount_Takao
  5. https://www.sakuramobile.jp/japan-travel-guide/mount-takao-6-mountain-peak-highlights/
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