Tokyo is a bustling metropolis, a busy and populous neon city. If you’re visiting Tokyo but looking to slow the pace and enjoy the great outdoors, nearby Mount Takao may be just the ticket. Mount Takao offers autumn leaf and cherry blossom viewing, hiking, sky lifts, animal encounters, and historic temples.
Tokyo’s Mount Takao, also called Takaosan, is not to be confused with the Takao area, home to the Jingoji Temple, near Kyoto. The later is also a mountainous area containing numerous temples. Whereas Mount Takao makes a nice escape from the fast pace of Tokyo, Kyoto’s Takao region is likewise only a short bus ride outside the city.
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How to get to Mount Takao from Tokyo
At Takao Station, transfer to the Keio Line (for an additional fee, not covered under the JR Pass) to Takaosanguchi Station. From there you may utilize hiking trails and various ski lifts.
Hiking Mount Takao
Mount Takao offers breathtaking scenery, energetic hiking trails, and ancient temples. The hiking trails are numbered. Trail number 1 is the most popular, as it is broad, paved, and encounters many points of interest for a casual hike.
Hiking to the 600-meter summit takes around 1 hour and 30 minutes from the mountain base, cable cars and chair lifts are also available for those who wish to view the area from above. The uppermost cable car station has an observation deck, from which all of Tokyo and even Mount Fuji can be seen.
No price can be placed on nature’s beauty, but certain amenities have operating hours and incur fees. Mount Takao’s cable car departs once every 15 minutes from 8 am to 5:45 pm daily. Hours may be extended on weekends and holidays. The cable car costs ¥480 one-way, or ¥930 for a round trip ticket. This same fee applies to the mountain’s scenic chairlift, which operates from 9 am to 4 pm year round.
Mount Takao Monkey Park
Mount Takao is also home to a Monkey Park featuring 40 Japanese macaques. The monkeys can be viewed through a glass enclosure. The surrounding park is planted with over 500 types of wildflowers.
The Monkey Park has variable hours depending on the time of year but generally is open from 10 am to 4 pm. The admission fee is ¥420. The Keio Takaosan Onsen at the base of the mountain is open daily from 8 am to 11 pm, and admission costs ¥1000. This price may be increased during the koyo season, New Year holidays, and Golden Week.
Things to do in Takao
Takao has been a center of mountain worship for over 1,000 years. As such, it is home to religious statues and temples, including the Buddhist Yakuoin Temple, established in 744.
After a long day of hiking and sightseeing, you may wish to relax at an onsen, or natural hot spring. The Keio Takaosan Onsen Gokurakuyu is located near the rail station, at the base of the mountain. Visitors may also view the Takao 599 Museum, a museum of nature that offers free admission.
Mount Takao is also a prime location for viewing cherry blossoms in spring and autumn leaves in November. The cherry trees tend to bloom a week or two later than those in Tokyo, and a 30-minute hike will take you to an area known as “Thousand Cherry Trees.” During the cherry blossom and Koyo seasons, weekday visits are recommended, as main trails and viewing areas become very crowded on weekends.
Are you ready to embark on your next Japanese adventure? Reserve your JR Pass and start planning your trip today!