Mount Takao (Takaosan) 高尾山 is a small but beautiful mountain with the height of 599 meters above the sea level, one of the closest natural recreation areas to central Tokyo. Located just about 50 mins away from Shinjuku by train, great enough to do a half day trip or 1 day trip over there; leisurely hiking on the mountain. Immerse yourself into the natural beauty of this place; release the ion charges while walking through the trees. It can be quite crowded on the weekends, or during special occasion day. It will be a great place for hanami in mid of April and momiji in mid November to early December.
We took the Keio Railway from Shinjuku that offers the cheapest and fastest connection to Takaosan. The round-trip discount ticket is priced at ¥ 1,380 which includes a return thicket of Shinjuku-Takaosan (at Takaosanguchi Station), Cable Car Ride and Chair lift up to the mountain.
For full itinerary, read Japan Trip 2017: 7D6N Spring in Tokyo & Hakone
Things to do Takaosan
1. Take the chair lift up to Takaosan
Pretty adventurous but very safe. The journey takes about 12 minutes up to Sanjo Station.
2. Slurp up the bowl of hot piping soba/udon in Juichichomechaya
Hot piping bowl of noodles taste best at the super chilling weather!!!
3. Check out the Tako-sugi (octopus root cedar)
Legends says that a woodsman planned to cut the roots of this cedar because they were in the way. But that night, the tree saved itself by twisting its roots around like octopus legs, a strange legend, and even stranger roots.
There are a lot of Cedar trees along the way to the temple.
4. Pray at Takao-san Yakuo-in Temple
The temple is about a 20-minute walk from Takaosan cable car station. Mount Takao has been considered a holy mountain in Shugendo, and to this day, mountain worshippers who practice this religion make the pilgrimage throughout the year to immerse themselves in the cascading waters of the waterfall.
Visitors may stop to pray to Shinto-Buddhist mountain gods (tengu) for good fortune. You may find the statues of gods, one with a long nose and one with a crow beak in this area.
5. Draw Omikuji おみくじ and 结缘
Because I got the Omikuji with great blessing, so I decided to pray for a better 缘 here. LOL.
6. Moving up and up to the summit
It even snowed in spring!!!
7. Standing up high at the summit and say YAY!
It wasn’t very difficult to hike up this high. But the super chilling weather got us in a bit of trouble + the road was a little slippery due to the melted snow + it was drizzling! Extra energy needed to go up here.
If the weather is clear, you may get the chance to view the Mount Fuji from the peak.
8. Warm the tummy with Takaosan’s Sake
Weather was super chilling and cold! We drank warm sake to keep us warm.
9. Eat Dango
Crispy and savoury! Should have ordered more.
10. Shop on local goods.
11. Takaosan Cheese Tart
Warm melty cheesy cheese tart with buttery flaky pastry base. So good.
12. Cable Car Ride down the mountain
Wanna experience both the vehicles here, so we took the cable car ride down. Also to warm ourselves from the extreme weather in spring.
13. Warm yourself with the hotspring dip before transferring back to city
Natural hot springs flowing from the foothills of Mt. Takao that offers an ideal place to relax and unwind. Immerse yourself in the hot water before transferring back to the city.
14. Mesmerize the beauty of Sakura at the foot of the mountain