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Japan Tours and Life Style

Mt. Takao: An Amazing Sightseeing Destination

Mount Takao is a mountain in Tokyo, Japan, located in the city of Hachiji. The Meiji no Mori Takao Quasi-National Park protects it.

Mount Takao is linked to the Shinto-Buddhist tengu, Japanese folklore minor kami, and the daitengu Naigubu. Shugend, a type of mountain asceticism centered on extreme discipline, is also well-known on the mountain. On the summit, Takaosan Yakuoin Ikeji, a Buddhist temple, attracts numerous visitors who pray to the tengu for good fortune. The Shingon Buddhist sect owns the temple.

For over 1,000 years, Mount Takao has been a sacred spot where disciples known as yamabushi would undergo ascetic training such as Zen meditation, waterfall asceticism, and sutra reading.

Mt. Takao is only a 50-minute train ride from Shinjuku, making it ideal for a day excursion of leisurely hiking up the mountain. Since the Edo period, the Japanese have revered it as a sacred mountain. Today, the mountain is well-known as a beautiful natural location near to the city.

Mt. Takao has a summit elevation of 599 meters above sea level. Because it is within the natural boundary between Japan’s subtropical and temperate forests, many regard the mountain as an “Eden” of wildlife and natural greenery. On the steep slopes, both sorts of woodland trees and flora abound.

How to reach Mt. Takao from Tokyo

Mount Takao is easily accessible with your Japan Rail Pass. Take the JR Chuo Line to Takao Station from Shinjuku Station in Tokyo. One-way travel time is only 40 to 50 minutes.

Transfer to the Keio Line to Takaosanguchi Station from Takao Station (for an extra cost, not included by the JR Pass). Hiking routes and several ski lifts are available from there.

From Haneda Airport: Two hours five minutes by Limousine Bus, or one hour 55 minutes by train.

From Narita Airport: Two hours 40 minutes by Limousine Bus, or two hours 55 minutes by train.

From Shinjuku Station: Take the Semi Limited Express train on the Keio Line for Takaosanguchi Station. (Travel time: About 55 minutes)

From Tokyo Station: Take the JR Chuo Line and transfer at Takao Station to the Keio Takao Line for Takaosanguchi Station. (Travel time: One hour 25 minutes)

People can also take a taxi which will cost around Rs.1700 – Rs.2100. Also, people can by their own transport which will cost around Rs.700 – Rs.800.

 

A Walk Through Mt. Takao

On clear days, the summit gives views of Mount Fuji, while an observation platform near the cable car’s top station provides views of Tokyo. Beyond the top of Takaosan, a bigger network of hiking routes leads to the several peaks of the surrounding Chichibu-Tama-Kai National Park.

Takaosan, regarded as a sacred mountain, has been a focus of mountain worship for over 1000 years. Many people stop at Yakuoin, an exquisite temple along the trail near the mountain’s peak, to pray to Shinto-Buddhist mountain gods for good fortune. At the temple and various locations around the mountain, statues of the gods, one with a long nose and the other with a crow beak, can be discovered.

A monkey park is also located along with path number 1. About 40 Japanese macaques live in the park’s glass-walled enclosure and put on demonstrations at various times during the day. The monkey park also has a wild flower garden with 500 different species of plants that may be visited with the same admission ticket.

Visitors will locate the Keio Takaosan Onsen Gokurakuyu, a hot spring bath house with gender-segregated baths, near the base of the mountain behind the railway station. The Takao 599 Museum is a nature museum dedicated to the ecology of Mount Takao (free admission). Takaosanguchi Station was restored in 2015, and it now has a lovely wooden canopy and wood panelled passageways designed by renowned architect Kuma Kengo.

Mt. Takao Hiking Trails

 

Mt. Takao Hiking Trails
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There is a good mix of six main and four additional hiking trails offering easy to moderate routes, none of which take more than two to three hours—unless you’re a keen photographer!

Most people opt for Trail/Route 1— The Omotesando Trail is mostly paved and passes through all of the major tourist attractions. It’s the simplest option in terms of effort—both physically and mentally. However, it can get crowded, so be prepared for a noisy mountain experience. This path is the longest, measuring 3 kilometres and ranging in difficulty from simple to moderate.

Alternatively, you may go on one of the usual hiking paths, which are unpaved and a little more difficult but have a lot fewer people on them. The following are some of them.

Trail 2—Kasumi Dai Loop: This is the easiest and shortest trail, only a 0.9 km stroll through forests.

Trail 3—Katsura Woods Trail: A medium trail with a focus on nature, 2.4 km of streams, forests and views.

Trail 4—Suspension Bridge Trail: A 1.5 km medium route through forests and crossing the Miyamabashi Bridge. Features lots of stairs!

Trail 5—Peak Loop Trail: An easy route of 0.9 km which is relaxing and allows hikers to admire the flowers.

Trail 6—Biwa Waterfall Trail: The second-longest at 3.3 km, and the most challenging. This is known as “the trail of water”. You can pass a waterfall—site of ascetic training—and enjoy the cool forest air.

Inariyama Trail: A 3.2 km challenging trail via Mount Inari, this is known as the every-season trail as it always has flowers or leaves to admire.

Iroha no Mori Trail: A medium but at times steep 1.5 km trail, which has trees whose initials form the 48-character ancient Japanese alphabet: the iroha.

Jaya Taki Waterfall Trail: A medium 1.5 km trail which follows the water, this one is quiet and peaceful.

Ura-Takao Trail: The longest at 4.7 km, but an easy stroll, this takes you through plum groves with over 10,000 trees. It does run along a road though, so be wary of fast cars.

At the summit observation platform, all routes converge (take note: there is another near the monkey park). Hiking up one path and returning on Trail/Route 1 to enjoy the sights can be a wonderful compromise.

If you desire to continue hiking, you can take the Takaosan-Jimbasan trail from the summit to Itchodaira, another observation deck. This location is covered in cherry blossoms in the spring and is a favorite picnic spot, although it is quieter the rest of the year. The trail continues to Mount Kobotoke and Shiroyama, where you can explore the surrounding mountains; just don’t get lost!

Alternative to Hiking

 

Mt. Takao Hiking Trails
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Partway up (or down) the mountain, you can use the chairlift or cable car. This will save you roughly an hour on Trail 1 and will get you closer to the Kasumidai observation platform and monkey park. It takes about 15 minutes to get to the temple and 40 minutes to get to the summit from here. Trail 1 begins at the lower cable car and chair lift stations. Should you need to store your belongings, there are lockers on both ends.

The cable car runs every 15 minutes from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. or 6 p.m., depending on the season, and until 9:15 p.m. during the summer beer festival. The covered twin-seater chairlift runs from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. or 4:30 p.m., depending on the season. Both cost ¥490 one way for adults and ¥250 for children.

 

 

 

Nature’s Trail: Wildlife and Flora

 

Mt. Takao Hiking
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While nature is wonderful, Mount Takao has several additional benefits that make hiking it all the more enjoyable. This is why it is so popular with families and as a dating destination, as there is so much to see and do for people of all ages.

The vista from the summit, for example, can include Mount Fuji on a clear day, so keep your hopes and toes crossed! If you climb during the winter solstice in December, you might be able to witness Diamond Fuji, a rare occurrence in which the sun sets directly atop Fuji-san, forming a flawless diamond. You should, though, make sure you’re down the mountain before it becomes dark.

Yakuoin Temple

 

Mt. Takao Hiking Trails journey trip
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This magnificent shrine, located on Mount Takao’s peak, has been guarded for ages. The brightly coloured artistic carvings are awe-inspiring, and touring the temple grounds in the autumn when the leaves change colour is especially lovely.

The temple, which was founded in 744 by Gyoki Bosatsu, contains a monument etched with sessho kindan, which means “no killing” and reflects the severe protective laws that have existed since its foundation.

The Tengu statues that defend the temple compound are the most well-known. Tengu are mythical beings who live on sacred mountains and serve as deity messengers, chastising evil people while protecting the righteous. There are two varieties of crows at Yakuoin, one with a long pointed nose and the other with a crow’s beak, as shown in statues and images throughout the grounds.

The Omotesando Trail leads to the temple, which is free to enter. If you’re hiking down from the peak, it’ll take you approximately 10-20 minutes, and the ropeway stop will take you roughly the same amount of time.

Takao Natural Zoo and Botanical Garden

 

zoo and animals
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On Mount Takao, nature lovers are spoiled for choice, as the mountain not only offers gorgeous natural sceneries and woods, but it also includes regions dedicated to wildflowers and monkeys.

There are 60 monkeys living in a natural setting at the Natural Zoo, and the guides are known for their storytelling abilities. Some monkeys can be seen up close and respond to their names. Over 300 species of natural grasses can be seen in the botanical garden, many of which originally thrived on the mountain but were nearly extinct due to development.

The park and garden are open from 9.30 a.m. to 4 p.m. (Dec-Feb, May-Nov) and 10 a.m. to 4.30 p.m. (Dec-Feb, May-Nov) (March- April).

 

 

Takao 599 Museum

 

takao 599 museum
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Mount Takao can be learned about before you even set foot on it, thanks to the Takao 599 Museum, which provides insight into what makes the mountain so unique. Visitors can learn about the mountain’s natural resources and live residents, as well as witness examples of the plants and animals. Along the routes, there is a cafe, a rest place, and plenty of information on the hiking trails and seasonal attractions.

The museum, which is adjacent to Takaosanguchi Station and is free to enter, is open all year with sporadic closing days. Hours are 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. (April to November) and 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. (December to March).

Trick Art Museum

This is one of those sites where you may snap photos of yourself upside down, on the ceiling, or inserted within the work of a great artist, among other things. Takaosanguchi Station is a short walk from the Trick Art Museum. It’s difficult to notice the signs.

From December to March, the Takao Trick Art Museum is open daily from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m., and from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. the rest of the year. Adults pay $1,300, while children’s tickets range from $500 to $1,000, depending on their age.

Takaosan Onsen

 

onsen
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This natural hot spring, which is also directly adjacent to the train station (turn right as you exit the ticket gates), is the ideal spot to relax after a day of hiking (difficult or not). They provide both outdoor and indoor baths where you may enjoy the scenery of the mountains. A cypress bath with micro-bubbles, a seasonal bath that changes throughout the year, a sauna, and an outdoor carbonated option are among the options.

From 8 a.m. to 11 p.m., the onsen is open, with the final admittance at 10 p.m. Adult admission is $1,000, while children’s admission is $500. An additional $200 for adults and $100 for children is necessary during peak season (Golden Week, autumn leaf change, and New Year).

Conclusion: An ultimate rejuvenating break

Mt. Takao is located on Tokyo’s west side and provides a breathtaking view of the Kanto Plain, Tokyo Bay, and the city centre. Mt. Fuji can also be seen plainly on sunny winter days. If you’re lucky, you might be able to see “Diamond Fuji,” when the sun appears to rest like a sparkling gem on top of Mt. Fuji.

Takaosan Yakuoin, located about halfway up Mt. Takao, is a 1,200-year-old temple known for its “power places.” Any desire made while going through the stone ring “Negai-Kanau-Wa-Kuguri” is supposed to be granted. Those who turn a number of hexagonal stone wheels positioned throughout the compound are claimed to be cleansed and relieved of their troubles. The “Eight Dragon King Hall” (Hachi Dai Ryuo-do Hall) bestows good financial fortune on guests, while meandering around the temple grounds can bestow a pleasant relationship.

Mt. Takao is home to about 1,500 plant species, 100 wild bird species, 30 mammal species, and 4,000 insect species. The Takao violet, a plant first identified on Mt. Takao, the asahi madara (chestnut tiger) butterfly, which feeds on thistle nectar, and flying squirrels that glide through the woods are all of great importance. The Takao Monkey Park, which is also atop the mountain, is home to roughly 70 cute Japanese monkeys.

No matter what season you visit, Mt. Takao has its own attractions. Violets and cherry blossoms are in bloom in the spring. In the summer, a supper and a night view can be enjoyed in the beer garden. In the autumn, the vibrant leaves are breathtaking, while in the winter, the clear air allows you to view Mt. Fuji in the distance. Mount Takao is certainly worthy of its many repeat visitors – you’ll see a new facet of the mountain’s beauty no matter how many times you visit.

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