Yesterday was a really fine day and warmer than usual, I went to Mt. Takao where locates in western suburb in Tokyo with my hiking buddy, a friend in my university days. We have often visited various mountains together for recent years. Our motto is “loose-climbing” and “don’t push ourselves so hard”. We would like to enjoy breathing fresh air and chatting in the nature, so we sometimes just bypass the summit of mountain when our feeling don’t get on. (Of course, we have also climbed mountains which are more than 2,000m height in the past.)
Mt. Takao is a tourist-friendly mountain with easy access
As we couldn’t go on trekking together last year due to our schedules didn’t match and haven’t done much excises each other, we chose Mt. Takao as our 1st trekking this year. The mountain is for climbing beginners, easy to access from the center of Tokyo, about 40 minutes by train from Shinjuku Station. It is 559m height, has 6 different climbing routes, even you can go up by cable cars and chair lifts. Mt. Takao received 3 stars from Michelin Guide a few years ago as a tourist-friendly spot. Since then, so many people both Japanese and foreigners visit there.
By the way, I am originally from the suburb in Tokyo and Mt. Takao is one of typical excursion areas in my primary school days and we visited there at least a few times in a year. So, it seemed like just my backyard and I was totally tired of visiting the mountain in my childhood. Therefore, I was astonished when it got 3 stars from the globally famous guide book!!
Takaosanguchi Station of Keio line, an entrance of Mt. Takao, was completely renovated and has no vestige which I had before. The exterior of the station is used with full of wooden materials and made with tourists aware.
The mountain has various routes to the top for your preferences
We chose the route No.6 this time in order to enjoy walking gentle uphills along streams. The climate & sun shine were so moderate without any wind. Friends, families with small kids, young couples, elder groups, solo hikers, every kind of people were climbing fun aiming for the top of mountain. Nature always makes us open-minded, so we kept chatting about our work, private issues, how to spend the second half of life etc while we were climbing. We finally arrived at the top of mountain after 90 minute-walk with comfortable sweat.
When it is a fine day, we can see Mt. Fuji from there. Although the top was so crowded by tons of visitors and hard to find our space to sit down, the view of Mt. Fuji was awesome! It was a bit hazy yesterday, but you can see even skyscrapers in Shinjuku and Sky Tree Tower at the edge of Eastern Tokyo when it is the finest weather!
For your information, in summer time from June to September, the beer garden called “Takaosan Beer Mount” will be held near the cable car station on the top. I seldom visit there, but I heard you can enjoy very nice shining Tokyo views with cold beer at night.
After having lunch at the summit, we walked along route No. 4 on the return and got on 2-seat chair lift to go down. Actually, a chair lift looks like the one in ski resorts, which was so fun and I felt a nice breezing in deep forest. I strongly recommend you to get on, in particular, on the day with mild climate.
Trekking & hot spring are the best combination for outdoor leisure
Oops, we never miss dropping by the Onsen (Hot spring) facility next to Takaosanguchi Station as Onsen lovers. Our hiking & trekking are always a set of climbing and hot spring. The temperature of water was a bit lower than others, but I could heal my tired body and legs in hot springs. Incidentally, you had better visit there before 2:00 pm on weekends, otherwise the facility will be occupied by many hikers and it may be impossible to be relax… Anyway, Mt. Takao is a nice place where you can enjoy nature easily for 1-day trip!
- Takao Tozan Railway official site : http://brangista.j-server.com/BRATAKAOTZ/ns/tl.cgi/http://www.takaotozan.co.jp/?SLANG=ja&TLANG=en&XMODE=0&XCHARSET=utf-8&XJSID=0 (English)