Mount Takao is the most climbed mountain in the world, however it’s not always featured in lists of things to do in Tokyo, so I wanted to share it with you in my video!
It’s a long video, but there are lots of good bits (the best part was actually the way back down!). I hope you enjoy it – let me know what you thought in the comments on YouTube!
Day Trip from Tokyo
Mount Takao is a perfect day trip from Tokyo. It’s to the west of Tokyo, only 50 minutes by train from Shinjuku, so you can easily get there and back in a day or even an afternoon. The amazing scenery is a complete contrast to the city, and it was definitely one of the highlights of our trip.
I love how you can choose trails to follow on the way up and down the mountain. You could go several times and have a different experience each visit, because each trail has different scenery and highlights. It was actually quite difficult deciding which to choose! There’s a huge map near the station, and we stood in front of it for a good while deciding which route to follow.
You can take a closer look at the map in the video; we took the blue trail #4 on the way up and the green trail #6 on the way down. Trail 1 is mostly paved and the easiest way. I absolutely loved trail 6 because the scenery was amazing, and I’m so glad we found the Biwa Waterfall and temple.
Cable Car and Chairlift
You can take a cable car or chairlift halfway up the mountain. I’d definitely recommend it; it was the longest chairlift I’ve been on and it saved our legs! The chairlift was really fun and it was a great experience going through the forest in the open air. You can get a one way or return ticket for either the cable car or the chairlift.
We bought the tickets from a vending machine, which is all in Japanese; I can read some Japanese and it wasn’t too difficult to work out, but I think there was a window to buy from as well. There are a couple of signs in English, so if you can match up the characters you’re good!
They both go to an area about halfway up, with cafes, shops and a monkey park. It’s quite touristy, but I found the way back down on trail 6 a lot more natural – there are still steps and a marked trail but it feels like you’re in the wild!
Mount Takao is famous for autumn colours (fall colours!). It was too early for them in mid October, but you could see the maples just starting to turn. It must be absolutely stunning a few weeks later.
The best part of trail 6 was the Biwa Waterfall, which has a small shrine beside it. I got some amazing pictures, and it was so quiet (apart from the sound of the water!) and atmospheric. It really felt like an adventure, especially when we came across the mysterious small cave. I really wanted to see a waterfall in Japan but so many of them, like the Kegon Waterfall in Nikko are such a long journey away. The Biwa Waterfall isn’t on the same scale, but it was beautiful and I loved how few people there were around – we were literally by ourselves for most of the trail on the way down.
Before you get to the waterfall, part of the trail involves walking through a stream on stepping stones. I was nervous about slipping (I always stress out about slipping down slopes when we’re hiking!) but it was actually really fun, and one of the highlights of the trail!
Places to Eat
There are restaurants around the station and cafes halfway up. At the top of the mountain you can get ice cream, and there’s a cafe serving soba noodles, a local specialty. Unfortunately they didn’t have a vegetarian option, so I lived on snacks – but I really enjoyed that taiyaki (later on I found a traditional fish-shaped taiyaki, but the one on Takao was actually my fav!).
How to Get to Mount Takao
From Keio Shinjuku Station (different from JR Shinjuku Station – follow signs to the Keio line), take the Keio Takao line to Takaosanguchi (the name means “entrance to Mount Takao”). It takes about 50 minutes, and you can use your Suica or Passmo card. I was surprised at how cheap it was, especially compared to trains in the UK. It was only 360 Yen each way (I’ve seen a lot of places say it’s 390 Yen so it might have gone up slightly).
It was interesting seeing the landscape change along the way as we travelled through the Tokyo suburbs. The landscape suddenly got a lot more open as we approached Hachioji.
If you have a JR Pass, you can take the JR Chuo line from Shinjuku to Takao (40 mins), then change to the Keio line and go one stop to Takaosanguchi Station (3 mins, 130 Yen – not covered by your JR Pass).
More Japan Videos
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