Mount Takao 高尾山
Gateway to nature
Outside the city centre but still within metropolitan Tokyo, Mount Takao is one of the favorite mountains of the capital's inhabitants.
Because of its proximity, easy access and the wonderful views it offers, Mount Takao - or Takao-san - should be a must for your stay in Tokyo, for all nature lovers at least.
Stairway to Heaven
Mount Takao rises 599 meters above sea level in the quasi-national Meiji no Mori Takao Park, one of the smallest parks in the country, covering only 7.70 km2.
Located very close to Tokyo, it takes less than an hour to get there from Tokyo station! Simply take the JR Chuo line (marked in orange on maps) to the end of the line and that's it, you're there!
A slightly less expensive alternative also exists; take the Keio line to Shinjuku which will take you to Takaosanguchi Station via a change in Kitano. Goodbye urban jungle, hello mountains and greenery...
Mount Takao offers seven main trails leading you to the summit. The first (trail #1), the easiest, offering a gentle and comfortable ascent with a concrete path and toilets at regular intervals. Allow about two hours to reach the summit. A chairlift is available for the first half of the climb, which is also the steepest.
Obviously, for the more experienced it's possible to take a more challenging route. By opting for this choice, you can fully enjoy nature, pine trees and Japanese maples. A wide variety of insects and birds also live here.
Near the summit, the trails merge and all visitors finish the walk together. At the top, enjoy your reward: a breathtaking view of Tokyo, Yokohama, and even the majestic Fuji-san on a clear day!
As always in Japan, you will find everything you need: a rest area with tables, souvenir shops, drinks vending machines and restaurants. To be expected when you're at the most visited mountain in the world (almost 3 million visitors per year)!
Climb mount Takao with a guide thanks to Voyagin.
The sacred mountain
At the summit, a shinto shrine faces the neighboring Mount Mitake (also very popular with Tokyo residents). But we recommend a visit to Takaosan Yakuoin Yuki-ji, a beautiful Buddhist temple. It's actually located on the way up the mountain and not at the top. The temple was built in 744 (during the Nara period) by the famous Gyoki Bosatsu under the order of Emperor Shomu.
It's dedicated to the worship of tengu, creatures from Japanese folklore with long noses. Yes, shinto gods are worshipped in this Buddhist temple. No, don't try to understand why; in a country like Japan with such ancient traditions sometimes faiths overlap.