Escape of the week: Tokyo’s Mount Takao

Written by on December 12, 2012 in Destinations, Guest Posts - 4 Comments

Editor’s Note: This is a guest post from Ian at

Escaping the city for lush green forests, temples, and hiking is surprisingly easy for people living or visiting Tokyo.  Located on the outskirts of Tokyo’s bustling metropolis sits mount Takao, a natural recreation area providing an excellent escape for nature lovers.

Tokyo Mountains

View of the mountains surrounding Mount Takao – Tokyo, Japan

Sushi, shopping and sightseeing are what most people think about when Tokyo comes to mind.  With trains packed like sardine cans ready to explode or the infamous Shibuya crossing, arguably the busiest intersection in the world, it’s a wonder that there’s any nature at all.  Yet, less than an hour from downtown Tokyo the urban sprawl turns into beautiful hiking trails.

Yakuoin Temple

People lining up to pray at Yakouin Temple – Tokyo, Japan

I joined my friend Adrian for a weekend visit to Takaosan in mid-November during Koyo (the changing of autumn leaves).  Not surprisingly it was quite busy, especially compared to the Southern Ontario hiking I was used to.  This is because weekends are the most popular time to visit Takaosan and seeing the autumn leaved draws thousands of visitors during the fall season.
Takao line up

People lining up to use the cable car on Mount Takao – Tokyo, Japan

The hike to the summit is a leisurely walk along paved and stone walking paths.  There is also a cable car that takes you up the mountain, however during the busy times the line ups can be quite long.  Near the summit lies Yakuoin temple where visitors come to pray.  It’s an attractive temple with lots of great photo opportunities and from the top you can get a great view of Tokyo as it stretches to the horizon.

View of Tokyo

View of Tokyo from the summit of Mount Takao – Tokyo, Japan

During the week mount Takao and its surrounding hiking trails aren’t very busy and most people summit Takao by either walking or taking the cable car.  To escape the crowds you can always hike past Takao by following the hiking trails to its neighbouring mountains.  And if you arrive during the busy time don’t be discouraged, it is Tokyo after all and crowds are just part of the Japanese experience.

Read more about Ian’s travels in Japan and around the world here.

Getting There:
The best way to get to Takaosan is using the Keio line from Shinjuku station to Takaosanguchi Station.  The ride should take 50 minutes and cost 370 yen (as of 2012) and departs from Shinjuku station every 20min.


About the Author

Travelling and teaching overseas Ian is living his dream. He has been to over 30 countries around the globe where his travels have taken him to places some only dream of exploring. Whether it’s teaching in Tokyo, mountaineering the Himalayas, surfing in Indonesia, or traveling the Trans-Siberian you can join him at where he shares his experiences, inspires, and teaches you how to start your own borderless travels.

4 Comments on " Escape of the week: Tokyo’s Mount Takao "

  1. Nico of A Travellers Journey December 12, 2012 at 8:42 am · Reply

    It must be great being able to escape to the countryside fro a busy capital city so easily.

    • Ian December 13, 2012 at 10:31 am · Reply

      It’s amazing! The public transportation in Tokyo, and Japan in general, makes everything so accessible. It truly is a developed country because everyone uses the trains to commute including the wealthiest people.

  2. Koren @ City Gal December 13, 2012 at 12:56 am · Reply

    Looks like a great place to visit. Unfortunately I had little time in Tokyo and didn’t make it out of the city (though I quite enjoy being packed into a subway car like sardines, it made me less homesick for New York!).

    • Ian December 13, 2012 at 10:28 am · Reply

      It’s a great place, although if you’re only visiting the city a short time there’s so much more to do!! I thought taking the train was awesome too although I come from a small city in Ontario 🙂

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