Translated by Allie
Mt. Takao, Tokyo - Guide To The Most Visited Mountain In The World!
Written by Hiromasa Uematsu
Mt. Takao is the most visited mountain in the world, with around 2.6 million visitors every year. This article features recommended hiking trails on Mt. Takao for all physical levels, how to get to the mountain from central Tokyo, and what to expect at this nature-filled destination.
Guide to Mt. Takao, Tokyo - Hiking, Access, and More
Around 2.6 million people visit Mt. Takao in Tokyo every year, making it one of the most visited mountains in the world. Known as Takaosan in Japanese, this mountain stands 599 meters, or 1,865 feet, and is located around 50 minutes via train from Shinjuku Station.
How to Get to Mt. Takao
Mt. Takao is one of the closest nature spots to Tokyo and is easily accessible via public transportation. The most recommended route to this famous mountain is to take the train from Keio Shinjuku Station to Takaosanguchi Station. Be sure to take the express train that heads for Takaosanguchi.
The total ride takes around 50 minutes via express train and costs 390 yen one-way.
Types of Hiking Trails on Mt. Takao
There are several routes to climb up Mt. Takao. The degree of difficulty, the estimated time, and length are all different for each trail, but one can choose hikes based on their preference and ability.
The most popular is Trail 1, which is a paved trail. This trail takes you all the way up to the top on foot, the slope gradient is gentle and the path is covered with asphalt, great even for those not used to hiking. The trail connects to several other trails mid-way through, so you can add on to your hike. It takes around three hours or more for the round-trip, so plan to spend a half-day at Takao even for this low-impact option.
For those looking for more of a challenge, Trail 6 and the Inariyama Trail are more difficult than Trail 1 and recommended for experienced hikers or people with a high fitness level.
Those preferring to take in the views but walk less, there is a chair lift and a cable car visitors can take to the middle of the mountain. The Takao Tozan Railway station, which has both the chair lift and the cable car boarding platforms, is right next to Takaosanguchi Station.
The trail introduced in this article is Trail 6. The entrance to this trail is within Inariyama Trail (shown above).
Similar to Inariyama Trail, Trail 6 also leads you deep inside the mountain, alongside a river. The distance to the entrance of this trail takes longer to get to, allowing you to enjoy the beautiful nature of Takao along the way.
These old, moss-covered statues of deities (above) will watch you protectively as you set off on your way.
The Highlights of Mt. Takao's Trail 6
You will find a small river along the path as soon as you enter Trail 6. It can get slippery, so make sure you are wearing proper hiking shoes, and please watch your step.
Pressing onward, you will find a small cave called Iwayadaishi. There is a small buddha enshrined here.
Another highlight of Trail 6 is Biwa Waterfall. If you are lucky, you may see people underneath the waterfall in a ritual called takigyo, a practice by which one's mind and body are considered to be cleansed by concentrating under the fall's spray.
Being surrounded by trees, you will be able to forget about the hustle and bustle of the city. In the summer, it can get warm by the stream, but the constant gentle breeze makes the journey comfortable.
The smell of moss and soil floats through the air on the trail.
The path is pretty narrow and you will likely run into other hikers. Saying "Hello" and "Thank you" to fellow climbers is one of the pleasures of hiking, isn't it?
Tips for Mt. Takao Hiking
Pictured above is one tricky spot you have to watch out for when hiking on Trail 6. A small wooden bridge spans over the stream (the one that has run alongside the path since the start), and there is a tendency to turn left here and cross it. However, that is the wrong way.
As shown in the photo above, Trail 6 continues straight ahead, where the path has merged somewhat with the stream.
The water level of the stream is not high enough to soak your shoes. However, this area is more slippery than before, so stay alert and proceed carefully.
The last hurdle is a flight of stairs. Just a little bit more, so hang in there!
Looking up, you will be greeted by the clear blue sky among tree leaves. The refreshing scenery will take away all the tiredness of your journey.
This is the summit of Mt. Takao. Shops and restaurants selling Mt. Takao specialties such as dango and soba are available. What a great way to get refreshed after the climb!
The picture above is from the top, where you can see the sun shining down on mountains cloaked in mist. Mt. Fuji can be seen from here as well, depending on the weather conditions. The hikers around me were also drinking in the mysterious landscape.
Pictures only convey so much, so we invite you to put Mt. Takao on your list of sights to experience in Japan next time.