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Cool Japan Guide / One-day trip / Mt. Takao-san

(Mt. Takao-san)

Mt. Takao-san is 599 m high and located in western Tokyo. It is blessed with Nature's rich bounty and is designated as a national park.
About an hour from the center of Tokyo, it is a popular spot for mountain hiking.
The autumn leaves of November and the plum blossom season in February are particularly beautiful, attracting many people to the mountain.
There is a famous temple near the peak.

Traveling: Go to Takao-san-guchi Station on the Limited Express from Shinjuku Station on the Keio Line. It takes 45 minutes by Limited Express.
Fare: 370 yen
The Takao-san Waribiki Joshaken (Mt. Takao-san discount ticket), which includes a return train ticket and cable car or lift ticket, is sold at stations on the Keio Line.
Mt. Takao-san discount ticket: Return ticket from Shinjuku Station on the Keio Line is 1,480 yen on Saturdays and holidays, and 1,320 yen on weekdays.

Walk along the shopping street to the cable car station. There are six climbing courses up Mt. Takao-san, and No. 1 introduced here is the most popular. There are many rest points along the way so hiking in casual wear is fine. One way takes about 2 hours.

Using the cable car or lift: Go to Takao-san Station (472 m above sea level) from Kiyotaki Station (201 m above sea level) by cable car.
One way fare: 470 yen

(The cable car or lift)

This cable car railway started operations in 1927. The grade of the steepest section is about 31°, the steepest in Japan for a cable car.
You can also go up using a two-passenger lift.
It takes about 12 minutes from Sanroku Station to Yamagami Station. Riding on the lift brings you closer to nature and it is also a little thrilling. The fare is the same as that for the cable car.
One way fare: 470 yen

Traveling: A 5-minute walk. In summer, a beer garden with a wonderful view is open at the midway point.

Visiting Saru-en/Yaso-en (monkey park and wild grass garden)

(Monkey Park and Wild Grass Garden)

There are about 40 Japanese monkeys here, each known by name. You can learn about the structure of monkey society. You can also see 500 kinds of wild grass in the Yaso-en located on the same premises.
Sightseeing time: 40 minutes

(Monkey Park and Wild Grass Garden)

View the Japanese cedar that is a natural treasure

There is a huge Japanese cedar tree at the entrance to the Saru-en. Because its roots project out just like the legs of an octopus, it is called the tako-sugi (octopus cedar). This is a sacred tree revered as a deity and is mentioned in a legend associated with Tengu, a long-nosed goblin.
Tengu is a ghost said to reside in the mountains or forests and has attributes of both Buddhism and Shinto. ...

(The Japanese Cedar that is a natural treasure)

Traveling: Travel on foot. There is a 108-step stairway on the way.

Visiting the Takao-san Yakuo-in Yuki-ji Temple
(Takao-san Yakuo-in Yuki-ji Temple Shitennomon 四天王門)

On Mt. Takao-san, there is a Buddhist temple that is considered a symbol of this mountain.
There are ascetic devotees undergoing strict training in this temple. The temple is devoted to Tengu and a red and green tengu mask is prominently displayed.
Because of a teaching that says that none of the trees of the mountain, which is a god, should be cut down, the nature of Mt. Takao-san is protected.
If you make a reservation beforehand, you can experience the discipline of meditating under a waterfall.
On the 2nd Sunday of March, an event is held where devotees walk on hot coals with bare feet.

Eating Shojin-ryori

(Shojin-ryori Image enjoyable at Takao-san Yakuo-in)

If you make a reservation, you can sample shojin-ryori at the Yakuo-in Yuki-ji Temple. Why not try this vegetarian food that expresses the Buddhist interpretation of this world.
Shojin means ascetic training; therefore, shojin-ryori means partaking of a wonderful life in appreciation of nature. ...

Traveling: Walk along a paved path for about 20 minutes to the summit.

Summit of Mt. Takao-san

(Summit of Mt. Takao-san)

The summit is 599 m above sea level. Let's study the nature of Mt. Takao-san at the Visitor Center. There are shops serving beer or tea at the summit.

Traveling: It is possible to go down the mountain via a different route than the one by which you came up. You can take the cable car or lift to get back to your starting point. Return home from Takao-san-guchi Station on the Keio Line.

By TS on Aug 28, 2012
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Author:T. SATOH