Tokyo is one of the most wonderful places in the world. But after a few days of exploring the city you might be ready to find some open spaces and take a trip into the mountains. Just a short 45 minute train ride from Shinjuku Station is Mount Takao — a great day trip from Tokyo to escape from the madness of the city and return to nature.
To get to Mount Takao take the Keio Line from Shinjuku Station to Takaosanguchi Station. It will not take long for Tokyo to feel like it is a world away!
When you get to the beginning of the path you can either opt to walk the entire way up or take either a chair lift or cable car part way up. If you start the hike at the cable car, it will take you about an hour to reach the top, depending on how many stops you take. And there are a lot of places to stop.
After getting off the cable car you will find yourself very close to a monkey park! We stopped here just in time for a keeper to give a talk (in Japanese) and interact with the monkeys. As he was feeding one group of monkeys, a sly little guy or gal climbed up his back grabbed some treats from his pocket, and scampered off.
Besides the monkey park, there are spots to have a snack (even a beer garden) and many different shrines to stop at on the way up. When we visited it was the tail end of cherry blossom season, so there were cherry blossom petals falling and blowing all around us. It is was amazing to walk up the steps of a shrine and suddenly find ourselves in a small cherry blossom petal tornado.
Although you will find yourself walking up a lot of steps, the hike up Mt. Takao doesn’t have to be particularly grueling if you take your time. And you will want to take your time. The views are fantastic! On a clear day you should be able to see Mt. Fuji in the distance and from the top you can see Tokyo.
There are also many different routes that you can take during your hike, so make sure to grab a map and pick the route that best suites your schedule and the level of difficulty you want.
Mount Takao is a wonderful stop to get away from the crowds of Tokyo and it is close enough that you can still get back to the city at a decent time. One of the great things about this stop is that you will not run into many foreign tourists – it is a great place to sightsee that feels authentically Japanese.
Are you just starting to learn Japanese or want to expose your children to this amazing country? Check out the first volume of the ‘Let’s Go to Nihon!’ series on Amazon!