Mount Takao

Tokyo gets exceedingly hot and humid during the summer, so much so that it can be tempting to stay home in the comforting embrace of your air conditioning. On one such day in August I decided to escape the city for cooler climes of Mount Takao (高尾山) in the far west of the city in Hachiōji.

Auspicious Arrival

Standing 599 metres (1,965 ft) tall, you can reach the foot of the mountain within an hour of downtown Tokyo by taking the Keio line from Keio Shinjuku to Takaosanguchi Station.

Mt. Takao Shrine

While you could opt for the easy ride up on the funicular train there are eight hiking courses to choose from, none of which take more than about 1.5 hours and are not particularly strenuous. I decided to take Trail 6 which leads up a mountain valley along a stream and under the forest canopy the whole way.

Stone Lion

Along the route you’ll come across a couple of small shrines and a waterfall.

Roots

The enormous old cedar trees have some impressive roots.

Mt. Takao Hike

The trail is 3.3km in total and well signposted.

Onwards & Upwards

Introspection

Mt. Takao Peak

On a clear day you can apparently see Mount Fuji from the peak but no such luck for me.

Forest for the trees

Jurassic Hike

On the way down I took Trail 4 which takes you over a suspension bridge and through some particularly dense temperate zone trees – Jurassic Park eat your heart out!

Suspension Bridge

Lush Forest

Joshin Gate

Trail 4 eventually joins up with Trail 1 at the Joshin Gate, leading all the way back to the foot of the mountain. In total the hike takes about 3-4 hours and makes for a perfect day trip out of the city.

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