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 the cooler climes of Mount Takao (高尾山) in the far west of the city in Hachiōji.
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.
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.
Along the route, you’ll come across a couple of small shrines and a waterfall.
The enormous old cedar trees have some impressive roots.
The trail is 3.3km in total and well signposted.
On a clear day, you can apparently see Mount Fuji from the peak but no such luck for me.
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.