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.
Shinjuku -- <Keio Line Limited Express47 mins.> -- Takaosanguchi -- <5 mins. by walk> -- Kiyotaki -- Cable car -- [Mt. Takao-san] -- by walk (hiking) -- [Saru-en][ Yaso-en (monkey park and wild grass garden] -- [Tako-sugi (octopus cider)] -- [Yakuo-in Shrine] -- [Summit of Mt. Takao-san] -- <by walk> -- Takaosanguchi -- <Keio Line Limited Express47 mins.> -- Shinjuku
*The times required with public transportation are approximate.
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.
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.
Saru-en/Yaso-en (monkey park and wild grass garden)
There are about 60 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.
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.
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.
Tengu is a ghost said to reside in the mountains or forests and has attributes of both Buddhism and Shinto. It usually has a red face and abnormally long nose, and is described as having supernatural powers. It is said that the Tengu wears takageta (high wooden clogs) and is able to fly like a bird.
On the 2nd Sunday of March, an event is held where devotees walk on hot coals with bare feet.
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.