The Mount Takao Hike

What do you do when your head is ready to explode?

Why, you go to the mountains, of course! Or anywhere quiet really. The lake, the woods…snuggle with a book on a rainy day. But we were headed for the hills, aka Mount Takao, on this particular day and that suited me fine.

Like I said before, Mount Takao is a very popular spot, which I’ve managed to avoid all these years. I mean, if a mountain offers a beer garden at the top, you know it’s going to be packed with people. I don’t even know if a mountain with a railway is even a real mountain (it is, I checked…but still).

But that being said, it’s a very convenient mountain from the city, especially Shinjuku. Just one train ride on the Keio Line and you’re there at the foot of the mountain within an hour, and only 390 yen! And because Mount Takao only stands at 599 meters, it’s a very easy hike for people of all ages. Not to mention the lift and railway that easily takes you straight to the top.

So for some, it’s worth the crowd.

My best friend and I went on a week day, and the crowd of people getting off at the station mostly headed towards the railway, so we nearly had the trail all to ourselves! My first time there and it was exactly what I needed to relax both mind and soul.

I admit, there’s a lot of concrete on this mountain. But the cool mountain air and warm sunny rays felt wonderful. The hike wasn’t difficult at all. I just enjoyed being surrounded by nature and seeing the views as we got closer to the peak.

We took Trail 1 and Trail 3, so by the time we reached the peak I were starving. Good thing for us, we packed a lunch! But I was so hungry I forgot to take a picture. Oh well. You’ll just have to believe me when I say it was delicious, especially with that mountain air. I did remember to take a picture of our tumbler, that held hot water for coffee, and mikan. Yum!

The peak was getting quite crowded when we finished eating. And even though the kindergarten kids were adorable, we decided to escape into the quietness of the mountain.

We made our way down the mountain on Trail 6, which was a bit more wet than our hike up, due to the water running along (and sometimes on) the path. There are certain places you can stop and sit, to look out across the mountain or just to chat. We were definitely slower hiking back down but then again it’s not every day you get to discuss life with your best friend on a mountain, so you can bet we took full advantage of that. It was great 🙂

So my advice? Go on a week day and you may have the hiking trails all to yourself! x

Here are some photos:

At Shinjuku Station, ready to get away from the crowds of people.
Mount Takao is part of the Meiji no Mori Takao Quasi-National Park.
My love of moss is eternal.

Nature’s gradations are the best.
There were several different bridges along the trail.

Breathing in the greenery.
So many lush views, like this.
Aren’t the shades of blue gorgeous?

Our lunch break at the peak!

All the while, this huge spider was sitting right above us…eek!
These kids were just too cute!
Our path down from the peak began like this.
It was pretty wet in some places.
Shades of fall beginning to appear!

Taking in the mountain air by the a river.
Have you ever hiked Mount Takao?

The Takao 599 Museum

Last month, I was lucky to get a day off of work on a beautifully sunny day.
So my best friend and I decided to head for the mountains. Or THE mountain, in this case. What I mean by that is, we were headed for probably the most popular mountain in Tokyo…Mount Takao!
I heard there are crowds of people climbing it on the weekends, so we went on a weekday. It’s close (only an hour by train from Shinjuku), it’s convenient (you can hike or take the rail/lift), and it has multiple trails to choose from so I can understand its popularity. 
It also offers a beautiful museum at the foot of the mountain, Takao 599 Museum.
The museum just opened this summer. The displays are full of beautiful creatures and plants that you can find on Mount Takao. I also learned fun facts, such as Mount Takao is one of the top three insect habitats in Japan. So it’s a treasure trove of critters (which we soon found was true).
There’s also a nature wall which exhibit taxidermy animals and birds. I was surprised to learn that there were so many animals living in Mount Takao. We were also lucky and got to see the projection mapping on the nature wall. It was very cleverly made, you’ll definitely want to see how all the animals play into it 🙂
Personally, I was drawn to the insect display. Growing up next to the woods, I used to be fascinated by the lives of various critters. They really are beautiful, the more closely you look.
One of the great things about this museum is that it has a lawn. That’s right, grass humans can actually enjoy (if you live in Tokyo, you’ll know it’s a rare thing)! We stopped by to just sit and stretch for a bit after our hike back down the mountain. It felt amazing. There’s also a cafe inside the museum, which sounds perfect for the chilly days.
All in all, I think this is a great place to stop by for anyone visiting Mount Takao, especially if it’s your first time!
Here are some photos:
It’s only 390 yen from Shinjuku on the Keio Line.
The new Takao Yamaguchi station, designed by Kengo Kuma.

Love the high ceiling and natural light.
So many animals living on the mountain…even a monkey!
The projection mapping was really beautiful (you can’t really tell from these photos).

Nuts galore.
The cafe and the free-use sitting area.

Next up, photos from Mount Takao 🙂

3-2435 Takao-machi Hachioji-shi, Tokyo JAPAN
TEL: 042 665 6688
HOURS: April to November 8:00am-5:00pm
               December to March 8:00am-4:00pm