Japan’s sacred symbol, Mount Fuji, might be the most popular mountain in the country, but its no-less significant sister, Mount Takao, proves to be an absolute favourite among many as well. Standing at just 599 metres tall with well-maintained trails that suit hikers of every level, it is easy to understand why. Besides, this well-loved mountain is easily accessible, sitting about less than an hour’s train ride from Shinjuku, Tokyo.
There are plenty of things worth exploring when you are at the mountain, aside from the rich flora and fauna. In fact, there is a cable car or funicular railway service that brings you to Yakuo-in Temple located halfway up the mountain. This temple has been around for more than 1,000 years where worshippers come to pray to Shinto-Buddhist mountain-gods. And while you’re here, grab the opportunity to try the restorative and delicious Buddhist vegetarian cuisine (shojin-ryori) for lunch. However, prior reservation is required.
Speaking of food, Mount Takao is also popular for its signature dish: tororo soba, which is a soba noodle soup dish topped with grated yam. You can find plenty of eateries selling this dish along the paths, and vegetarian options are also available for the convenience of vegetarian and Muslim travellers.
Then, upon returning to the foot of the mountain, why not spend an hour or so in the hot spring facility near the Keio Line Takaosanguchi Station? Soak in one of its seven types of baths as the warm water relaxes your sore muscles after a day of exploration. After all, no trip to Japan is complete without experiencing a true Japanese onsen, right?
Some people treat Mount Takao as a day-trip destination, but we would like to think otherwise. As a matter of fact, travellers should spend the night in the area and get completely immersed in its calming environment. As such, we strongly recommend for travellers to stay at TAKAONE Hotel, a five-storey property by Keio Corporation designed by Kei Kaihoh Architects with fuss-free, minimalist interiors and a soothing colour palette that reflect its refreshing surroundings. The hotel feels homely and perfect for all types of travellers, from solo to big groups.
At night, why not have a fun bonfire under the starry sky with your loved ones for free* at the hotel’s outdoor terrace complete with fire pits? You can even channel your inner Thor (or Captain America chopping wood with Iron Man at Hawkeye’s home) by testing your strength when cutting your own firewood. For the full campfire experience, guests may also order ingredients – perhaps a s’more set (yummy!) – from the hotel for a cook-out over the fire. Private terrace rooms are also available should you wish for a private fire pit.
The café on the hotel’s first floor serves delicious delights made from locally sourced ingredients, so be sure to spare some time to grab a meal here for breakfast, lunch, or dinner. Other convenient facilities available on site include showers and shoe rental services, which non-hotel guests can also utilise at a fee.
In short, Mount Takao is an ideal destination where travellers get to recharge and rejuvenate amidst nature, without having to travel far from the centre of Tokyo. So, when you’re heading to Tokyo next time, remember to include Mount Takao in your itinerary!
*The free usage of the fire pit is for one time per stay only.
Access: To reach the hotel or Mount Takao, travellers can board the Keio Line Special Express from Shinjuku to Takaosanguchi Station. The hotel is only a minute’s walk from the station.
Hotel’s official website: https://takaone.jp/hotel/ (Japanese language with built-in Google translate).