Mt. Takao & the Tengu

A Sacred Mountain in Western Tokyo

Donny Kimball

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A statue of a Tengu at Yakuo-in on Tokyo’s sacred Mt. Takao

Quick! Name the first thing that comes to mind when you hear the word Tokyo. If, like most people, you didn’t immediately think of hiking or mountains, well then I have a bit of a surprise for you. You see, within the prefectural bounds of Tokyo, there actually lies an extremely wide variety of diverse locations. Of course included in this smorgasbord of attractions is everyone’s favorite megalopolis. But, the prefecture is also home to many natural wonders in addition to the big city.

On that note, today we’ll be taking a look at Mt. Takao which arguably Tokyo’s best and most famous outdoor retreat. The mountain is located only 50 minutes outside of the city’s center and has long been an important spiritual enclave. Given its proximity, hiking up Mt. Takao is a popular weekend pastime for many Tokyoites. Furthermore, like with many other locations all throughout Tokyo as of late, Mt. Takao is completely covered by Tokyo’s free Wi-Fi service (more on this later).

Though not exactly an “easy” hike per say, the 599 meter high Mt. Takao is suitable for all fitness levels. Indeed on any given weekend, you’re bound to encounter a number of grannies attempting the climb. Still, for those who rather not work up a sweat, Mt. Takao has a number of other ways to reach the summit including an amazing chairlift ride. If you’re in the mood for something “outdoorsy” then I cannot more highly recommend a visit.

How to Get There

A train line that leads to sacred Mt. Takao in western Tokyo

Mt. Takao is located on the western side of Tokyo Prefecture in the city of Hachioji. As hinted at before, the mountain can be easily reached in under an hour from Shinjuku Station. To get there, you’re going to want to make your way to Takaosanguchi Station via the Keio Line. You can either catch an express train directly from Shinjuku or take the JR Chuo Line out and make a transfer for the final leg.

As always, the optimal route depends entirely on your points of connection. Refer to our friend Jorudan or a similar service to figure out the best course for you. Those with JR rail passes might consider opting for…

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Donny Kimball

I'm a travel writer and freelance digital marketer who blogs about the sides of Japan that you can't find in the mainstream media. https://donnykimball.com/