Climbing Takao

May 5th, 2008

You can always climb Mt. Fuji (I have three times, but probably won’t again), but in Tokyo, the most popular mountain to climb is Mt. Takao, on the western outskirts of Tokyo prefecture, just beyond Hachioji. Takao-san-guchi Station is the last stop on the Keio Line, and drops you off not far from the cable car and chair lifts which can take you half way up the mountain.

However, if you are expecting a nature hike, understand that the exposure to nature is a bit limited by the fact that you are crowded by the thousands of other climbers on the trails. Mt. Takao is almost more of a tourist exhibit than it is a mountain hike–at least on the main trail, which nearly everyone takes. Sachi and I didn’t know about the other trails when we arrived, otherwise we probably would have tried one. The main trail was jam packed, mostly because it’s Golden Week, I presume.



Fuji is the same way–the crowding slows the hike down to a crawl sometimes. For Takao, I’d suggest trying the other trails. They lack the tourist shops and the other attractions, but it’s a lot less crowded and a lot more like nature hiking.

On the main trail, we noticed quite a few people bringing their dogs. Sachi loves Shiba Inus, so whenever we see one it’s time to stop and make friends.




That last one has a larger version when clicked. They are beautiful dogs; we’re getting one as soon as we find a place where we can have one–our current place doesn’t allow pets.

The walk up the mountain does have some spectacular views, which these photos don’t do justice to.


If the weather is clear enough, you can see Shinjuku (below) or Yokohama on the horizon.


Here’s a stitched-together panorama, with a larger version (2200 pixels wide) when clicked:


Sachi and I walked up the whole way, as (1) taking the tram up is cheating, and (2) there was an hour-long wait. Just past the top of the tram lines is a nature garden, which, most importantly, features monkeys. There are signs all along the pathway suggesting that wild monkeys can be observed, but either it’s a fake-out to get you to look, or they must not like the crowds. But pay 400 yen and you can get to see a whole bunch in a zoo-like setting.



They are fascinating creatures, even these Macaques, for their resemblances to humans in some ways–close enough but still alien enough to be engrossing. Here’s one picking at stuff on the back of its hand, allowing us to see it’s palm; note on the close-up the ridges and valleys of palm- and fingerprints.



Also in the garden were a lot of flowers, trees, and other plants; this one below (larger version on click) I thought exotic and beautiful, a stunning feature of the garden–until I noticed a whole bunch of them in front of our apartment building this morning, I had just never noticed them.


This blossom is a lot less attractive; Sachi noted it’s resemblance to a certain body part, which I will not repeat here.


Enough for tonight. I’ll finish up with the other photos tomorrow.

Categories: Focus on Japan Miscellaneous, Nature Tags: by
  1. ykw
    May 6th, 2008 at 02:21 | #1

    Are Sachi and you moving? I thought you were very happy where you are. Where do you want to move?

  2. ben
    May 6th, 2008 at 07:48 | #2

    Nice panorama :)

    I have climbed Mt. Takao once, too. And as far as I remember (back in 2006) it wasn’t as crowded as it is shown on your pictures. Not at all, actually. Depends on the season, though.

    But anyway, a nice place to flee from the megalopolis from time to time. And I would recommend everybody to go up by foot. The cable car doesn’t make sense at all.

  3. May 6th, 2008 at 09:11 | #3

    You went to Takao during Golden Week? Masochist! 😉

  4. Luis
    May 6th, 2008 at 11:42 | #4

    Ykw: We are planning to move only insofar as we plan to get a house one day. Our current apartment is a placeholder until then.

    Ben: absolutely this depends on the time; we went during Golden Week. I’m sure that if you go on a non-holiday weekday, it will be only a fraction as crowded. However, that doesn’t stop it from being a touristy kind of place. I wasn’t expecting so many shops and attractions on the way up.

    Sako: Yeah, I know. We don’t always think these things through. However, we fall prey to the same problem most in Japan suffer from: everyone’s holidays happen at exactly the same time. Not much we can do to avoid it. My days off from work are much more numerous than Sachi’s–I get three months per year, and sometimes get a short workweek–but Sachi is slave to her company’s schedule, at least until later this year.

  5. Stuart
    May 7th, 2008 at 04:05 | #5

    The other trails on Takaosan have much fewer people. I took one of the side trails that the sign said was longer and more difficult and I only saw one other person the whole time. (That was also in September though).

  6. Kenzo
    May 10th, 2008 at 19:54 | #6

    Get a nice, new house, Mr.Poza!

  7. Troy
    May 6th, 2013 at 11:18 | #7

    At the former workplace I had Tues & Wed off so it was great doing Takao on my weekend.

    If & when I get back to Japan that hike is on the list, provided I’m in Tokyo for more than a week I suppose.

    Japan has so much nature but Takao was about all I was able to get to. Love to live down towards Izu and explore all that.

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