Tokyo’s Mountain Neighbor Exploring Mount Takao

Mount Takao is one of Tokyo’s closest natural landmarks. It is a mountain covered with over a thousand unique plant and animal species and dozens of hiking trails leading up the mountain slope.

Many people love to explore this mountain because of how close it is to Tokyo. Hiking is typically the most common way to ascend the mountain. However, the ninety-minute hike up the nearly 2000 foot mountain can be intimidating to some people.

 Mount Fuji View From Top of Mount Takao

If hiking is not an option, there are also transportation options that can get you to the top of the mountain without breaking a sweat. There are also several activities to partake in while on the mountain, like the Takao-san Monkey Park.

Mount Takao Location Via Google Maps

Mount Takao

Mount Takao, also known as Takaosan, is a recreational mountain near Tokyo that many people appreciate because of its proximity to Tokyo. Although it is not a tall mountain, it sits between two drastically different climate zones.

Since the beautiful Mount Takao sits between warm and cold temperature zone boundaries, diverse vegetation covers the mountain. It is not just vegetation. Over 1200 species of animals, plants, and unique wildlife live on this mountain.

Mount Takao is a popular tourist destination because of the diverse species, great views, and surreal experience.

Mount Takao Skyline View Of Tokyo

Visiting Mount Takao 

There are many things to do on Mount Takao. Most people base their activities on the mountain on their time limitations, desired experience, and budget.

The most common visitors location is the Yakuo-in Temple. This temple was established over 1000 years ago, which makes it one of the most incredible temples to visit in the Tokyo area.

Mount Takao is easily accessible with your Japan Rail Pass. Take the JR Chuo Line to Takao Station from Shinjuku Station in Tokyo. One-way travel time is only 40 to 50 minutes.

Yakuo-in, the Buddhist temple, is located on Trail 1, the `Omotesando Trail,` of Mount Takao

Takao Monkey Park

The Takao-San Monkey Park is one of the most frequented places on Mount Takao. The monkeys at this park have a strong reputation for being friendly and relaxed. Patrons can feed the monkeys and learn about the highly intelligent species. 

Takao Monkey Park Official Site (Google Translate Needed)

The park is open to the public, with no fee for admission. However, feeding monkeys will incur a small fee.

It takes less than five minutes to walk from the cable car to the Takao Monkey park. In addition to the friendly monkeys, the park has a wild plant garden. People may look at the wild plant garden to see some of the many non-native plant species.

Cables Seats Take Visitors to the top of Mount Takao

Keio Takaosan Onsen Gokurakuyu

Located in the foothills of Mount Takao, Keio Takaosan Onsen Gokurakuyu is a natural hot spring and resort. The traditional spa offers many spa treatments, including soothing baths, massages, and saunas.

This spa is a great place for Tokyo residents to take a break from the city and relax year-round at an affordable rate.

Natural Hot Spring Onsen

In addition to their fantastic spa services, the natural hot spring offers patrons fine dining open until 9 PM. Food is served in private tatami rooms so that you may enjoy private dining at the end of a relaxing day. 

Gokurakuyu Onsen Official Website

On weekdays, a visit to the spa costs 1000 yen for adults and 1200 on the weekends. Children between ages 4 to 12 may enter for half the cost, and children under four may enter for free. People with tattoos are restricted from entering any spa facilities.

Tama Forest Science Garden

The Tama Forest Science Garden is a botanical garden at the base of Mount Takao. Currently, the research institution uses the property to study natural wildlife and vegetation. Visiting this unique park through a guided tour is an excellent opportunity if you get the chance. 

People may enter the park for a scheduled tour with park management upon arrival. Tours are not always available.

Mount Takao Wildlife Area

It costs 300 yen per adult and 50 yen per child to enter the park. In April, when the Sakura trees are in bloom, the price increases by 100 yen. Adults pay 400 yen, and children pay 150 yen each. Infant and people with disabilities may enter the park for free.

Tama Forest Science Garden Official Website

Takao 599 Museum 

Takao 599 Museum is one of Japan’s most diverse museums. As a border between two different climates, Mount Takao has some of the most diverse animal and plant populations on the planet.

Enjoy a look at the Takao 599 Museum to gain a better understanding of Mount Takao. Takao 599 Museum displays thousands of mounted specimens, including insects, animals, plants, and much more. This museum is a representation of the dense flora and fauna of this region of Japan.

Takao 599 Museum Official Website

There are many participatory or interactive activities throughout the museum. For instance, the museum’s signature splashing pond is more than just an art piece. The splash pond is a wonderful place for children to enjoy playing outside.

Inside the museum, there are also two miniature versions of Mountain Takao called play mountain. These come in small and large sizes, great for children of all ages to enjoy.

Takao 599 Museum is open to the public year-round. The price of admission for the Takao 599 Museum is free for adults and children. There are cafes and souvenir shops inside the museum. Many additional exhibits and special events will also charge fees for entry.

Yakuo-in Temple 

Yakuo-in Temple is a popular temple along the trail of Mount Takao that Emperor Shomu constructed in 744, followed by a restoration in the 1400s. The temple has many statues, shrines, and impressive architecture.

Yakuo-in Temple

The Yakuoin temple has a spiritual connection to both Shinto and Buddhist practices. The people of Japan have visited this temple for over 1000 years to worship the Shinto-Buddhist mountain gods. Both believe the mountain temple is a dedication to Tengu, the messenger of the Gods.

Many of the statues at the temple are direct representations of the messenger, Tengu. Many statues may also have motifs representing Tengu.

Traveling up Mount Takao

The most common way to travel up Mount Takao is by hiking. Hiking is a first-hand way to take in the scenery. 

It takes an average of ninety minutes to hike Mount Takao, but there are plenty of alternative methods that can transport you to the top in less than half that time. 

Hiking can be problematic for some people because of the weather. Despite raincoats and other gear, people will prefer not to walk in the rain. Fortunately, no matter what type of weather, there is always a way to visit Mount Takao.

Kiyotaki Station cable car runs from Kiyotaki Station to Takaosan Station, climbing 889 feet over a journey of about 6 minutes.

Hiking 

Hiking is a great way to see the natural environment of Mount Takao. You can take in the beautiful sights, enjoy the outdoors, and have great conversation as you hike up the mountain. Hiking is also a great way to get in your daily exercise.

The most common trail that people hike is called Trail 1. It is a paved trail with many landmarks that takes roughly ninety minutes to travel from the mountain base. Other trails are unpaved, less frequented, and can take significantly longer than Trail 1. 

Hiking Mount Takao Video (45 MInutes)

Visitors To Mount Takao

For people with limited mobility, hiking is not a plausible option. There are plenty of other options that can accommodate people with disabilities or persons who do not intend on extensive exercise or that might need assistance in reaching the upper area.

Chair Lift

Visitors who want to take a quick trip to see the view from the top of the mountain will enjoy taking a chair lift to the top of the mountain. Chair lifts are outdoor, free-hanging chair rides that help you ascend or descend the mountain. 

The chair lifts are similar to ski lifts in appearance, which means that they also give you the experience of climbing without the long trek.

While ascending the mountain on these lifts, you may take photos, observe the scenery, and even huddle close with loved ones under the comfort of a secure safety belt. 

Chair Lift Mount Takao

It costs only 490 yen one way and 950 yen for a round-trip ticket. The price is half off for children. The queue time to travel in the chair lift can be long on holidays, weekends, and days with good weather.

When lines get long, the chair lift operators are more than happy to accommodate their guests with extended hours.

Cable Car

The cable car is a great way to travel up Mount Takao. Traveling in a cable car is safe, fast, and affordable. The downfall to traveling in these cable cars is how crowded they can potentially become.

If you are unlucky or are traveling in a large group, you may not get a spot sitting in the cable car and will need to stand for the full ascent. 

Mount Takao Cable Car Route

Cable cars are open year-round, with no weather restrictions. One restriction regarding cable cars is proper pet traveling. No pets may travel without an approved carrier. If you do not have an approved carrier, they will provide you with one. 

Mount Takao And Nearby Attraction Via Tripadvisor

The price of one-way travel in the Mount Takao cable car is 490 Yen one-way and 950 Yen round-trip. Children under 12 will receive a half-off discount.

The cable car departs every 15 minutes, and since the wait can get long, it is recommended that you buy your ticket in advance.

Festival Or Masuri At Mount Takao

MT Lee
My fascination with Japan began several years back at a roadside bonsai stand while on vacation. I became more interested in the where and why's more than the trees themselves. My love of Bonsai led me to further research my interest in the gardens where they originated from and the places and people that surrounded those little trees. My curiosity was well rewarded upon visiting Saitama where the National Bonsai Museum was located and Omiya Village the bonsai mecca for lovers of this ancient art form. Exploring many towns and villages and even making my way to Japan's furthest southern prefecture of Okinawa. I hope to share my love of this wonderful and exotic place with all those who want to know more about Japan.