I’ve always wanted to hike up a mountain. It’s been on my bucket list for as long as I can remember. So, as you can imagine, I was thrilled when I discovered that Mount Takao was only a short train ride away from Tokyo.
Due to our aching legs from city exploration, we had pushed back the trip later than planned. By the time we arrived at Takaosanguchi Station, we had lost the blue skies and were met with cloud.
Retrospectively, I’m pretty relieved that we sacrificed a clear view for a cooler ascent – I think I would have struggled if it had been a humid day! There is the option to take a cablecar or chair lift part way up the mountain, but we opted to walk so we could proudly say we had hiked the whole thing.
There were dozens of shops and shrines up the mountain. Halfway up I bought and tried dango for the first time. It was… interesting; definitely a unique texture!
I’m ashamed to say that most Japanese families we passed, even older hikers, overtook us. It took us just over two hours to reach the summit in the end (599 metres high), which included food and toilet stops. Unfortunately, the amazing view we had been looking forward to was non-existent, as the fog was so thick we couldn’t see a single thing over the rail. It still felt pretty good to reach the top though!
One thing I hadn’t been expecting – there were vending machines and shops dotted up the mountain, as well as a monkey park, temple and other curious places. There were even vending machines right at the summit!
We decided to take a different route down the mountain, and finally decided on the Inariyama trail. It ended up being quite rough terrain, and we witnessed our fair share of slips as we descended! Unlike Trail 1, the fog really lingered on the path and between the trees. We only passed about a dozen hikers on the whole trail, and it felt very different from our experience on the way up (we felt more like real adventurers).
Hiking Takaosan was easily my favourite day of the trip. I love hiking, and it was incredible to have the opportunity to do something like that so close to Tokyo! Next stop: Mt. Fuji?
Look out for my next Tokyo post: Views of Tokyo: Tokyo Tower
Until next time, happy adventuring!