If you are in Tokyo and have already explored all Harajuku-Shibuya-Roppongi main spots, done all the Akihabara shopping, and climbed the Tokyo Tower, perhaps it is a time for you to get on the next level. Do you like outdoor walks? How about hiking? Are you a mountain spirit? Then you are welcome to Mount Takao. Just get a pair of comfortable tracking shoes, pack a lunch, charge phone/camera’s battery and you are ready to go!
Even more so in case you are a local resident. I have never met anyone living in Tokyo and not knowing about this marvelous place. I myself have been there already several times. And yet I could never form a certain image of this beautiful place.
I remember the first time I heard about Takao-san was in autumn. Everybody around me talked about momiji pretty much non-stop. I am a big fan of all the autumn colours and that magic atmosphere of mountains. So I could not resist joining the 8 am foreigners climbing all the way up to the top. My expectations were satisfied to the full, even though there was only one very red tree already occupied by someone else. Nevertheless, I was mesmerized by the spiritual atmosphere of the Takaosan Yakuōin Yūkiji, a Buddhist temple located right at the mountain.
My next visit was in summer. Hot humid August isn’t particular my favorite climbing season. But I was with good friends who kindly chose the hardest route. I did not regret though once I saw the breathtaking scenery.
I met the gorgeous Mister Octopus who got his name after the impressive shapes of the roots.
The bonus with the all-you-can-eat and drink in the beer garden revived my energy back. An introduction to the cable car was enjoyable too.
Few years later I found myself at Mt Takao again showing a friend around. It was the final accord of the cherry blossoms season. We took a lift and despite my panic fear of height, I absolutely enjoyed every moment, every piece of our incredible planet.
In addition, we fed local monkeys.
And the next visit was...again in autumn! Now I could understand what I was missing in the first time. The colours of leaves, the bluest skies, the musical carpet of autumn under my feet…
I took a different route and found myself at the heart of pure nature. Everything felt so meaningless there, time stopped. Nothing existed any more, except just the perfect moment of true beauty.
I still do not know how to describe Mt Takao. Always surprising. Always changing. Just like a book with pages opening slowly and allowing the reader to comprehend it better. Or is this the reader who slowly grows into a better observer?
From Shinjuku station take the JR Chuo Line (中央線), change to Keio Takao Line at Takao station, and get off at the Takaosanguchi Station(高尾山口).
Official website: http://www.takaotozan.co.jp/takaotozan_eng1/mntinfo/index.htm