Editor’s Note: This is a guest post from Ian at BorderlessTravel.com
Escaping the city for lush green forests, temples, and hiking is surprisingly easy for people living or visiting Tokyo. Located on the outskirts of Tokyo’s bustling metropolis sits mount Takao, a natural recreation area providing an excellent escape for nature lovers.
Sushi, shopping and sightseeing are what most people think about when Tokyo comes to mind. With trains packed like sardine cans ready to explode or the infamous Shibuya crossing, arguably the busiest intersection in the world, it’s a wonder that there’s any nature at all. Yet, less than an hour from downtown Tokyo the urban sprawl turns into beautiful hiking trails.
The hike to the summit is a leisurely walk along paved and stone walking paths. There is also a cable car that takes you up the mountain, however during the busy times the line ups can be quite long. Near the summit lies Yakuoin temple where visitors come to pray. It’s an attractive temple with lots of great photo opportunities and from the top you can get a great view of Tokyo as it stretches to the horizon.
During the week mount Takao and its surrounding hiking trails aren’t very busy and most people summit Takao by either walking or taking the cable car. To escape the crowds you can always hike past Takao by following the hiking trails to its neighbouring mountains. And if you arrive during the busy time don’t be discouraged, it is Tokyo after all and crowds are just part of the Japanese experience.
Read more about Ian’s travels in Japan and around the world here.
The best way to get to Takaosan is using the Keio line from Shinjuku station to Takaosanguchi Station. The ride should take 50 minutes and cost 370 yen (as of 2012) and departs from Shinjuku station every 20min.