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Great Escapes Mt. Takao
(Entered Oct. 27, 2008)
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Tokyo may be one of the world's most exciting and entertaining cities, but after living there for years you start to realise the unpleasant fact the world's biggest city is also a noisy, crowded and dirty slab of concrete. So it's always a bit hard to believe, as well as a pleasant surprise, when you realise that Mt. Takao is within Tokyo prefecture's borders.
A shot taken at one of the scenic lookouts from the peak. Mt. Fuji is out there somewhere but obscured by haze.

takao view

The sacred Mt. Takao is one of the closest nature reserves to central Tokyo, only about 45 minutes away from the crowdedness of Shinjuku station. At only 600 metres, it's a pretty small mountain when you compare it to most other peaks in Japan, but it's closeness and natural beauty make it a good destination for a hiking day trip. This also means that it can get, you guessed it, fairly crowded on weekends. Go on a weekday for a more relaxed trip.
Leaves of a Japanese maple. Still green even though it's the end of October.

takao japanese maple

Why is Mt. Takao sacred? Legend has it that the mountain is inhabited by Tengu, which are man/goblin like creatures with either bird's beaks in place of mouths, or long noses (think pinnochio). I didn't see any real ones, but there are lots of small statues around.
Mt. Takao offers lots of good photo opportunities.

takao pine tree

Kumi and I went on a Wednesday (we took a day off for our wedding anniversary) and although there were relatively few people, it was still much more crowded than I expected.
I had a good time with the zoom function of my camera. This pigeon was taken from about 30 feet away with 22x zoom.

takao pigeon

And this young boy was staring at the pigeon like he wanted to eat it. About 50 feet away with a 40x zoom. Pretty good for digital zoom!

takao young boy

Kumi takes a break from hiking.

takao kumi resting

Takao has numerous, scenic and well cared for trails. Though enjoyable to walk on, they are strictly beginner trails only.

takao hiking trail

Some signs are more amusing than others. This sign was touting the partnership between mice and trees in a decidely silly way.

takao sign trees and mice

Most of the foliage was still very green, even on top of the mountain where it was noticably cooler. However there were a few obliging trees.

takao changing leaves red

To get there, take the Keio line from Shinjuku to Takaosanguchi station, the last stop, which is about 5 minutes from the hiking trails. Less energetic people can also take either a cable car or a chair lift to the top for a fairly low price. If you're lucky and the sky is clear, you'll also be able to see Mt. Fuji from the top of Mt. Takao as well as other surrounding mountains.
Enjoy the scenery and fresh air!



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