Just an hour from downtown Tokyo, Mount Takao is one of the most popular destinations for day-trippers and hikers. Also known as" "Takaosan" ", the mountain is a protected part of the Meiji no Mori Takao Quasi-National Park. It offers a beautiful landscape, an interesting temple and attractive hiking opportunities.The colorful foliage around the mountain and the national park make it a popular destination for the annual autumn foliage observation.
A network of hiking trails leads up the slopes of Takaosan. However, the majority of visitors use hiking trail no. 1, which is wide and mostly paved and passes all important sites on its way to the 599 meter high peak.
The Takaosan is considered a sacred mountain and many visitors pray for luck at the Yakuoin Temple, which is along the way. Statues of gods, one with a long nose and one with a crow's bill, can be found in the temple and elsewhere around the mountain.
Founded in 744, Yakuoin Temple is a Buddhist temple devoted to tengu. Tengu are bird-like mythical creatures said to be messengers of the gods, living on sacred mountains to protect it from evil. Two tengu statues stand guard at Yakuoin Temple, one with a long pointed nose and one with a crow’s beak. Visitors interested in shugendo or Buddhist practices are welcome to participate in asceticism, as well as try shojin ryori (Buddhist vegetarian cuisine) with advance reservation.Discover Yakuoin Temple
As per its name, the Natural Zoo hosts 60 monkeys in their natural mountain habitat. The playful Japanese Macaques perform tricks at shows throughout various times of the day. The botanical garden is also home to a massive collection of more than 300 different species of native plants. Both facilities are included within the same entrance ticket.
Located at the base of the mountain, visitors can learn more about Mt. Takao at the Takao 599 museum. The free-to-enter museum aims to educate visitors on Mt. Takao’s unique ecology and inhabitants. Contrary to its traditional surroundings, the interior of the Takao 599 Museum is chic and modern.Discover Takao 599 Museum
Next to the train station is Takaosan Onsen, a natural hot spring facility. With cypress baths, a sauna, outdoor rock baths and more - Takaosan Onsen is the perfect place to rest after a long day’s hike. Other than baths, the facility also offers massage services and has an in-house restaurant serving up local fare.Discover Takaosan Onsen
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