Mt. Takao is one of the most famous and widely-enjoyed mountains in Japan. Located in the outer realms of Tokyo, Takao-san is well-known for its beautiful scenery as well as its many tourist attractions, including a shrine, beer garden, and monkey park. But you don't need to be a great athlete to enjoy everything the mountain has to offer. Those who decide to pass on the hike can still get up by way of the Mt. Takao Chair Lift.
The chair lift is a peaceful, fun and beautiful way to ascend the mountain. Resembling a ski lift, the Mt. Takao Chair Lift is about a 15-minute ride with your legs dangling. You glide above the wild cherry flowers, cedars and dogwood trees, providing a gorgeous view that changes depending on the season. Coming down the mountain provides some great panoramic views of Tokyo and Yokohama. The double-seat chairs hang high enough to make the ride thrilling, but not so high to be scary.
The chair lift runs from the base of the mountain up to the halfway point. Its top station is just a few minutes' walk from the top station of the cable car, as well as the Beer Mount, which is open as an all-you-can-eat and -drink beer garden during the warm months. It puts you within a manageable 5-minute walk to the Monkey Park, and 20-minute walk to the Yakuo-in Shrine.
The lift started operating in 1964, the year of the Tokyo Olympics. Since then, it's been renovated and changed from a one-seat chair to a two-seater.
One-way tickets for the chair lift cost 480 yen for adults (240 yen for children), while buying a round-trip ticket will earn you a slight discount, with adult tickets costing 930 yen (460 yen for children). Price discounts are available for large groups (special prices are available for groups of 25 or more people and groups of 100 or more people). Applications for group discounts (official Japanese site) can be submitted online, faxed in advance, or can be filled out on the day.
All chair lift tickets (including groups) are available on a first-come, first-served basis, meaning that a visit during peak seasons (cherry blossom season in the spring, colored leaves season in the autumn, and on New Year's) could mean a bit of a wait. No reservations are accepted, even for large groups. A recent visit on New Year's Day had about a 30-minute wait.
The lift runs from 9:00am to 4:30pm from May to November, and 9 to 4:00pm from December to April, but times are occasionally extended if there are large crowds queued up.