All About Japan

A Grumpy Tour of Mount Takao

Mountains Autumn Colors Mount Takao Great Outdoors Tokyo Greater Tokyo

Want a vaguely grumpy, slightly snide tour of a beautiful location? Ben Lindsey of Dochi Hoko offers a delightfully cantankerous tour of Takao-san, or Mount Takao, one of the closest nature reserves to central Tokyo. Accessible via the Keio Line in less than an hour from Shinjuku, you have the choice of a chair lift or a cable car from Takaosanguchi Station to get you halfway up to the 599-meter (1965-ft) summit. As Lindsey observes, the chair lift is rather precipitous and has no bar to hang onto, so if you're afraid of heights, you might want to spend 45 minutes hiking up instead.

From the top of the lift it's another 45 minutes to the peak, passing a monkey park and Takao-san Takuo-in Yuki-ji Temple on the way. More commonly known as Takuo-in, this temple was established in the year 744 as a base for Buddhism in eastern Japan. Lindsey also points out the various statues of the mountain's iconic Kotengu and Daitengu, said to be harbingers of war and wisdom, respectively.

Be sure to stick around for the outtake-style return journey, where we discover Lindsey's been accompanied the whole time by Sharla from Sharla in Japan.