Mt. Takao In the Fall

Nestled just on the outskirts of Tokyo, Mt. Takao beckons with its serene trails, breathtaking views of Mt. Fuji, and unique cultural touches. Whether you opt for a leisurely stroll or a more challenging hike, Mt. Takao offers a diverse range of experiences. This guide will delve deeper into the various hiking trails and share insights on the cost of parking and train travel, ensuring you make the most of your visit.

Getting There: Car Parking and Train Travel

Car Parking

Parking at Mt. Takao is a convenient option for those who prefer the flexibility of their vehicles. The parking cost varies, generally around 400 to 1,000 yen depending on the duration of your visit. It’s advisable to arrive early, especially on weekends or during peak seasons, to secure a spot.

Train Travel

For an eco-friendly and scenic alternative, taking the train from Tokyo to Mt. Takao is a popular choice. The Keio Line from Shinjuku Station gets you there in about an hour. A one-way ticket costs around 390 yen. The train journey itself is a visual feast, offering glimpses of Tokyo’s urban sprawl transforming into the lush landscapes leading up to Mt. Takao.

Cost-Effective Tips

  •  If you’re taking the train, consider purchasing a round-trip ticket for added convenience.
  • For budget-conscious travelers, packing a picnic lunch is a great way to enjoy a meal amidst nature without additional costs.
  • Bring a reusable water bottle to refill at the mountain huts, reducing the need for single-use plastic.

Hiking Trails for Every Explorer

Trail 1 (Omotesando Trail)

Perfect for beginners and families, this paved trail is dotted with shops and eateries. The gradual ascent offers a comfortable journey and takes approximately 90 minutes to reach the summit. The trail is suitable for strollers and wheelchairs, making it accessible to everyone.

Trail 2 (Katsura Woods Trail)

Trail 2, also known as the Katsura Woods Trail, provides a scenic journey through lush forests. This intermediate trail offers a balance of challenge and accessibility. With varying terrains and picturesque scenery, it’s a favorite among those seeking a more immersive experience.

Trail 3 (Biwa Waterfall Trail)

As the name suggests, Trail 3 takes you on a journey past the beautiful Biwa Waterfall. This trail is a wonderful blend of nature and adventure, with the sound of cascading water providing a soothing backdrop to your hike. The trail’s moderate difficulty level makes it suitable for a wide range of hikers.

Trail 4 (Momiji-yama Trail)

Trail 4, also known as the Momiji-yama Trail, is especially enchanting during the autumn season when the maple leaves transform the landscape into a vibrant tapestry of reds and oranges. This intermediate trail offers stunning views and is a must for those who appreciate the beauty of fall foliage.

Trail 5 (Takaosan Slopeline)

Trail 5, or the Takaosan Slopeline, provides a more challenging ascent. The trail is a mix of steep sections and serene paths, offering a diverse hiking experience. It’s recommended for those who are comfortable with a more demanding climb.

Trail 6 (Inariyama Trail)

Geared towards seasoned hikers, Trail 6 provides a more challenging ascent with steep sections. The reward is an immersive experience through dense forests and the chance to encounter wildlife. The trail takes around two hours to reach the summit, promising a sense of accomplishment.

In the heart of fall, Mt. Takao transforms into a mesmerizing haven where nature’s grandeur takes center stage. The trails come alive with a breathtaking display of red and orange foliage, creating a serene and vibrant backdrop. If you look carefully, you may spot statues with knitted caps and mufflers on them, to keep them “warm” in the cold weather.  Ascending these trails, the panoramic views extend to the iconic silhouette of Mt. Fuji, a majestic sight against the crisp autumn sky that elevates the hiking experience to new heights.

Amidst this visual spectacle, the air is infused with the tempting aroma of freshly grilled dango, a traditional Japanese rice dumpling often enjoyed during the autumn season. These sweet and savory treats, available along the trails, become a delightful interlude, allowing hikers to recharge while immersing themselves in the fall ambiance.

Adding to the allure, Mt. Takao hosts autumn festivals that infuse the atmosphere with cultural vibrancy. The Yakiimo Festival, celebrating the beloved Japanese roasted sweet potatoes, offers a warm and aromatic respite during the cooler autumn days. Visitors can savor the seasonal delights while participating in traditional festivities that deepen their connection to Japanese culture.

Before entering the shrine atop Mt. Takao, there’s a meaningful ritual at the entrance. Just before you step in, there’s a designated area to purify yourself. This involves washing your hands, sometimes rinsing your mouth—a symbolic act of cleansing before entering the sacred space. It’s a customary practice that underscores the transition from the ordinary to the sacred.

Ultimately, Mt. Takao in the fall is more than an ascent up a mountain; it’s an immersion into a realm where the boundaries between nature, culture, and art blur. Walking through the forested trails, the torii gate and to the summit will become a beautiful autumnal memory.


At the foot of the mountain, indulge in the soothing embrace of natural onsen (hot spring) to unwind and relax your sore muscles after the hike. Immerse yourself in the warm waters while absorbing the scenic beauty of Mt. Takao. There are multiple pools to choose from, ranging from the cypress bath that has tiny micro bubbles that remove impurities from the skin, as well as the outdoor stone-pitch carbonated bath, which promotes healthy blood flow and metabolism.

Choose from a selection of delicious soba, japanese snacks, drinks and even ice cream at the adjoining cafeteria after your dip. Leave with a renewed spirit or take a brief escape to bask in serenity—experience all the charms that this mountain retreat has to offer.

Mt. Takao stands as a testament to the harmonious coexistence of nature, culture, and art. Whether you choose to ascend by car or train or explore beginner-friendly or challenging trails, the experiences awaiting you are diverse and captivating. Soak in the views, savor local delicacies, and appreciate the cultural nuances that make Mt. Takao a unique and enriching destination on the outskirts of Tokyo.

Keio Takaosan Onsen/Gokurakuyu Photo By Go Tokyo

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