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Mt. Takao – A Mountain Surrounded by Nature, Just an Hour From the Heart of Tokyo

Image of Mt. Takao, Hachioji, Tokyo
Photo:Mt. Takao, Hachioji, Tokyo

Mt. Takao is a 599-meter-tall mountain located in Hachioji, Tokyo.
It was designated as Meiji no Mori Takao Quasi-National Park and in 2020 became the first mountain in Tokyo to be recognized by the Agency for Cultural Affairs as a "Japan Heritage Site" as "Mt. Takao – A Mountain Full of Spirituality ~The Tale of the Mulberry Capital, Spun From People's Prayers~."

Takao Yakuoin Temple, one of the three main temples of the Chizan sect of Shingon Buddhism, is located halfway up Mt. Takao, and various events are held at the temple throughout the year, including a Setsubun Festival, Spring Festival, Autumn Festival, festivals with bonfires, and more.

Image of Yakuoin Temple, Mt. Takao
Photo:Yakuoin Temple, Mt. Takao

Near Mt. Takao Cable Car Station, there is a monkey garden, a wildflower garden, and the Mt. Takao Beer Garden, where visitors can enjoy a refreshing beer in the summer.
As it's located just one hour from central Tokyo, visitors can easily enjoy mountain climbing and hiking in the area throughout the year.

In 2007, Mt. Takao was awarded the highest ranking of three stars in the Michelin Guide, along with Mt. Fuji, making it well known worldwide, and it is currently the most climbed mountain in the world, attracting approximately 3 million climbers annually.

[Updated Information for 2023] The Best Time to View the Autumn Leaves on Mt. Takao

Image of autumn leaves on Mt. Takao, Hachioji, Tokyo
Photo:Autumn leaves on Mt. Takao, Hachioji, Tokyo

Surrounded by abundant nature, the autumn leaves of Mt. Takao begin to change color from around the end of October, and are usually at their best from mid-November to early December.
This is slightly later than in central Tokyo.

The autumn colors of the maple and beech trees turn Mt. Takao brilliant shades of red and yellow, but the best time to see the leaves is usually near the foot of the mountain in mid-November, and near the summit in late November.

During the peak foliage viewing season, the cable cars and lifts are often crowded, and you may have to wait an hour or more for a ride.
The trail leading to the summit is also congested with climbers, and it's sometimes difficult to advance.

The 2023 "Mt. Takao Maple Festival" will be held from October 28 to December 3. At the event plaza, performances by students from Hachioji City and other events will be held. Also, on weekdays during the festival, visitors can get a raffle ticket when they spend 1,000 yen or more at member stores of the Takao-san Shopping Association. 599 people will win prizes.

[Updated Information for 2023] Recommended Courses and Tips for Viewing the Autumn Leaves on Mt. Takao

There are several trails on Mt. Takao that lead to the summit.

The main trails and routes on Mt. Takao are as follows:
・Trail 1 (Omotesando Trail): Total length: 3.8 km
・Trail 2 (Kasumidai Loop Trail): Total length: 900 m
・Trail 3 (Katsura Forest Trail): Total length: 2.4 km
・Trail 4 (Suspension Bridge Trail): Total length: 1.5 km
・Trail 5 (Summit Loop Trail): Total length: 900 m
・Trail 6 (Biwa Waterfall Trail): Total length: 3.3 km
・Inariyama Trail (Ridgeline Trail): Total length: 3.1 km

Below, we'll introduce the features of each course and recommended points of interest for viewing the autumn leaves.

Trail 1 (Omotesando Trail)
This is the most popular route for climbing Mt. It is also paved, making it a friendly route for beginners.
Kasumidai Observatory, the Buddhist Stupa, Yakuoin Temple, and the summit of Mt. Takao are points of interest for viewing the autumn leaves.

Trail 2 (Kasumidai Loop Trail)
It takes about 30 minutes to go around the area near Mt. Takao Cable Car Station on the cable car.
The wildflower garden is a point of interest for viewing the autumn leaves.

Trail 3 (Katsura Forest Trail)
This course is located on the south side of Trail 1 and has relatively fewer hikers than other trails, allowing visitors to take their time and enjoy the natural surroundings.
It's not recommended for viewing the autumn leaves, as there are many evergreen trees.

Image of the suspension bridge on Mt. Takao, Hachioji Tokyo
Photo:The suspension bridge on Mt. Takao, Hachioji Tokyo

Trail 4 (Suspension Bridge Trail)
Located on the north side of Trail 1, Trail 4 is popular for its suspension bridge (Miyama Bridge), the only suspension bridge on Mt. Takao.
Many deciduous trees lose their leaves during the winter season, and the yellowing of dogtooth vines and beech trees can be enjoyed during autumn.

Trail 5 (Summit Loop Trail)
This course circles the area just below the summit of Mount Takao and takes about 30 minutes to complete.
Almost all trails, including Trails 1, 3, 4, 6, and the Inariyama Trail, are connected to Trail 5.
The course has few changes in elevation, allowing visitors to enjoy the autumn leaves at a leisurely pace.

Trail 6 (Biwa Waterfall Trail)
This trail is also called the "water trail" because of the waterfalls and rivers along its creeks.
Biwa Falls has long been used for water ablutions by Shugendo practitioners.
The trail is not very well maintained, and footing is poor in some places, so we do not recommend hiking with light equipment.
Because this trail takes you through an overgrown forest, you will not be able to see the autumn leaves.

Inariyama Trail (Ridgeline Trail)
This course passes through the south side of Mt. Takao and includes some steep ascents, making it a genuine mountain climbing experience.
It takes only 90 minutes to reach the summit, and you can enjoy viewing the various autumn colors from the foot of the mountain to the summit.

Accessing Mt. Takao

Image of Takaosanguchi Station, Hachioji Tokyo
Photo:Takaosanguchi Station, Hachioji Tokyo

[Access via Train]
Keio Line: From Shinjuku Station to Takao-yamaguchi Station, approx. 50 min.
JR Chuo Line: From Shinjuku Station to Takao Station: 44 min (special rapid), 58 min (rapid); from JR Takao Station, transfer to Keio Line to reach Takao-yamaguchi Station, approx. 3 min.

[Access via Car]
Take the Chuo Expressway via Hachioji Junction, get off at the Mt. Takao Interchange on the Ken-O Expressway, and drive approximately 5 minutes towards Shinjuku.
There are several pay parking lots around the foot of Mt. Takao, but please note that they become very crowded during the high season for viewing the autumn leaves.

[Updated Information for 2023] Points of Interest Near Mt. Takao After Viewing the Autumn Leaves

Mt. Takao features a variety of popular tourist attractions in addition to hiking, so consider stopping by some of them on your way home after a day of mountain climbing.

[Hot Spring Facilities Near Mount Takao]
Keio Takaosan Onsen Gokurakuyu is a recommended day spa located next to Keio Takao-yamaguchi Station on Mt. Takao.
Opened in 2015, this relatively new spa facility offers seven different types of baths, including an outdoor bath with natural hot spring water, as well as a sauna and a micro-bubbling cypress bath.

Address: 2229-7 Takao-machi, Hachioji City, Tokyo, 193-0844
Admission Fee: Adults - ¥1,000, Children - ¥500 (During the autumn foliage viewing period: Adults - ¥1,200, Children - ¥600)
Spring Quality: Simple alkaline hot spring
Hours: 8 AM - 10:45 PM (Open year-round)
Telephone: 042-663-4126
Parking: Available (Up to 110 standard behicles. Free parking for 3 hours for hot spring users)
Official Website: Keio Takaosan Onsen Gokurakuyu Official Website
Access: Located near Takao-yamaguchi Station on the Keio Line

[Soba Restaurants Near Mt. Takao]
More than 20 soba noodle shops line the streets from the foot of Mt. Takao to the summit of the mountain.
To relieve the fatigue of worshippers visiting Takao Yakuoin Temple, one store began serving soba noodles topped with grated yam, which is believed to nourish and strengthen the body, about 100 years ago in 1924.


With private rooms, large and medium-sized halls, Gonsuke is a restaurant that can be used for a variety of occasions.
Gonsuke's specialty is its authentic Irori-yaki course featuring carefully selected ingredients grilled over an irori (a traditional Japanese open hearth).
A shuttle bus service is available from Takao-yamaguchi Station, so definitely consider dropping in for a delicious meal on your way home from mountain climbing.

Address: 4068 Minami Asakawa-cho, Hachioji-shi, Tokyo
Access: A 5-minute drive from Takao-yamaguchi Station on the Keio Takao Line
Parking: Available (70 vehicles)
Hours: 11:00 AM 10:00 PM
Closures: None

[Ukai Toriyama]

At Ukai Toriyama, located in inner Takao, a 10-minute drive from Takao-Yamaguchi Station, you can enjoy authentic food charcoal-grilled over an irori.
Visitors can enjoy a meal in an atmosphere not often found in Tokyo, with buildings in the Gassho-zukuri style relocated from Gokayama, and an 8,000 sq m Japanese garden.
This restaurant has also been featured in a variety of popular Japanese TV shows.

Address: 3426 Minami-asakawa-machi Hachioji City, Tokyo 193-0846
Access: A 10-minute drive from Takao-yamaguchi Station on the Keio-Takao Line
Parking: Available
Weekdays 11:30 AM - 3:00 PM / 5:00 PM - 9:30 PM
Weekends 11:00 AM - 9:00 PM
Closures: Tuesdays (varies by season), Year-end and New Years holidays
Official Website: Ukai Toriyama Official Website


A facility where visitors can learn about the history of Mt. Takao and the ecosystems of its flora and fauna.
Visitors can learn about Mt. Takao through specimens of insects and animals that live in the mountain, as well as through fossilized animal specimens.
Admission is free, so definitely stop in for a visit.

Address: 2435-3 Takao, Hachioji, Tokyo 193-0844
Telephone: 042-665-6688
Business Days: Open year-round ※Possible closures due to maintenance
Hours: [April - November] 8:00 AM - 5:00 PM / [December - March] 8:00 AM - 4:00 PM
Admission Fee: Free
Access: An approximately 4-minute walk from Takao-yamaguchi Station on the Keio Electric Railway (Keio Line)
Official Website: TAKAO 599 MUSEUM Official Website

Summary of Autumn Foliage Information for Mt. Takao

Mount Takao, which can be reached in less than an hour from Tokyo, offers a colorful landscape of red and yellow leaves during autumn.
Enjoy a pleasant dose of negative ions in this popular spot surrounded by nature that you wouldn't expect to find in Tokyo.

Written By
Last Updated : Nov. 2, 2022
A writer who loves Japan
[2023] Autumn Leaves on Mt. Takao – Information on Congestion and Recommended Courses for the Popular Mountain in Tokyo
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