Escape to the stunning Mount Takao-san in Tokyo
Lee Jay Walker
Modern Tokyo Times
It is difficult to imagine in bustling central Tokyo that you have a stunning mountain range within easy access. However, Mount Takao-san is only one hour away from the madding crowd of Shinjuku.
This mountain appeals to locals, internal tourists, foreign visitors, hikers, people of faith, and in truth, to all and sundry. It is a perfect place to visit and appreciate another side to Tokyo.
The first time I visited Mount Takao-san was eight years ago and I went during the high summer. Yet my first visit stayed deep within my memory because I was fascinated by the history of the place and amazed by the natural beauty on all sides.
On the approach to Mount Takao-san you have many traditional shops which sell high quality goods and of course you also have tourist shops which sell more low key items. Yet the architecture of the shops are pleasing on the eye and if you like traditional Japanese food then why not wait and visit after your arduous but pleasurable walk.
If you visit on a sunny day or dry day then the lift is a must because you can relax and see the natural beauty pass you by. The lift also takes a fair few minutes and the rays of sunshine or the flicker of wind is a nice feel and it prepares you well for the start of your journey.
Or if you are in a group or are not so healthy then you can travel by the cable car option and of course, for hikers, then starting from scratch will be more appropriate.
Mount Takao-san is also important in history and culture because Emperor Shomu ordered the building of the Yakou-in Temple in 744. Therefore, for more than 1,200 years you have had many pilgrims or people paying their respect and the connection of the past is important for many people.
During your visit you will see a statue of “Tengu” and Tengu is believed to be a deified man who mastered ancient mountain worship. Tengu is noticeable by having a long nose but the undercurrents of ancestor worship, Shintoism, and believing in the spirit world of the mountain, is striking and mythology and a wisdom now lost is symbolized by the image of Tengu.
From an outsiders point of view Tengu reminds me of a mixture of human form and nature whereby the individual was at one with the mountain that he loved and therefore was deified.
During your visit to Mount Takao-san you can pick from many different hiking courses and like stated earlier, for some people they can enjoy the beauty by reaching halfway up the mountain by cable car or lift.
Therefore, you can either take an arduous walk or a relatively easy journey if desired. The option belongs to you but either way you will be blessed by the natural beauty of Mount Takao-san.
Mount Takao-san is protected by the Meiji no Mori Takao Quasi-National Park and at the foot of the mountain you have the Tama Forest Science Garden.
It is a must place to visit!
http://www.takaotozan.co.jp/takaotozan_eng1/ – Mount Takao-san
http://www.japan-guide.co – Mount Takao-sanm/e/e3029.html
http://www.jnto.go.jp/eng/location/regional/tokyo/takaosan.html – Mount Takao-san
http://moderntokyotimes.com (please visit)