Tokyo Photo Hike: Mount Takaosan, February 2016


I’ve written before that Mount Takaosan in western Tokyo can feel as busy on a weekend as the infamous Hachiko Crossing, aka “The Scramble,” in Shibuya. The crowds, the theme-park like temple complex, and its proximity to suburban Hachioji, means that R. and I tend to stay away from Tokyo’s most famous mountain daytrip.

Still, it’s been a few years since we visited, so this weekend we headed for Takaosan rather than our more familiar Mitakesan in the Chichibu mountains.

Our usual route six to the summit was closed due to a fallen tree, so we climbed the muddy steps of the Inariyama Trail to the summit. Unfortunately, the view of Fujisan to the west was blocked by haze. Still, we had a pleasant hike in good time, enjoyed a soba noodle lunch at the summit restaurant (yes, some mountains in Japan have restaurants and even vending machines at the summit), visted the tengu warrior-birdmen at Takaosan Yakuoin Yukiji Temple, and hiked back to the station on a side trail which dropped down to the small set of outbuildings at Biwa waterfall where a yamabushi mountain monk was meditating under the fall, chanting and blowing a conch.

A pleasant day. I’ll go back to Takaosan, sooner rather than later.


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