Tokyo trip diary: Day 5 – the one when we ran away

Shinjuku, 8am, -2°C – we board a Keio Line train to Takaosanguchi Station. It’s nice and warm inside our car, we’re getting sleepy. At first, the train is full of people, mostly men in suits on their way to work. After 20 minutes, we’re halfway there, the train is now almost empty. Only one other couple looks (judging by what they wear) like they may be on their way to the same place we’re going.

We look out the window, the sky is blue, there are no clouds and we hope we’ll get to see Mt Fuji from the summit of Mt Takao. I keep looking at the buildings we pass, at the mountains in the background and suddenly -There it is! There it is! Mt Fuji! Quick, take a picture! We’re such tourists.

This post is part of a series:
Tokyo Day 1 – first steps in Japan & discovering Shinjuku
Tokyo Day 2 – the day we walked a lot
Tokyo Day 3 – Tokyo Skytree, kimonos and knives
Tokyo Day 4 – the one with an early start
Tokyo Day 5 – the one when we ran away

mt fuji seen from keio line train

Mt Takao

If you’re staying in Tokyo for a few days, it’s a great way to see more of Japan outside of the city. It’s cheap (¥390 one way), can be done in half a day, the air is cleaner and soba noodles fresh and delicious. Need more reasons to visit? You’ll get to see this:

mt fuji seen from mt Takao by "a matter of taste"

Japanese Alps seen from mt Takao by "a matter of taste"

The views from the summit are spectacular, but the hike is not too bad either.

There are 8 trails to choose from. The one we picked on the way up is the easiest (paved) and the most popular trail number 1. It starts quite steep, but after that, it’s like a walk in the park. It takes you through the Yaku-ou-in temple and you pass a few shops and vending machines on the way.

mt takao trails map

At the summit, there’s a lot of space to sit down and have a picnic. There’s nothing better than a picnic with a view after a hike (and in Japan, it must be an onigiri).

On the way down, to mix things up a little, we chose trail number 6. It was rougher than trail 1 and more suitable for people with proper hiking boots. The scenery is different too – waterfalls, tree roots on the path, rocky walls and streams. With fewer people than on trail number 1 it’s quiet around. It’s easy to forget that you’re so close to the world’s largest city.

Mt Takao

At just 599m Mt Takao is hardly a challenge, but it’s a great place for a relaxing day with beautiful scenery.

Before you head back to Tokyo, have a meal at one of the local restaurants. Most of them seem to specialise in soba dishes so don’t miss out on freshly made noodles.

Tokyo from 45th floor

After we arrived back in Shinjuku we went to check out panoramic views of Tokyo from the Tokyo Metropolitan Government Building. It’s free, open from 9.30am until 11pm every day and gives you spectacular views from 45th floor. There are two towers to choose from (or visit both), cafes, tourist information and souvenir shops. Well worth a visit.

Tokyo Metropolitan Government Building by a matter of taste

view from Tokyo Metropolitan Government Building by a matter of taste

click here for more photos

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