Mt. Takao (Takaosan) is a popular hiking destination accessible from central Tokyo. In autumn, many holidaymakers come along to see the fall colors in the mountain. Recently, the increase in popularity is bringing more visitors to the mountain, where a topic comes up among hikers about which route can be lesser-crowded. If you plan a day hike in Mt. Takao, hopefully in a tranquil setting, how about taking a route on Uratakao? The trails in Uratakao take you to the top of Mt. Takao via the surrounding mountains, where you can enjoy scenic views and a mountain walk on steep, rough paths suitable only for hikers.
- Hiking in Uratakao
- Uratakao Route and Trails
- Staring your hike on the Uratakao route
- Uratakao has two other shorter trails to reach Mt. Takao
- Descending from the top of Mt. Takao
Hiking in Uratakao
Uratakao is a mountainous area northwest of Mt. Takao, with a hiking route leading to the top of Mt. Takao. On the route in Uratakao, hikers walk across the mountains surrounding Mt. Takao and head to the mountaintop. The Uratakao route is for a 6-to-7-hour hike walking across the mountains, which is longer than regular 4-hours trails in Mt. Takao to the top and back. The Uratakao route is characterized by rough and narrow trails, making it less crowded for tourists.
Uratakao Route and Trails
The hiking route in Uratakao goes from Mt. Kagenobu to Kobotoke Pass, then up Mt. Kobotoke Shiroyama and reach the top of Mt Takao. The location map below shows the route as a red line. Uratakao actually has other routes, such as a longer trail leading to Mt. Jinba far in the west, but the information here is only for the route around Mt. Takao.
An image of the Uratakao route (Red line). The walking time required is a rough estimate.
Mt. Kagenobu on the Uratakao route. The scenic view is waiting for you at the mountaintop! Keep in mind not to get lost along the way. You might as well watch out for bears too.
The trail on the way from Mt Kobotoke Shiroyama to Mt. Takao. The trail is not an entirely narrow path. In spring, this area turns into a cherry blossom viewing spot. There is a rest area with a tea house on each mountaintop of Mt. Kagenobu, Mt. Kobotoke Shiroyama, and Mt. Takao.
Staring your hike on the Uratakao route
The starting point of a hike is the Kagenobu trailhead (Kagenobuyama Tozanguchi 景信山登山口), reachable by bus or on foot. The bus is served from Takao Station 高尾駅, which is the gateway to the Uratakao area. (The road is in orange color on the map)
Take a bus to get to Kagenobu Trailhead
From the North Exit of Takao Station, take the Keio Bus (bound for Kobotoke, 高 01 [京王]) and get off at the stop “Kobotoke.” It will be about a 21-min ride, and the fare is 280 JPY. (As of 2022. Sep) From the Kobotoke bus stop, a 20-min walk will take you to the Kagenobu Trailhead. Buses are infrequent, with one every hour or so. You may have to wait a long time, depending on the situation.
Walk from Takao Station to the Kagenobu Trailhead
Although it is about a 5km-long walk before starting your hike in Uratakao, it will be worth enjoyable while it is like strolling in the countryside.
In front of the north exit of Takao Station, there is a major road called Koushu Road (Koushu Kaido 甲州街道.) Take the road to the left and keep walking until you see a railway over a small bridge to cross a stream. After passing the bridge and walking a little further, you will see a fork in the road where you go over the light and take the right side of the road called “Road 516 (Kyukoushu Kaido 旧甲州街道),” which is the way to the Kagenobu Trailhead. Road 516 is so narrow that it may make you feel anxious if you are walking on the right way, but the bus for Kobotoke also runs there. Looking at the sign “516” painted on the road and bus stops along there, you can ensure you are on the right road.
Kogesawa Plum Flower Garden (木下沢梅園) on the way to the Kagenobu Trailhead.
This area is known for plum blossom viewing. In late February, they will hold a plum blossom festival.
Uratakao has two other shorter trails to reach Mt. Takao
On road 516, there are two other trails directly heading to the mountainside of Mt. Takao; Jataki Trail (蛇滝コース) and Irohano Mori Trail (いろはの森コース). Some guidebooks describe these trails as the Uratakao routes. If you want to hike just only on Mt. Takao rather than going up all the long way in the surrounding mountains, one of these Uratakao routes will be a good choice.
Jataki Trail (蛇滝コース)
This trail leads to a waterfall called Jataki (Snake Waterfall) halfway up Mt. Takao. This route has many steep rock stairs that tourists hesitate to take, which is good for hikers. The Jataki Trailhead is near the bus stop “Jatakiguchi.” You will see the highway road above the bus stop.
Irohano Mori Trail (いろはの森コース)
The Irohano Mori Trail is connected to Trail No.4 in Mt. Takao, leading to the mountaintop. The trailhead of Irohano Mori is also on 516 Road, about a 10-minute walk from the bus stop of Hikage (日影バス停). From the bus stop, follow a narrow path to Hikagesawa camping site (日影沢キャンプ場), and you will find the trailhead there.
Descending from the top of Mt. Takao
You finally arrive at the top of Mt. Takao and now go down the mountain to finish your hike. From the top of Mt. Takao, you can take one of the routes to go down back. If you have little energy left, take a cable railway or chair lift between the mountainside and the foot. If you still are strong enough, why not continue your hike and take the bushy path of Route No. 6.
This article about hiking routes in Mt. Takao will give you an idea to decide which way to take.
Takaosan (Mt. Takao) attractions
Considering crowded trains on the way back to central Tokyo, take the Keio Line train departing from Takaosanguchi Station. Taking the train from Takao Station will not be a good idea as the train will already get packed with passengers at the Takaosanguchi Station, one stop before Takao Station, where you will hardly get a seat. Getting home without a hitch will be a pleasant part of your hike. Have a nice trip!