Having learned from our experience at Nikko we arrived into Takao station at just after 9am then after looking a little puzzled for a few seconds a very charming local man guided us to our connection. One stop on another train and we were in the village at the base of the mountain.
There are 3 ways up. First walking all the way, second a little train like cable car that takes you about a 3rd of the way up in 10 minutes and the last option is a chair lift. Have a guess which I was cajoled on to.
The chair lift takes 12 minutes and you are not strapped in at all! There is a rather reassuring net to catch you if you do slip off. Once at the station it is about an hour and a half a hike to the top with lots to see along the way like the monkey park and many temples and shrines.
The mountain is closely connected with Tengu, a Japanese long nose goblin who is said to bring luck and there seemed to be many prayer wheels and fortune-telling activities. Once you climbed through the Tengu shrine it was a short hike along the mountain ridge to the top.
I couldn’t quite believe it when I made it to the top, the sun was now shining on what had been a rainy morning and the top was crowded with walkers and families having lunch and enjoying the view, we enjoyed an ice cream and Mark picked the route back down. He chose trail 4, bad choice for me as I was wearing free running style trainers and making my way over all of the tree roots and down the giant steps was proving a little more than painful on the arches of my feet, we pushed on determined to get to the suspension bridge and make it back to the concrete path. Every hiker you pass greats you with a happy Konichiwa which warms your heart a little and we even got some Herro’s from a group of very over excited school girls eager to use their English. After the suspension bridge the path became easier again and we were soon back to where we had started earlier in the day. It was then just a short walk back down to the train cable car thing.
Except I wasn’t going on the cable car was I, no Idiot here decided if she could do the chair lift on the way up she could do the chair lift on the way down and it was Marks preferred choice. I couldn’t have been more wrong, going down was terrifying and I clung to Mark and the chair for dear life. When you are not strapped in seeing the mountain falling away from you turned my legs to jelly and I had a mini freak out. Mark reassured me though and we were at the bottom not a moment too soon.
I loved Takao, it was a great mix of nature, temples and fun things to do. It is very well maintained are there are plenty of toilets, vending machines and things to eat along the way. Perfect for a first timer like me.