An hour west of Shinjuku, Mount Takao (高尾山; 600m), also referred to as Takao-san, is a particularly pleasant place for a quick escape from Tokyo, and a starting point for longer trails into the mountains in the Chichibu-Tama National Park (秩父多摩国立公園). The Keiō line from Shinjuku provides the simplest and cheapest way of reaching the terminus of Takao-san-guchi (1hr). After a hike up or a ride on the cable car or chairlifts, you’ll get to Yakuo-in (薬王院), a temple founded in the eighth century and notable for the ornate polychromatic carvings which decorate its main hall. It hosts the spectacular Hiwatarisai fire ritual on the second Sunday in March back in Takao-san-guchi, where you can watch priests and pilgrims march across hot coals – and even follow them yourself.

 

Travel offers; book through Rough Guides

Japan features

The latest articles, galleries, quizzes and videos.

Staying in a Japanese ryokan: a first-timer's guide

Staying in a Japanese ryokan: a first-timer's guide

It’s a cliché to say that Japan is a land of contrasts – but, in terms of accommodation, it really is. There are some weird and many wonderful places to s…

12 Jun 2017 • Ros Walford insert_drive_file Article
Uncovering Tokyo’s nightlife: a neighbourhood guide

Uncovering Tokyo’s nightlife: a neighbourhood guide

Until recently, running a club in Japan was a risky business. The fueihō laws, created in 1948, put restrictions on any small venue where patrons had to “act…

09 Jun 2017 • Rebecca Hallett insert_drive_file Article
Video: a 1 minute guide to Japan

Video: a 1 minute guide to Japan

Japan has long captivated the imaginations of travellers around the globe, seeming to both baffle and beguile all who venture there. Between language barrier…

25 May 2017 • Colt St. George videocam Video
View more featureschevron_right

Join over 60,000 subscribers and get travel tips, competitions and more every month

Join over 60,000 subscribers and get travel tips, competitions and more every month