by Scott, staff writer of japan-guide.com
This journal is a log of my travels within Japan. Here you'll find my personal opinions on the places I've been and the things I've seen. Also expect to see the occasional review and editorial. Thanks for reading.
2009/11/16 - Mount Takao (Takaosan)
While trees in central Tokyo have only just started turning colors, the koyo season in the mountains west of Tokyo is already approaching its peak. One of the closest and most attractive mountains near central Tokyo for autumn leaf viewing (but also the most crowded one) is Mount Takao, or Takaosan, only 50 minutes and 370 yen from Shinjuku Station by Keio Railways.
Takaosan can get pretty crowded, especially during the autumn leaf season, and when we arrived around noon, visitors queued 20-25 minutes for riding the cable car or chair lift, which go half way up the mountain. We didn't want to wait, so we opted to walk up instead.
Along the ascent up the mountain we encountered small groups of maple trees, especially around the cable car station, the temple grounds and at the summit. The different varieties of maples are at or approaching their peak, and they look like they will be nice for another two weeks or so.
Takaosan has a network of hiking trails that lead to the summit, and the main road that most people take is paved and leads to all the major sites along the way. We decided to try some of the alternate trails down to avoid some of the crowds and shorten our trip. Other than a few unexpected trail closures, the trails made for a pleasant hike, but they didn't have the same amount of colors as the main road.