Mt. Takao – a thrilling and spiritual experience
Japan – the volcanic island with breathtaking nature, seas and mountains. One of them is Mt. Takao in Hachioji, not even one hour from Tokyo’s city center. In Japan mountains were, or rather still are, goddesses, and in the past only men were allowed to climb them. In fact, there is still one mountain to which that applies in Japan, but fortunately not Mt. Takao.
The great thing is you only need one day to climb the mountain, relax and fully enjoy and experience the beautiful wilderness. For those who cannot climb all the way, there’s a cable car and even chair lift, which you can use to shorten the path to the top at 599 meters.
I’d say for families it would be better to go on a sunny day, but as for me, I could not have been luckier with all the rain pouring down while I was there. I have the greatest respect for nature and all its living beings, and there is something wonderfully scary about mountains and forests in bad weather with all the mist and overwhelming smells and sounds of nature. Even if maybe you are not as connected to nature or spirits, there is something very spiritual about Japan’s mountains, thrilling and captivating, sometimes even somewhat frightening.
But the most fun part was certainly my quest for the youkai (monster spirits), namely the tengu, a protective, sometimes dangerous spirit of mountains and forests often depicted in folktales. When I heard that Mt. Takao was famous for their tengu and also kappa (water deities), I was determined to find them all.
And I did.
I even found a real one in the woods...
Access to Mt. Takao: