Takaosan (高尾山) Trails & Senbonzakura (1000 Sakuras)

takaosan (高尾山)walking  trails

takaosan (高尾山)hiking trails

Takaosan (高尾山) is the ideal destination for easy, fun trekking. The summit is just 599m and on a clear day we can see Mount Fuji & have excellent view of Tokyo’s cityscape. It is also easily accessible (& so a favourite weekend destination for many) via a 370yen 1 hr train ride on Odakyu Keio Line from Shinjuku, and that’s what I did on 10apr2013, the second day of my trip.

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I had earlier learned from my driving holiday with my wife in Tohoku (just before it was ravaged by the Fukushima tsunami/nuclear disaster) that momiji (maple) koyo (autumn leaves) colours are best viewed in the mountains & sakura in the cities. 🙂 and though my Chasing Sakura turned Missing Sakura Tokyo trip was failing in its primary mission, takaosan did offer both great trekking + late sakura viewing especially the senbonzakura (1000 sakuras) on a 1/2 hr trek from the summit to Itchodaira. 🙂 I would just have to make do with that.

I also had to make do with my injured toes (suffered at a homegourmet dinner 4 days before my trip when I painfully hit the legs of my dining chair),  and the “encouraging words “from my dear friends – “you are like my accident prone friend”, “that’s life wad” 🙂 & what took 3 hrs to recover at a tender age now took 3 weeks! very “sian” – low in spirit..haha. 🙂

there are 3 routes to hike up takaosan – route 1 which is paved all the way to summit, the nature studies route 6 which is Jeanette’s recommended hike passing by the Biwa Falls, & inariyama trail route. At mid-hill there is a route 4 that goes by a suspension bridge & route 3 which passes by 3 small bridges. route 2 is the circle route at mid-hill & route 5 is the circle route at summit. see http://www.takaotozan.co.jp/takaotozan_eng1/course/index.htm

The 5 mins one-way ski-lift & cable car from the base to mid-hill station each cost 470yen (more than my 1 hr Odakyu train fare from Tokyo!) just consider you were contributing to the upkeep of these nice places for all to enjoy (which was the not so profound truth) – I always tell myself. I took the ski-lift. 🙂

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the sign above left tells you come in april if you want to catch sakura & october for the koyo colours. Looking at distant foliage with a hint of colours in the above centre photo, you can just about imagine what it will be like in autumn! 🙂 see http://www.japan-guide.com/blog/koyo12/121119.html


suspension bridge along route 4, steeper ascend after the bridge

I decided to take route 4 to see the suspension bridge, knowing that I would likely turned back as the guide said after the bridge the route up was steep.

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I decided to go route 1 all the way rather than route 3. this took me pass the Yakuoin Temple (药王院).

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you could see that this was a favourite outing & picnic place for many – family & friends! 🙂


sakura at the summit

the late blossoming sakuras were few but always stunningly beautiful, endearing even if very short-lived. weather was sunny if not totally clear, but this was mesmerizing. 🙂

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the senbonzakura route to Itchodaira was not quite lined with 1000 sakuras (or maybe some had bloomed & fallen).


senbonzakura (1000 sakuras) trail from takaosan summit to Itchodaira

still it was such a wonderful walk. 🙂 oooooooooooo!


nice warm bowl of shimeji miso soup- 300yen

I stopped for a 300yen shimeji miso soup- nice & warm & wonderful warming feeling in the stomach..haha. 🙂

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there was another long rather tedious flight of steps to Itchodaira(the 5 photos above were taken at branch trek on the right side of these steps). I was wondering if to take it, which I did eventually. there was much lesser sakuras on the way up & nothing much to add to the experience, so in fact one could skip this part!


sakura at Itchodaira resting area

this was one of few sakuras at the resting area at Itchodaira.

I made my way back to takaosan summit. It was past 2pm & I decided not to risk the journey down route 6. It was actually easier to walk uphill & on steps than to walk downhill & especially on a slope, and the natural compensation for my injured left toes had caused my calves especially right side to take up most strain.


enjoyable red bean dessert!

since I came up mid-hill by ski-lift I decided to take the cable car down. there was a queue of people (about 10) buying the read bean dessert. I decided to try one (it was very good hot & crispy outside fluffy inside though too much of read beans). the queue time turned out to be much longer as there were quite a few buying a few packetfuls like 30  pieces whereas a few of us poor things were waiting just to get one!

I was at takaosan 9.30am and left about 3.30pm. I reckon normally I would have done it including route 6 downhill by 2.30pm. back to Shinjuku for a nice dinner then. 🙂

c.h.e.f andy


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