Located within an hour by train of downtown Tokyo, Mount Takao is a popular hiking spot for locals and tourists. It’s one of the most accessible hiking spots from the big city. Mount Takao is a perfect day trip from Tokyo for people looking to get aways from the city crowds, and breathe some fresh air. The views of sprawling Tokyo from Mount Takao are also amazing on a clear day.
We were in Japan March, 2010 and Mount Takao still had snow all over it. I was pregnant with my son at the time, so we opted to take the Funicular operated by the Takaotozan Railway up to the top of the mountain. The walk up to the top of Mount Takao is supposedly 30 minutes, but is uphill the whole time. Some paths are paved and others are not. Mount Takao is closely associated with tengu, minor kami from Japanese folklore, and the daitengu Naigubu. A Buddhist temple, Takaosan Yakuōin Yūkiji, is located on the mountain.
After hiking around Mount Takao, we had a late lunch reservation at Ukai Toriyama, Charcoal Grilled Chicken restaurant. If you are looking for authentic Japanese Kaiseki cuisine, in a magical wooded setting, I would recommend going to Ukai Toriyama. Everyone dines in private sukiya rooms set on the river, with pools brimming with carp. Daytime is the best time to enjoy a meal here so you can enjoy the setting in the daylight.
Streams, pebble paths and little red bridges connected the traditional houses and tea rooms together. We had to remover our shoes and leave our packages outside our sukiyaki room. The interior offers traditional tatami flooring.
Staff brought in red hot charcoal and we cooked our own chicken and seasonal vegetables while relaxing and enjoying the rich natural landscape around us. Other dishes like the salt grilled fish was prepared for us by the staff. The wagyu beef was by far the best I have ever had.Dessert was a delicious Japanese mocha.I can’t wait to share this beautiful country with the kids one day.