Monday, 31st March 2014
In Events In Japan,
Mount Takao for spring festival
Mount Takao will celebrate its Spring Festival this April as the cherry blossoms burst into bloom, transforming the carved rocky mountainside with a pink hue that tourists would no doubt love to see.
Located within the Tokyo prefecture and therefore only a short journey from the urban jungle of Tokyo, this area is immensely popular with international visitors to Japan looking to experience the country's gorgeous rural side.
There is no better time to go than during the annual Spring Festival, which welcomes in the warmer months of the year at the Yakuoin Temple during a fabulous exhibition of the Buddha icon and a fire memorial service.
It's a great opportunity to witness Japan's spiritual side, with children gathering for a religious parade from the mountain top station of the cable car before walking all the way to Yakuoin Temple's Okunoin Hall.
You can reach Mount Takao easily from Shinjuku Station with a combined ticket that costs under 500 yen, and a journey of just 50 minutes.
The peak is almost 600 metres above sea level and offers views of Mount Fuji, Tokyo and even as far as Yokohama on clear days. Access can be gained via a cable car or a chairlift and there are excellent hiking opportunities.
Takao has been at the centre of Japanese mountain worship for more than 1,000 years, and makes an excellent day trip for those who want to see the prefecture's natural beauty.
Other mountain experiences in Japan include Mount Koya near Osaka and Kyoto, where accommodation is provided by monks in their monasteries and tourists are invited to join for morning prayer at 6am in the main hall.
There are also skiing opportunities across many of the nation's higher mountains, with more than 500 resorts offering great pistes and the culture's unique apres-ski activity, Onsen.
Written by Graham McPherson
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Japan's hiking boom leads to well-maintained routes (7th August 2015)