VIDEO| Mt. Takao, near Yokota AB, has reached peak autumn colors

VIDEO| Mt. Takao, near Yokota AB, has reached peak autumn colors

by Takahiro Takiguchi
Stripes Japan

As the colors of fall make their sweep down the country, it’s time for the Kanto Plain to have a go at the turn of the season. At Mount Takao, about a 45-minute drive from Yokota Air Base, the autumn leaves have reached their peak at this popular koyo autumn leaf viewing spot.

My wife and I visited this attraction on the Veteran’s Day holiday and enjoyed the deep crimson, orange and yellow hues of the trees and expansive views of the city in the distance as the Takaozan chairlift took us up to the top.

From here, there were eight hiking trails to choose from. My wife and I went with the volunteer guide’s suggestion and took the brisk walk down Trail 1 leading us to the famous Yakuo-in Temple. The trail was broad and well-paved with several observatory decks and benches. On our hiking, we saw a lot of visitors - most of them were wearing facemask properly and were following social-distancing practices.

Midway along the trail, there is a monkey park where about 40 Japanese macaques live and perform short shows throughout the day (for admission). Drop by and check out their lovable shows if you are interested. There are also several souvenir and food shops at each observation stop, so you can enjoy great view of mountains while sampling hot tea and dango sweet bean dumplings. We sampled the black sesame and mitarashi (soy-and-sugar syrup) dumplings, which were a large and delicious treat on our hike.

Once we reached Yakuo-in Temple itself, we were not disappointed. This impressive 750-year-old temple was the centerpiece of the autumn foliage surrounding it. Yakuo-in also is a power spot which has stands on a sanctuary worshipped for over 1,000 years, so of course we made sure to make a wish at the temple entrance.

We enjoyed our short daytrip to Mount Takao. If you’re wanting to catch some fall foliage before the season ends, this is definitely the spot to be!

Takaozan (Mount Takao)

Location: 2205 Takaomachi, Hachioji City, Tokyo (a 45-minute drive from Yokota AB)

URL: www.takaotozan.co.jp

Tel: 042-661-4151

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