Tag Archives: mt fuji view

Mt Takao with children (includes New Years data) | HACHIOJI 【TOKYO】

The first time I went to Mt Takao with my 4 kids, they were all under 7 at the time. The youngest had just turned one.  I did the trip sans husband, but thankfully with my best friend, Japanese food writer Fiona Uyema, and her 2 children. I had chosen to take Fiona there, who was visiting from Ireland, after reading a very good write up about the Autumn Leaves in the area. I was very glad we made the trip and was pleasantly surprised at how easy the trip was to manage, even with small children.

When we visited it was bang smack in the middle of prime Autumn Leaf season. I didn’t know it at the time, but the day we chose to go had been reported the previous evening as to be the best day to view the Autumn Leaves in their prime. I think half of Tokyo got in their cars and made the journey to witness the leaves in their prime. The area was extremely busy, we even had to queue to take the exit of the highway. However, it was worth it.

Image from SONY JAPAN

There are a number of different trails you can do, so you can plan according to your children’s ages. 599 Museum supplies good information in English on the trails. Despite being a mountain area, the top of Mt Takao is actually quite easy to navigate with a stroller / buggy. However, if you want to hike the mountain trail, a buggy / stroller is  not advisable.  Also, there are places at the top of the mountain that you will need to park your stroller if you want to explore further. The easiest way (and most fun for the kids) to get up the mountain is the cable car. Even if it is very crowded, they don’t ask you to fold up your buggy, or at least they didn’t ask me – they told me to leave it open. It maybe that they took pity on me trying to flock my herd, fold a buggy and hold a one year old simultaneously! For older children you can also use the chair lifts.

There are two things that I would point out as potential difficulties with small children. One is that as you are on top of a mountain with a steep decline on one side and limited barriers at the side of the pavement, it can be quite unnerving if the kids walk close to the edge. Obviously, I told them not to, but… well they’re kids, even if they do listen, they forget and they can’t quite sense danger like a Mother can. Two; you have to queue for everything if you go at one of the prime visiting times; tickets, trains, toilets, food… everything. On the way back down if you want to get the last cable car, which goes around 5.30 pm, you need to start queuing up to an hour in advance. Also, another thing to take note off is that it is a couple of degrees colder at 599 meters. When we visited in November we needed winter jackets as the sun started to go down.

Despite the crowds and the potential danger, I think Mt Takao is an ideal place to bring young children, even babies, for a mountain visit. It is also a great place to introduce young children to hiking. There is a lot to do in the area, especially close to the cable car and train stations. At the bottom, near Kiyotaki Cable Car Station there is the relatively new 599 Museum, nearby and very close to Keio Takao Line Takaosanguchi station there is Keio Takao Hot Springs and a Trick Art Museum. Up the top, near the Takaosan cable car station there is a monkey park.

There are also lots of eateries, power spots and view points near this station.  Near the Takaosan cable car station at the top of the mountain is Kasumi, a popular spot with hikers for a quick bite to eat. They have 2 popular traditional type Japanese treats; Mifuku dango and Tenguyaki. Mifuku dango is a type of charcoaled dango, cooked in a circle around an open charcoal grill (pictured). One dango costs 310 yen. The Tenguyaki is a type of waffle with sweetened black soybean paste inside. A tengu is a legendary long nose goblin that is an intricate part of Japanese religion.  One tenguyaki costs 140 yen.  They sell ice-cream here too, including a Fly Honeysuckle flavoured ice-cream (pictured).

Takao-san is popular all year round, but it has boom periods which are mainly New Year’s, Cherry Blossom season, peak of summer (to escape the heat) and Autumn leaves season. Another thing that draws people to Mt Takao is that sometimes you can see Diamond Fuji from the Momiji viewing deck of Mt Takao, an opportunity is coming up this month in fact.  Diamond Fuji is estimated to be viewable around 4.15 pm on December 17th and possibly a day or two either side of that.


Regarding New Years, it is hard to believe, but people hike up Mt Takao (or take the cable car) on New Year’s eve or very early New Year’s morning in the dark and bitter cold.  Accordingly, the cable car runs through the night.  In fact the cable car runs from 8 am on December 31st until 6.30 pm on January 1st to accommodate the throes of visitors on one of the popular New Year’s pilgrimages in the Greater Tokyo area.

There are three main incentives to do this:

  1.  to see the first sunrise of the year, which is generally around 6.48 am
  2.  to see Mt Fuji for the first time in the year (weather permitting of course) and
  3. to participate in Yakuo-in Temple‘s New Year welcoming rituals including “the festival to welcome the light”.

This temple also follows the traditional custom of gonging the Temples Gong 108 times to dispel evil. The Keio Takao San hot spring is open over New Year’s, but from January 1st to 3rd they charge an extra 200 yen, so 1,200 yen per person.

Mt Takao is very accessible by car from Saitama and Tokyo, if you are on the Ken-O expressway. From Tokyo it is quite convenient by train, but unfortunately from Saitama the train is a bit more tricky. By both car and train it takes less than an hour to get to Mt Takao from Tokyo. From Western Saitama it takes about an hour by car or train. The station you use to access Mt Takao is Takaosanguchi on the Keio Takao Line. On weekends and holidays two trains on the Toei Shinjuku Line also continue on to Takaosanguchi station. The exit on the Ken-O expressway is Takaosan. The Mt Takao cable car website has full information on how to access Mt Takao.




Hotel Tokinosumika and Kirakubo Hot Spring, Gotemba | SHIZUOKA

View from Hotel Tokinosumika of the Tokinosumika Resort

View of Mt. Fuji from our hotel room

Our first visit to Hotel Tokinosumika with kids was May 2012. (We had stayed in other accommodation in the Tokinosumika resort before and after that). At the time my son was 2 and my daughter 15 months old. The room was ideal for them. It was a 10 tatami room with built in bunk beds, AND a Western type area of the room with two semi double beds, toilet, bathroom and sink. Futons are provided, which you take out at night to sleep on. It had a beautiful view of Mount Fuji from a bay window with two seats built in. The room was air conditioned.

The rooms are very reasonable (please see the link to the hotel below for up-to-date rates) and are charged per person. You can opt to have dinner included or not. They have long cushions you can borrow for free in the reception area. You can use the Kirakubo hot spring in the hotel for free (see paragraph below) and for a reduced rate you can gain access to any of the other hot springs on the resort. You also get a reduced price for a lot of the attractions in the Tokinosumika resort, for example the impressive Big Bang Playground and Art Museum.

Reception area with long cushions you can borrow


The two down sides to the accommodation; there was a very faint smell of smoke in the room, but my sense of smell was heightened with pregnancy and DH couldn’t actually smell it all. The room wasn’t particularly sound proof and until about midnight we could hear a group of young lads having a great time. We were awake ourselves and that sort of sound doesn’t disturb our children when they are asleep so it didn’t particularly bother us.

From the Hotel Tokinosumika's website, URL below
From the Hotel Tokinosumika’s website, URL below

Added in 2016: On our last visit in summer 2016 we noted how much the hotel has aged and suffered from wear and tear in the last 4 years. The bathroom and toilet had some mold and dust. The bathroom is a unit bathroom. The bath is quite low and not suited to someone with lower mobility.  The place is in need of a lick of paint.

Overhead bunks in the large tatami part of the room

If you choose to have breakfast included it is buffet style in a large breakfast hall. Its not the best buffet I’ve ever been to, but its not the worst either. They also have dinner available, but with the choice of restaurants available within the resort you might prefer to venture out. The restaurants in the hotel have high chairs for babies and toddlers. Accommodation and breakfast is free for toddlers and they will provide you with toddler plates and cutlery to use. FOR MORE INFORMATION ON THE TOKINOSUMIKA RESORT IN ENGLISH CLICK HERE.

Kirakubo Hot Spring

The hot springs, as well as the whole resort of Tokinosumika, are very family friendly. They have rest and eating areas as well as a small play area for children in one of the rest areas, where there is also a huge selection of manga for older children to read in comforable bean bags. The restaurant has a huge bay window which looks onto the resort and the glorious Mt Fuji. On a clear day it is a spectacular view.

In the ladies there are a number of different baths inside including a salt bath and a jet bath. They have a tub bath which Moms and babies can enjoy together. They also have plastic tub baths for washing babies in before soaking. They have lots of useful facilities for babies in general. Outside there is a large rotemburo, plus smaller ones including one in a cave. They have sun loungers on a mezzanine beside which there are out house saunas. There is a water fountain for drinking from for free, plus they have vending machines, where you can purchase drinks. The changing area has hair dryers and products for cleansing your face. There are coin lockers for storing your valuables. Guests of the hotel don’t need a key, but guests who are just there for using the hot spring need to get a key for the lockers at reception.

Kirakubo Hot Spring – onsen and restaurant with Mt Fuji views


Up-to-date room charges and more information (in Japanese) on the Official website of Tokinosumika (linked).