Sick of the hustle and bustle of Tokyo and itching to get away for a day?
Then I’ve got the perfect solution for you. Merely an hour’s ride from metropolitan Tokyo, in Hachiōji, there is a mountain resplendent with scenic beauty, hiking trails, and a buddhist temple. Mt. Takao, whose peak reaches 599 meters, (1,965 ft) high, is a protected environmental zone nestled within a quasi-national park. Like Mt. Fuji, its scenic beauty earned it an impressive 3 gold stars from the famous Michelin Guide.
Visitors curious to learn more about all the animals and bugs that they come across during their hiking expeditions up Mt. Takao can satisfy their curiosity at the foot of the mountain. There, the newly opened Takao 599 Museum welcomes visitors with an exciting array of exhibitions, as well as a well-pruned lawn complete with avant-garde benches, a terrace, and a cafe.
Inaugurated in August 2015, 599 Takao celebrates the mountain’s rich natural environment and unveils the interdependent relationships and inner workings of the local flora and fauna. The displays are tech and child-friendly, encouraging visitors to cultivate interaction and awe at Mt. Takao’s natural wonders.
This stout mountain is home to more than 1,200 different kinds of plant life, wild boars, monkeys, and all sorts of feathered friends. Visitors who venture onto the mountain after sunset may be lucky enough to catchy a glimpse of musasabi, a Japanese giant flying squirrel, soaring overhead.
If exploring the six or so hiking trails tickles your fancy, then know that each is about 90 minutes in duration and if you get tired, there is a cable car and chair lift to ferry visitors halfway up the mountain. If you decide to climb Mt. Takao, then be sure to check out the climbing etiquette outlined here.
As a final note, I’d highly recommend that you pay a quick visit to the museum’s website, as the interactive graphics and adorable icons make navigating the website a real treat.
Admission is free, and the museum is open all year round from 8:00～17:00 (from April to November) (Last admission at 16:30) or 8:00～16:00 (from December to March) (Last admission at 15:30).