Near there summit there is Yakuoin – a shinto temple dedicated to god Izuna. It's messengers and protectors of the shrine are tengu (mountain spirits depicted as bird-man with, either very long nose, or a beak instead of mouth. The one with the beak is supposed to still be an apprentice, whereas the one with big nose is supposed to be the one that attained spiritual power through religious training. In many pictures tengu are also depicted holding a fan which, in some stories, is supposed to create wind or, if linked to a shrine, to sweep misfortune and bring good luck.
- TRANSPORTATION: go to Shinjuku station. Find Keio Line and go to Takaosanguchi station. Travel takes around 1h and the cost of the ticket is 390yen (~ 3,5$). If you don't want to climb all the way you take either cable car or chair lift to the middle of the mountain. One way ticket is 480 yen (one way), 930 yen (round trip). They accept SUICA and PASMO cards.
- ORIENTATION – Takaosanguchi station is just at the foot of the mountain. Near the station gates is a Tourist Information Center. It might be good to drop by. They can give a simplified map of the area and provide with important information (fr example f any f the trails is currently closed). They also speak good English. You should also be aware that the trails in Japan in general are relatively poorly marked and they don't have signs on each fork of the road. I got lost because of that, when I was descending using Inariyama trail. If you find yourself in the same situation, just pick any trail that goes down. They pretty much all lead to the town in the end so there's no need to panic.
- SUMMIT – when you hike on tail no 1 eventually you'll get to the Yakuoin temple. There's the point where you start getting confused since, once again... there are no signs which would show where is the trail to he summit. I was running around the temple for half an hour until I found it (in the end I had to ask a guy selling protective charms). So if you're lost at the temple, go upstairs to the tori gate (big, red gate) and there you'll see a shrine with two tengu in front of the gate. The path to the summit is behind this shrine (you have to walk around it).
- FOOD – Mt Takao is very touristy so along trail no 1 there are a lot of stands with food, small restaurants and vending machines with soft drinks. This area is especially famous for soba (buckwheat noodles – they have brownish/ greyish colour compared to normal noodles). I stopped for kitsune soba (750yen) in a small restaurant close to the monkey park. I liked the place because of the view and because the shop featured traditional Japanese room, where you could sit on the floor.
- ONSEN – after all day of hiking you deserve to spoil yourself a little. Going to hot spring is just a perfect way to end your day full of walking. Takaosan onsen is conveniently located just behind the railway station (there is a tunnel next to the station gates). Entrance fee is 1000 yen (~9$) if you have your own towel. If you need to rent a towel is another 500 yen. The place is very pleasant. It has a few open door pools, each one with different temperature (from 37-42oC). After soaking in to your hart's content, it takes only one minute to get to the train back to Tokyo.