Mount Takao for Autumn Foliage

Mount Takao autumn Mount Takao fall
Mount Takao autumn crowded
coming out of the station
DON'T DO IT! If you want to see more people than autumn leaves, come to Takao! Seriously though, it's extremely unpleasant. Have you ever had to "line up" when hiking? Well, this is worse than climbing Mount Fuji... Imagine the crowdedness of Shinjuku Station on a mountain. Go elsewhere... go a little farther to Mitake or Okutama to see fewer people and more red leaves. Don't even dream of taking the cable car, as the line for that is super long.... beyond your wildest imagination. I think people come here because it's the closest mountain to the city and the easiest for hiking, but trust me, a weekend in autumn is definitely not the time to visit Takao. You WILL regret it.
Mount Takao hiking map

Trail 1 for city folks

Trail 6 for nature lovers
On a normal day, Mount Takao is totally pleasant. There a quite a few trails to choose from to hike the 599 m mountain or you can even take the cable car.

Trail 1 to the right of the cable car station is paved all the way, with gradual slopes leading to the temple. You can probably get away with wearing sandals and a dress. There are drink vending machines plus a few shops and restaurants along the way.

Trail 6 to the left of the cable car station is mostly narrow packed mud with branches and sometimes rocks. It's a lovely shaded walk along a small stream, with subtle incline. Even though it's very easy, you need runners at least, as some bits are damp and muddy. There are no vending machines along the way.

I managed to see Mount Fuji up top despite it being a cloudy day - pretty awesome view! Fairly popular even on a weekday but wasn't unpleasantly crowded like during autumn leaves season. There are no garbage cans or recycling bins at all. There's a hot spring spa right next to Takaosanguchi Station.
M o u n t     O y a m a
Another popular mountain not too far away from central Tokyo is Mount Oyama 大山 in Kanagawa which is twice is high at 1252 m. While it may not be so difficult that it's undoable, it is pretty strenuous and you need to be reasonably fit. If going continuously uphill on steep uneven stone steps, branches, leaves, and loose rocks is not your idea of fun, this is probably not the place for you. It's not an easy walk in the forest but an actual hike you need sensible shoes to complete.

The stretch from the bus stop to the cable car station is lined with shops and restaurants/ryokan, many selling multi-dish tofu sets. From the 1st cable station to the 2nd one, it's not so bad but it starts to get quite steep from there. After the last cable car station past the temple, it becomes even more challenging.

Another option if you don't mind missing the viewpoints is to just take the cable car to the last stop and walk back down (trail down is next to the nice coffee shop) although going back down is not exactly a cakewalk either as it's a bit hard on the knees - beautiful though. The bus back was packed with equally sweaty people even on a weekday.
Mount Oyama
Mount Oyama trails Mount Oyama hiking

lunch at one of the ryokan on the way

7-item tofu set for 1700 yen

trail beyond Afuri Jinja Shrine 阿夫利神社
Onnazaka Trail
Onna-zaka Trail 女坂

Afuri Jinja Shrine 阿夫利神社

Oyama-dera Temple 大山寺