Tokyo may be known as one of the world’s largest metropolises, but stretch your legs slightly beyond the urban centre and you’ll find great outdoor adventures within easy reach. During the summer months hardcore adventurers can tackle the conical peak of Mount Fuji on a challenging overnight climb, but for those who want to immerse themselves in the outdoors in a slightly more relaxed way, there are plenty of great options. With Japan’s rail system being highly efficient and affordable, jumping on the train to access the neighbouring prefectures is a breeze, or rent a car for even more flexibility. And be sure to keep your phone or camera handy – these are among the most photogenic places you’ll find within easy reach of the capital, and Instagrammable sights are everywhere.
HITACHI SEASIDE PARK
Just an hour and a half northeast of Tokyo lies the Hitachi Seaside Park, famed for its year-round fields of flowers. Spanning a total area of 350 hectares, the park is a riot of colour at any time of year but plan your trip to coincide with your favourite flowers and you’re in for a treat.
A short drive from Hitachi Seaside Park is Inaho Halal Ramen run by a Japanese Muslim couple serving delicious halal-certified noodles. The menu includes classic ramen and a changing selection of dishes inspired by the owners’ time spent in Indonesia. Not to be missed if you’re in the area.
Not a lot of people know that Tokyo is home to lush forest, dramatic mountain scenery and plenty of outdoor activities, even within the metropolitan city limits. One of the most easily accessible mountains is Mount Takao with hiking trails, a chair lift and a funicular railway providing access to the mountaintop for everyone. It takes around an hour to reach Takaosanguchi station by train from Shinjuku or Tokyo. Once there, those who want to stretch their legs and fill their lungs with fresh mountain air can set off on one of the numbered hiking trails, with varying levels of difficulty to satisfy all types of hikers. For visitors of determination, small children and those who just prefer to take it easy, the funicular offers a highly scenic journey and panoramic vistas. Mount Takao has been considered a sacred site for over 1,000 years, and the Yakuoin temple has been a popular spot for centuries. The temple also offers visitors the opportunity to experience a meal of shojin ryori, traditional Buddhist vegetarian cuisine meticulously prepared with a focus on bringing out the natural flavours of the ingredients. Reservations are a must and can only be made in Japanese, so if you’re keen to try ask your hotel Concierge to assist.
Mount Takao is very popular with Tokyo residents and can get busy on weekends and holidays. Time your visit for a weekday to avoid the crowds.
* The Embassy of Japan in the State of Qatar is participating in QTM 2021, to mark 50 years of excellent bilateral relations between the countries and to promote Japan as one of the safest and most unique tourist destinations in the world
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