Mt Takao is perfect for beginners. It’s slope is not too steep, mostly well paved and equipped with signboards and picnic tables. Halfway up is a fabulous view of Tokyo and Kawasaki city, a view reserved for the climbers since you cannot get there with the lift. Flying squirrels inhabit the woods around Mt Takao, but apart from the bronze statue in front of the mountain, I have yet to see one. Have you spotted any?
Other animals one can spot at Takao are monkeys. But, these do not roam freely in the forest since they live in captivity in the Monkey Park on the mountain (accessible by lift as well). It is said that Japanese children who are naughty whilst climbing the mountain with their parents risk being left behind in the park, only to turn into monkeys. Maybe that’s why Japanese children are so exceptionally well-behaved…
Mt Takao cable car and lifts:
Price: 470 yen one way (children 230 yen, children under three years ride free)
Lifts start daily at 08:00, closing time depending on the season, but usually around 17:30-18:00.
Check http://www.takaotozan.co.jp/takaotozan_eng1/timeprice/ for exact times.