Like railways run by the Odakyu and Tokyu conglomerates, the Keio Line is operated by the Keio Group, which runs the Keio Department Store and numerous other businesses. The Keio Line runs for 38 kilometers westward from Shinjuku Station to Keio-Hachioji Station in Hachioji City. It’s located on the west side of JR Shinjuku Station.
While the Keio Line is a heavily used commuter service, with over 1 million passengers a day, it has a few sightseeing attractions, notably Mt. Takao.
The main attraction at Chofu is Jindaiji temple, one of the oldest Buddhist sanctuaries in the Kanto region – it was established in the 8th century. Its thatch-roofed gate dates to 1695 and is a rare architectural gem. The approach to the temple features traditional soba noodle restaurants and tea shops that evoke the atmosphere of centuries past; one tea house is dedicated to Shigeru Mizuki’s “GeGeGe no Kitaro” manga series. Nearby Jindai Botanical park has an impressive collection of nearly 5,000 species of plants including spectacular rose bushes.
Train fare: 240 yen
Train time: 16 minutes
Situated in the western foothills of Tokyo, Mt. Takao offers beautiful mountain scenery in an easy day trip from Shinjuku. At 599 meters, it can be climbed in about 90 minutes – a chair lift and cable car are also available, though they don’t go all the way to the summit. Attractions include fall foliage, views of Mt. Fuji on clear days, a Buddhist temple, a Shinto shrine and a monkey park.
After the climb, you can relax in a newly opened onsen hot-spring bath located adjacent to Takaosanguchi Station. If possible, avoid the crowds at Mt. Takao on weekends and national holidays.
From Shinjuku Station, several semi-express trains per hour run all the way to Takaosanguchi Station; otherwise a transfer is required at Kitano Station.
Train fare: 390 yen
Train time: 55 minutes
Information on discount passes, tickets and a guide to the mountain at Keio railway website.
Article by Tim Hornyak. All rights reserved.