Spots Around Takao and Hachioji

Mt. Takao is a prime draw for making a trip to Hachioji, but there are plenty of other enticing places to visit while in the area and get an eyeful (or belly full) of memories to take home.

Takao Komagino Garden

Located about a 15-minute walk from Takao Station, the estate itself was originally built in the 1930s and later opened to the public in 2012 to preserve the traditional Japanese architecture and expansive garden as much as possible.

The garden’s circular arrangement around a pond is similar to Kyoto’s Kinkaku-ji, and it is the only Japanese garden in Hachioji. Pathways lead visitors around to view bonsai trees, a Zen rock garden (one of the few in the Kanto region), brightly colored koi in the pond, various flowers, and more.

In short, the garden offers a rare opportunity to see several elements of Japanese culture all in one spot. The garden also features draws for each season, plum blossoms in spring, lotus in summer, the reds and yellows of autumn, and snow-covered pine trees in winter.

Light refreshments like coffee, matcha green tea, and Japanese sweets are offered inside as well—what could go better with a front-row view of Hachioji’s sole Japanese garden?

Kogesawa Plum Grove

Come early spring, the roughly 1,400 plum blossom trees in the Kogesawa Plum Grove bloom and transform the hillside it’s situated on into a veritable canvas of white, pink, and red.

There are several other plum groves dotting the area along the old Koshu-Kaido highway and nearby Kobotoke River, but Kogesawa, which sits near the last stop on the roughly 4.5 km course (10,000 trees in all!), is a treat as it is not only the biggest one, but it’s also only open to visitors when the trees are at their most beautiful.

You can bring in food and drink to have a Japanese-style picnic under the blossoms and take in their fragrance with your sandwich or rice ball. Fur-babies are allowed in as well but be sure to take what they “deposit” back with you!

Open yearly from early to mid-March.

Ukai Japanese Restaurants

Ukai is a chain of almost 20 luxury Japanese restaurants found throughout Japan (and some overseas) that began with the original Ukai Toriyama, founded in a small village nestled in a valley behind Mt. Takao. The Ukai dining experience each establishment strives to provide is three-faceted: an atmosphere with a story, the finest cuisine, and Japanese omotenashi service and hospitality.

Ukai Toriyama

In line with this concept, Ukai Toriyama awaits you tucked into a lush 20,000 m2 garden behind Mt. Takao and presents an ambiance as if you’ve gone back in time or stepped onto a samurai film set.

Surrounded on all sides by the mountain scenery and sitting around a traditional irori hearth, the chefs prepare and grill the locality’s specialty chicken on along with other seasonal cuisine while the staff do their utmost to ensure a first-class Japanese culinary experience that leaves you amazed as well as satisfied. If dining in the summer, the fireflies—or lightning bugs to others—come out and add a special touch to the atmosphere. Sakura trees await you should you pay a visit in the spring and the autumn will bring out the vivid colors of the surrounding trees, only adding flavor to the scenery and your dishes.

Ukai Chikutei

Located a stone’s throw from the original restaurant is Ukai Chikutei, which presents a similar back-in-time atmosphere, with an expansive garden where the gentle breeze filtering through the bamboo trees and the sound of the small river flowing nearby prepares you for what awaits inside.

Chikutei specializes in traditional Japanese kaiseki multi-course meals, prepared with the finest seasonal ingredients with skilled chefs drawing out the totality of their natural flavors. The restaurant’s Japanese garden also brings different scenery to enjoy with your meal throughout the year. Imagine taking it all in with some freshly sliced sashimi and a cup of signature bamboo sake—divine.