Mt Takao’s Yakuoin Temple might be famous for its firewalking rituals, but February 22nd 2014 has something a little different in store. The temple is holding a ritual dedicated to soba noodles. Mt Takao is famous for its tororo soba made with grated yam, so Yakuoin is the obviously choice for honouring the humble noodle.
Mt Takao is a small mountain about an hour’s train ride from Tokyo, and is a popular day out for city dwellers. There are several temples and shrines on the mountain, with the Yakuoin Temple being the main one. On a clear day the view from the top of the mountain can stretch out to Tokyo and Yokohama on one side, and over to Mount Fuji on the other. The quickest way up the mountain is by cable car but energetic visitors can hike one of the three trails to the summit in around 90 minutes.
In honour of the soba ritual, there will be a special “Soba Express” train leaving Tokyo for Mount Takao. Board the train at 9.37am at Oshima station, or get on at 10.02am at Shinsen Shinjuku. You’ll arrive at Mount Takao at 11am, just in time to take your place for the soba worship. Travellers on the train get souvenir toothpicks and chopsticks, and tickets are the same price as normal (¥370) with no reservations needed.