At 986 metres, Mt. Takanawa is one of the highest mountains within the borders of Matsuyama city. Its distinctive shape, topped with a huge radio mast, can be seen from many parts of the city. The mountaintop is often cloaked in cloud, and in January and February, the top is sometimes dusted with snow. The whole northwestern triangle of Shikoku, the Takanawa Peninsula, is named after the mountain.
Mt. Takanawa, or Takanawa-san as it’s called in Japanese, is a good mountain to climb. It’s easily accessible from Matsuyama, and it doesn’t require a lot of preparation or equipment. There are two main paths to the top that are well marked and maintained. Doing an up-and-down hike on either is satisfying, although going up one and down the other is also an option.
The fauna and flora of Takanawa-san are one of the joys of climbing the mountain – they make their presence felt wherever you are. The mountain has a variety of ecosystems. There are groves of bamboo on the lower reaches, plantations of evergreens, and deciduous forests that change very visibly with the seasons. There are many flowering trees too, including huge cherry trees that blossom pink in season.
These forests are home to many kinds of birds, whose calls can be heard constantly. They’re not shy, and often you can see them going about their business at close range. There are deer and wild boar too, which sometimes show themselves.
Near the top of the mountain is Takanawa-ji Temple, an atmospheric Buddhist temple associated with the Kono clan of Hojo, whose crest of three horizontal bars can be seen around the temple. You can get simple noodle dishes and coffee at the cafeteria attached to the temple. On the fourth Sunday of October, the Kono Clan Festival is held at the temple, with a lion dance, classical Japanese music, and a fire-walking ceremony. In spring, the large weeping cherry tree is a very pretty sight.
At the top of the mountain is the radio tower and an observation deck offering a fine view over the whole Takanawa Peninsula, from Matsuyama to Imabari. You can see many of the islands of the Seto Inland Sea, with ships passing between them.
There’s a distinct temperature difference between the top and the bottom of the mountain, so be prepared for the lower temperatures at the top. If you’re walking or cycling, take plenty of water, because there’s nowhere to buy refreshments except at the top.
The mountain is part of the Shikoku no Michi walk that circles the whole of the island of Shikoku.
Name in Japanese: 高縄山
Address: Sarukawa, Matsuyama, Ehime 799-2415