the 1st floor gift shop of the newly opened Sumika on Mt. Takao | all photos by Masao Nishikawa

Visiting Mt. Takao is one of our favorite get-out-of-Tokyo excursions. In a podcast we did last year with Tofugu we talked about all the great things that Mt. Takao has including a beautiful train station, a wonderful hands-on museum for kids and of course a beautiful hike. Now there’s another reason to go: the new Sumika restaurant and gift shop where you can get a good cup of coffee and some Tengu-themed sweets before the ascent.

on nice days, sliding doors can be fully opened, connecting the space to the outdoors

The Takaotozan Railway company originally opened a small eatery in the location back in 1978. The outdated shop had standing-room only and was overdue for a renovation so Naruse Inokuma Architects were brought on to not only make structural improvements but to create a more modern destination that would welcome hikers. In recent years Japan has seen explosive interest in outdoor activities like camping and hiking. Mt. Takao is easily accessible from Tokyo, making it a popular day-trip destination.

Sumika opened on April 1, 2018 and is located in the same location as its predecessor: right next to the Takaosan cable car station. You’ll see it when you exit the lift after taking the 6-minute ride up the mountain. “The interior contains three levels that gradually rise up to house souvenir shops, a restaurant, and a café space,” says the architects, explaining that they designed the long space to be incorporated with the incline of the street. “The length of the building facing the street is lined with sliding doors that can be fully opened on nice days to connect the building with the outdoors. ”

steps leading up to the 2nd floor Sumika Table cafe