Japan is being very densely populated especially in Tokyo, my city, so a trip to the big outdoors can be a real relief from this busy city. Mount Takao, a small but lovely mountain in western Tokyo can be one alternative for that purpose. Being only an hour away from Tokyo by train, it is very popular, especially when the sun is out.
Yesterday, although I did not really shape for it, I was convinced by my friends to climb that mountain with them, to survey for the bigger event in the following week. For all of us (4 people), it was the first time. The night before, I was so pessimistic because it was raining, and the wheather forecast in Yahoo!Japan said that i’d be rain on the next day. Even so, like the Javanese proverb, “Rawe-rawe rantas, malang-malang mutung”, I convinced myself and my fellows just to go ahead. I hoped that rainy weather might also have helped keep people away, and it was really nice not to have to deal with the usual crowds.
image source: takaotozan.co.jp
Because it was the first time, we just follow the instruction of the security center in the gate of the mountain, that’s to climb the first trail (１号路）. The first kilometres was a very boring hiking course since in our left, right and surroundings were only big and tall trees,and in front of us was only steep pavement. The air was so humid, and sometimes the fog was so thick I couldn’t see anything. At that time, the women was always complaining, to take a longer rest ^_^); I felt kinda ashamed to see how old men climbed the mountain without taking any rest.
After climbing the long and never-ending well-paved-path, we reached the Takao-San Station, a station of Japan Most Steep Railway, a station of cable car and two-seated cable chair/lift. The scenery from that point was really worth it, and fortunately the fog had cleared up. Besides, the guide sign said that we can see even Shinjuku skyscrapers and Tokyo Harbor from that station, as you can see from this image. By the way, in that station there are many convenient facilities such as toilets, vending machines, benches and some scopes (but you must pay 100 yen to see through). You can also buy some traditional snack called yaki-dango (sticky rice balls, grilled on a braise, but actually it tastes so plain ^_^).
We continued our trip walk through the 1st Trail, and the view was entirely different. The maple tree has begun to change their color, and along the way, there were red painted night lamps, small shops, monkeys park and some budha statues, which made the path so colorful. And unlike the first kilometres, the path was more crowded. I think they’re lazy (ups, did not have time, I mean) to climb so they used the train. And surprisingly, there were cars passed that mountain pavement. How well developed is this mountain!!
Our next stop was Yakuoin Temple, a huge budhist temple just a couple hundred meters from the summit. Like the usual Japanese Budhist temples, there were some small shops selling souvenirs, fortune-telling papers and charms. We took rest and some photographs there for some minutes then continue our journey to the summit. The way to the summit wasn’t really tough, but the wet soil was little bit disturbing. Fortunately we found a beautiful scenery, a combination of fog, trees shadow, and the shy sunlight like the pictures below.
Shortly after walking some hundreds meters , finally we reach the summit!!! From the Takao-San Guchi Station, it took 3 hours, including taking photographs, rest in every 200 meters and at very slow pace. The summit itself is also very urban in some ways. Other than the always present vending machines, you can choose from several stalls where to buy your hot food. The visitor centre, also at the summit, shows an interesting picture taken in the early 1950s, where the top of this mountain was treeless. Wood shortages during the war meant that locals helped themselves to whatever there was around. However, today it has all grown back and it is now quite difficult to get a good view except through some gaps in the vegetation. On a clear day, it is said that you can see Mt. Fuji from here.
Here’s some photographs i’ve taken just for fun, not for the documentation. They’re taken with my beloved Canon 5D, Tamron 28-75mm 2.8 and EF 135mm 2.0 L.