Last weekend, we made a trip to outer Tokyo for a walk in the hills with some friends. Its still in greater Tokyo, but quite removed from the city centre. we took the train out here …
P and I were accompanied by 5 other happy adventurers for the day. Here we all are at the start of our wanderings around Mt Takao, or Takao-san as the locals call it.
Our adventurers (part 1)
Our adventurers part 2
The train took us almost to the very base of the mountain, where we had the choice of how to start our journey to the top; there was several walking trails, a cable car or a chair lift. The combination of inappropriate footwear for some of our group, and the fun idea of a chair lift won out in the end .. and we all jumped on a well serviced and staffed 12 minute chair lift ride. This is the view on the way up 🙂 It was such a fun ride.
A long way down
Not even at the top of Mt Takao yet, but at the top of the chair lift, we could see all the way back to Tokyo city (and its dominant landmarks – Skytree and Tokyo tower – and to Yokahama in the south.
We could see all the way to Tokyo and Yokohama
It was a little late for the best of the fall colours, these were really at their peak in the first week of December. But there was still some amazing colours around, at least where not all the leaves had yet fallen off the trees.
There were still some patches of fall colour on the trees
We reached to top of Mt Takao, it was not a taxing walk at all from the top of the chair lift. Although there was quite a few stairs on the way up, particularly as we passed through the shrines. It is amazing that there are several shrines on the mountain, as well as numerous souvenir and food outlets to satisfy all the day trippers (and there was lots of them, even though it was the start of winter and it was not very warm on that particularly day).
Can you see the Buddahs?
Temple entrance with incense burning alter
From the top of Mount Takao, we could see all the way to the central mountain range of Japan, including Mount Fuji. It was a relatively clear day, but unfortunately non of us were quite able to spot Mount Fuji through the low cloud cover. But we could definitely see the other mountains in the range. It was an amazing sight, and a real sense of how mountainous Japan’s landmass is.
Fuji-san is out there somewhere ….
One of the really notable things, was that the top of the mountain was a blanket of families and friends with picnic blankets spread out for lunchtime. They had planned ahead more than our gouup, and had packed all kinds of amazing food and drinks with them. Enviously we headed toward some of the eateries at the top to see what we could find for sustenance and to warm up a little. But even knowing how inflated prices are at such tourist spots, we were bedazzled by the prices, and decided to hold our hunger and try our luck at the base of the mountain. All power to the good planning of the Japanese, their picnics looked lovely. And even though they were essentially sitting in a dust bowl as people continually walked past their picnic blankets, they happily munched away on their pre-packed delicacies. I even saw that some groups had carried beer with them to the top of the mountain – keen!
While the view from the chair lift was spectacular, maybe next time we can take to the trails and walk our way to the top.
The view from the chair lift on the way down
River of red leaves
Japan V poses were all round us so we joined in