You could be forgiven for thinking that Tokyo Fox has contractual obligations to include Mount Takao related posts each and every year. With that in mind, 2016 is a bumper year as this is the third post following on from the trip my wife and I made out that way in March to experience one of Japan’s quirkier festivals and to climb the mountain too.
The reason for my visit last week was more about just using up some free Keio Line tickets before their expiry date, getting some exercise and seeing the Autumn leaves was a bonus. I had a day off work last Monday and arrived at the foot of the mountain just before 10:30 am where I was surprised to see so many people waiting in line for the cable car and chair lift. I can only imagine that the day before (a weekend day) was absolutely heaving! Of course it didn’t matter to me as I was always going to be climbing the mountain and the route that I took was pretty much devoid of people.
As it turned out much of the best Autumn foliage ended up being on the short walk between the train station and the cable car.
Just to the left of the cable car station is the #6 route which I took four years back with my wife-to-be and at the start of that are some steps going up on what is known as the Inariyama trial. It didn’t take too long to arrive at a small shrine guarded by foxes.
This trail was a little muddy at times but generally good and a nice way to climb Mount Takao away from the crowds of what is the worlds busiest mountain. It’s not just people that are about though as there are, according to signs, also some snakes in attendance!
After about an hour I came to some steep steps where many of the different trails all meet up and at the top of them it all opened up to reveal hundreds and hundreds of people albeit not as many as when I last visited at this time of year in 2012. At the top we were able to see Mount Fuji in the distance which is always a bonus.
As ever I took a photo by the Japanese sign at the top but there has been a new addition since my last venture to the top. Now, there is a more prominent wooden pillar marking for people to get their picture taken next to.
After I’d hung around at the top for a bit I decided to start heading down the #1 trail where I glided by a couple of busy temples including the long nosed goblin one which had some very nice colourful leaves nearby.
As I came to the Monkey Park I then spotted a couple of people I knew. Not a great surprise as I had been mailing one of the girls below and knew they were on the mountain but had pretty much given up hope of seeing them. They were going into see the monkeys and so were actually on the other side of a fence when I whipped out my selfie stick and snapped a shot. I visited that particular place back in 2007 and wasn’t that impressed so decided to skip the chance of joining their all-female gang!
On the descend from there, I decided to get off the busy concrete path and take a slight detour through the vegetation to see Biwa Falls where I was surprised to see a group of people about to try an act of self discipline where they use all their inner strength to remain under the cascading fall waters for as long as possible. It’s a strength of a different nature to the high-adrenaline ones I usually prefer and one I have been banging on about wanting to do for many years now ever since I first saw it on episode of the ITV2 series ‘Jack Osbourne: Adrenaline Junkie‘. It will happen one day.
Sadly, I couldn’t see the participants under the icy cold waters as the area was closed off to your regular hikers passing by. I had a few places I wanted to stop off back closer to central Tokyo so continued on down the mountain where there was an even longer queue for the cable car. I was just thankful that I had managed to avoid the crowds for the main part yet had still managed to bump into some friends. I left Takaosanguchi just before 1:30 pm but I have no doubt I’ll be back sometime next year as it’s just too convenient a place to ignore when one wants to get away from the concrete jungle.
Click here to read ‘Fire-Walking Festival At Mount Takao’