with patience, a crush can be overcometh
the golden week started that weekend. but no matter. our time in tokyo was finite. and saturday was to be the day for takaosan.
still, we were completely taken aback by the size of the crowd. on route #1, the entire path was filled with people – not a single stone/tile was left unoccupied. at the summit, there was hardly space to walk through (lots of picnickers). here’s proof:
mt takao is very popular with tokyoites. it is connected directly by train to tokyo/shinjuku (less than 1 hour). it is large and offers up many trails for exploration. there are ample amenities ie cable car, shrines, restaurants etc to suit every pursuit. on good days, you can see the city of tokyo and mt fuji from the summit.
from tokyo, take a train to takaosan guchi. out from the station, you’d see this huge signage. you can find out more about the hiking trails here.
but the main draw was still the green. walking the trails in the shade of the big trees, getting in touch with nature (stop using that mobile phone!), smelling the flowers etc. it was a great way to relax the mind while we exercised our bodies.
if like us, you’d forgotten to pack your rations, you can purchase a bowl of pipping hot soba at the rest stations.
after the summit, we headed up/down another trail (don’t ask me where, i was following blindly!) and ended up at another rest station where there’s a nice little shop and a big sakura tree. that was a perfect place for chilling out, watching the world went by and chatting with friends.
from the teashop, we headed in the direction of lake sagami. by then, the crowd had thinned considerably. it began to feel more like a real hike.
when we emerged from the trail, we were treated to this beautiful scene. a whole village nestled in the valley.
we loved our breaks. at the end of the takao trail we came upon another little shop (hurray!). and it sold beer! (double hurray!) let the drinking begin …
2 of us were so engrossed with the flowers that we got separated from the group without realising that they’d turn into a secret path. luckily we met a couple who were walking their dogs; the man (who looked quite burly and didn’t seem like the friendly sort) was concerned by our seeming lack of sense of direction, passed the leash to his partner and walked us to the path. phew! saved by friendly local!
lesson learnt: do not judge a burly man by his beard.
we were happy we made it to sagami station while there was still light (around 6pm). we didn’t walk very far that day, i think it was only about 12-13km but we took a darn long time (too busy snapping photos, too many breaks, too many distractions). in hindsight, it was certainly worth going against the crush to do it. and we were thankful for our malaysian friends based in tokyo, who organised this hike just for us and patiently waited all the way.
thank you so much, lorena, may, sharon and nick!