On most weekends, I just chill at home, clean my apartment, do my laundry, and watch Bones or Poirot. Sometimes, I go out with my friends. However, when they are busy and I’m not and I just don’t want to stay at home, I get really bored. So I end up surfing the internet and look for something interesting. Moreover, whenever I’m so bored and if I have some extra money, I just go out with my camera and explore.
I live close to Tokyo so I often go there. Tokyo doesn’t only consists of people who are always in a hurry, anime shops, ramen shops, skyscrapers, crowded train stations, and neon lights. If you know where to look, you can find old shopping alleys, something traditional, and plenty of bookstores that sell secondhand books in good condition.
As I have mentioned earlier, if I’m bored and I have some extra money to spend, I go out and explore. That was the case on the day I decided to go hiking on Mount Takao. There are other famous mountains for hiking all around Japan. Mount Fuji being the most famous. The Yatsugatake Mountain Range in Yamanashi is also famous among avid hikers. Legend has it that Yatsugatake used to be higher than Mount Fuji. Anyway, I should start talking about Mount Takao.
Mount Takao is in Hachioji, Tokyo. The nearest station is Takaosanguchi Station on the Keio Takao Line. The station was recently renovated and was designed by Kengo Kuma. He’s one of many famous Japanese architects. Some of his works are the Asakusa Tourist Center in Asakusa and the Nezu Museum in Minami-Aoyama.
Once you get off the station, you can start your journey to Mount Takao’s peak. I think there are 9 or 10 trails to the peak of Mount Takao. I wanted to go through Trail 6(Biwa Waterfall Trail) because, on certain days, you can see monks doing ascetic training near the waterfall. However, luck was not on my side the day I went. Trail 6 was closed from 9AM-4PM because a tree fell down. I was a bit disappointed. So instead of Trail 6, I hiked my way to the top through Trail 7(Inariyama Trail). There’s an observatory midway where you can rest for a while, enjoy the view of some parts of Tokyo, and eat whatever food you brought with you. There are no garbage bins along the trails so everyone takes their garbage back home with them. It was my first time hiking so I didn’t take much pictures on my way up because the trail is unpaved. I was more concerned of getting my way to the top safely. Along the way, I met other people, foreign and local, and greeted each other with the default “konnichiwa”. Some were doing cross country training.
After a few hours, I finally reached the top. Yay! There were many people taking pictures at the peak’s sign. Of course, I had my picture taken too. I relaxed for a while and ate vanilla ice cream. After some time, I was ready to descend. On my way down, I walked through Trail 1 which is said to be the easiest trail because it’s paved. I was able to take lots of pictures along Trail 1.
Trail 1 is where you can see Takao-san Yakuo-in Temple. I love Japanese Temples and Shrines. In general, I love old buildings with simple yet elegant architecture. So I took pictures of the temple. In the area, you can see the tengu’s of Mount Takao. Tengu are legendary creatures considered as gods or supernatural beings. They are messengers to the gods. They look kind of creepy but are pretty much interesting.
There are a number of things you can see along Trail 1. After walking for quite some time, I reached the base, sat down for a while to rest my tired legs and bought omiyage before going home.
Since it’s summer vacation right now in Japan, I might go to Mount Takao again anytime soon. Hopefully, the next time I go there, Trail 6 will be open.