Thursday, 14 April 2016

Take a Hike: Mount Takao!

My adventure to Mt. Takao began on a train. The fastest route from where I live to Mt. Takao should have taken about 50 minutes by train. So, after sitting on the train for 70 minutes and noticing that I wasn't even half way, I knew something was wrong. That's when I realized that not all trains are the same. At least not the ones to headed towards Mt. Takao. I should have taken the express train, but instead I took the local one! And to make things even more confusing, there is a third type called the semi-express! The difference between these trains is that the semi-express and express skip quite a few stops, which makes them much faster than the local one. Realizing my mistake, I got off at the next station and then waited about 20 minutes for the next express train. And what a difference it made. Within 20 minutes I was at the transfer station and then it only took me 20 minutes to get to Mt. Takao. 

The train station. 

The first thing I was greeted by after exiting the station to Mt. Takao was this beautiful map of the area! There are about seven trails. 

A map detailing the various trails to get to the summit of Mt. Takao. 

My initial plan was to start with Trail 6, get to the summit and do Trail 5 (a loop around the summit), then descend via the Inariyama Trail. You'll see how that plan goes soon...

Hooray for signs! 

The start of trail 6. 

Saw this while hiking.

Parts of trail 6. 

The view from one side of the summit. 

Sansai soba (buckwheat noodles with mountain vegetables)

After recharging with soba and taking in the view, I felt more recharged than ever. So, I took my original plan of doing only three trails and threw it to the wind! I decided to do three more trails - one that would take me off the summit, one that would take me into the middle of the mountain, and then one that would take me back up to the summit. 

That was the new plan! Until I got lost. 

I took a wrong turn somewhere and ended up finding this!

And this...

Oh, and this!

And then I can't forget these...

I was still pretty eager to conquer the trails, so I ended up turning back instead of exploring further. It turns out that I had ventured off to was the Yakuoin Temple area when I missed a turn and ended up going straight. I eventually made it back onto Trail 3.  

Then, Trail 3 led to Trail 2. 


Unfortunately, I wasn't able to complete Trail 2 because rather than being a direct trail, it loops around in a circle and I lost track of the second half of the circle. So, I ended up proceeding onwards to Trail 4, which took me back up to the summit. 


After making it back to the summit of Mt. Takao, it was time to refuel again!

Matcha ice cream. 

After finishing my loop around the summit (completing Trail 5), I noticed the view that I missed during my initial ascent. There, right in front of me, so close and yet so far, was Mt. Fuji. It was breathtaking. 

Can you spot Mt. Fuji?

I then proceeded down the summit, back towards the station via the Inariyama Trail. 

Glimpses from the Inariyama Trail. 

After making it back to the train station, I then proceeded to reward myself with food (again).  

Dango - Japanese dumplings made from rice flour!

Then I saw something that made me happy. There was a station for cleaning up your shoes that came complete with things to scrub them! 

After the long day, I felt tired but at least my shoes looked brand new. 

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