I’ve been eating way too much ramen and tempura lately. Even though I walk around for 3-4 hours a day, it was time to do some more strenuous exercise. The weather was nice today, so we decided to go to Mt. Takao for an afternoon hike.
Travel Tip: To get to Mt. Takao, take the Keio Line from Shinjuku Station to Takaosanguchi Station. Make sure to catch the express train.
Mt. Takao has a number of hiking trails. Since Ayaka already hiked Trail #1 last time and we were sort of low on time, we chose Trail #4. I’m really curious about the Takao-Jimba Trail and how it compares to the Red Rock Canyon hikes I did out in Las Vegas. Turtlehead Peak was killer!
There were a bunch of restaurants at the base of the mountain, so we had a quick lunch before starting the hike. In hindsight, I don’t know why I thought it would be a good idea to eat lunch right before going on a hike. Don’t do it.
Mt. Takao reportedly attracts over 2.6 million people annually. That’s approximately 7,120 people per day. I don’t have the best visualization skills when it comes to numbers, but this statistic is impressive. Despite it being a Saturday afternoon, we must’ve caught Mt. Takao on a fairly low traffic day because it didn’t feel hectic or crowded at all during the hike.
Below is a statue of Jizo (地蔵), a bodhisattva or enlightened being in East Asian Buddhism. Jizo is often depicted as a buddhist monk, and his name roughly translates to “earth treasury”. In Japan, Jizo statues are thought to offer protection for travelers and children, which explains their abundance along Mt. Takao’s trails. Locals routinely dress Jizo with red knit caps and bibs. The color red represents safety and protection, and the process of dressing gives people a chance to interact with Jizo and receive good luck.
Hiking… hiking… hiking…
As we approached this observation point, I spotted a snack stand selling Dippin’ Dots. I used to have this overpriced stuff all the time back in the USA. The question is why a snack stand at Mt. Takao is selling Dippin’ Dots.
Here’s a shot from the observation point.
At some point, we realized we were hiking on Trail #1 the whole time. Oops.
Hiking… hiking… hiking… We eventually found our way to Trail #4 and arrived at the suspension bridge.
Three rolls of toilet in the middle of the forest. How mysterious…
A short while later, we reached the top of Mt. Takao. This dude needs to get off his phone for a few minutes and turn around.
I really like Mt. Takao because it’s a really casual hike – one that you can decide to do the day of without any extensive preparation. That’s why it was so interesting to see so many hikers completely decked out in hiking apparel and huge backpacks, while Ayaka and I showed up in jeans and sweatshirts with a small camera bag. I concluded that Japanese people really love hiking gear, and it’s simply part of the hiking experience. I just wonder what could possibly be in those backpacks for a 2-3 hour easy hike.
We passed a few shrines on the way down…
If you’re looking for a quick escape from Tokyo’s craziness, a quick hike at Mt. Takao might just do the trick. It certainly did for me. Man, my legs are tired…
Good night from Tokyo!