Adventurer’s Log -Oct. 8th-
I have embarked on journey seeking something other than the endless buildings that comprise Tokyo. Today, I have found a small patch of wilderness that those of the area call “Mount Takao.” A meager 45 minute train ride from Shibuya, I was shocked by how popular this particular mountain was. I recall seeing 2 folks dressed up in hiking gear at Shibuya station and thinking to myself, “they’re probably going to the same place as I am.” The first 2 were joined by another 2, and then more and more kept appearing with each station we passed in our small train car. Eventually, it became so that I had to struggle to get through all of the hikers blocking the doors to the platform because so many had congregated on that day.
After my little warm-up of worming my way through the crowd, I saw the sign that finally notified me that I had arrived. In big kanji characters, the sign made no effort to be discreet and letting all who had arrived that they had indeed arrived at Mt. Takao. At the base was a lovely cable car, but my hiker spirit told me to take the trail, to which I was not disappointed. The path led up a creek with little blocks in place that you could step on so that your footwear wouldn’t get soaked. The summit of Mt. Takao (3km from the base) was lovely and gave a great view of Mt. Fuji, but I wanted something a little more intense, so I undertook the voyage (another 16km) to the next mountain: Mt. Jimba.
Along the way, there were several other “summits,” which were more-or-less small rest stops that had amenities and benches. It was between these that I recognized a certain hiker that I happened to be hiking behind for most of the hike. About halfway to Mt. Jimba, I introduced myself, and we struck up a passionate conversation in our mix of broken Japanese and English about our hiking experiences. Turns out my new-found friend, Ogihara-san, had done this particular hike several times before: 27 times to be exact. I was astonished by his resilience and endurance to be able to do this long hike so many times! When I mentioned my age, he was also surprised because he had never met anyone as young as me undertake this hike, and he was happy to take a photo with me at the summit (depicted below). It was great to make a new friend and enjoy the outdoors so close to Tokyo; you never know what you’ll run into if you just get out there!