Mt. Takao/Mt. Jimba – A Mountain Adventure

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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!

Mount Takao-Station Sign-Michael Kent-TUJ-FL15

Big letters, difficult to miss

Mount Takao-Butterfly-Michael Kent-TUJ-FL15

Nature, it’s so beautiful

Mount Takao-Trail Head-Michael Kent-TUJ-FL15

The cable car station; so quaint

Mount Takao-Jizo-Michael Kent-TUJ-FL15

Just some Jizo statues on the side of the trail

Mount Takao-Kanto Plain-Michael Kent-TUJ-FL15

What a view of the Kanto plain

Mount Takao-Onigiri Set-Michael Kent-TUJ-FL15

A light lunch to keep the legs pumping

Mount Takao-Rest spot-Michael Kent-TUJ-FL15

One of the “summits” for the weary traveler

Mount Takao-Valley-Michael Kent-TUJ-FL15

Mountains, valleys, fresh air; what more can you ask for?

Mount Takao-Closeup summit approach-Michael Kent-TUJ-FL15

Approaching Mt. Jimba summit, the summit-house looks so inviting!!

Mount Takao-Photo at the Summit-Michael Kent-TUJ-FL15

A picture of Ogihara-san and I at the summit! 857m above sea level, 19km from the station!

Mount Takao-Goat Statue-Michael Kent-TUJ-FL15

Is it a goat? Is it a ram? Or is it a Giraffe? Most importantly, how did they get it all the way up here???

Mount Takao-Sunset-Michael Kent-TUJ-FL15

Long days and lovely sunsets are what I live for…

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