There were several temples and shrines, trees with unique shapes and histories. Several stairs, lanterns, torii and much more. A spectacular walk.
A bit of a late start again as I was trying to sort out the camera dangling issue before heading for Mt Takao. I eventually settled on a back pack that will house up to 3 lenses, my camera, purse, phone and for when I am going on the plane, passport, iPad and the usual detritus that can be found in my hand bag. Bonus it can also be carried as a bag with handles on top. No more fearing knocking things over in shops. Thankfully the BIC Camera store was close to the station.
I didn’t have to wait long for the next train and 55 minutes later I was at Takao-sanguchi. I was able to stow my Tory Burch in a locker and head off on my hike.
I chose route 1 being the longest path. I also discovered that the whole of route 1 is paved. The terrain is a bit easier but it is still steep. It took just over an hour and a half to reach the peak 955m above sea level. There are two more difficult routes but route 1 suited me fine. While the paving was handy being a nice level surface it takes a bit fun out of hiking. Might use one of the other routes next time.
Apparently on a clear day you have a great view of Fuji-san from the peak. Sadly I will have to make a return trip as the day was cloudy and the mountain ranges in the distance were misty. From another part of the route up you can also get a view across to Tokyo.
There were plenty of signs showing the types of wildlife on the mountain, including monkeys. There is a monkey zoo with a breeding program but I stayed on the path rather than detouring. About halfway up are the cable car and chairlift stations, food and drink stalls. I was getting a bit peckish on the way back down so decided to try Dango. A skewer with balls of rice that are grilled and then covered in sauce. Oishii (delicious)!!!
For a bit of excitement I took the chair lift down. I have never been on one before and it was quite thrilling even though there was a level of danger to the experience. No belts or safety harnesses you just hold on to the edge of the chair.
A little walk around town revealed there is a optical illusion museum, where you can take some funky photos and a museum dedicated to the flora and fauna of the region. A lovely walk along the river took me back to the station.
After washing the mud off my boots and liberating my bag from the locker, it was back on the train to return to Tokyo, a glass of umeshu and soda and an early night.
Thanks for dropping by… pop back to see more of my exploring new areas (for me) of Tokyo.
After breakfast I walked over to Shimbashi Station and caught the train out to Kamakura. Two reasons for going to Kamakura – hiking and Ajisai season. The temple at Hase-dera is well known for it’s Ajisai display so that was my destination after my hike.
The hike wasn’t a huge one about 3km but there was a small mountain involved.
After checking with the tourist office for the hiking routes, I really needed some caffeine as I didn’t have any at breakfast. The Delifrance at the station sorted that issue out fast.
I just missed one bus and the next one was a 20 minute wait. Naturally the clouds gave way to a perfect blue sky and I was standing in the sun for that time. My hiking gear for the day was a little on the unprepared side. Clear plastic umbrella, well there was a 50% chance of storms, no sunglasses and no hat. I did however have 2 cameras and 2 extra lenses. A Tory Burch handbag is not really appropriate for hiking either.
The route starts near Meigetsu-in bus stop on the north side of Kamakura not far from Lita-Kamakura station. Quite a pretty area. The path starts right next to the bus stop so access is super easy. There is a pretty little pond on the right and some Torii gates lead to Jochi-ji Temple.
The first kilometre is paved as it is also a road for local residents. The incline is fairly gentle at the start but later on gets a little steeper, but not too much. At about the half way point there is Kuzuharaoka Jinja, with a pond to sit by, a shrine to pray for love, vending machines for a cold drink or snack and a picnic area. A nice spot for a little rest, get an oracle(in English) and break a small ceramic dish on a rock to cast away bad luck. Near by are some the graves of some important locals. Did I mention spectacular views??
Back on the trail there were some easy bits and some hard bits. I HATE wet clay, so slippery underfoot, but I stayed upright. One scary bit towards the end where you have a short, narrow, steep descent requiring you to hold on to a rope.
Then you hit the residential area in the hills with spectacular views across the town to the ocean, you can hear the waves breaking as you trek along. A stand of luscious bamboo with a sign “Caution Vipers” made me a little more wary. No way I was crossing to get closer to the bamboo. Kites were also flying above the tree line, hopefully on the hunt for vipers.
And then a steep descent down stairs bought me to within 300m of Kotoku-in, home of the Daibutsu. I went in quickly as there were so many tourists and I had visited with Mum 2 years ago.
Across the road from Kotoku-in I spied purple sweet potato ice cream. I missed out last year at Kawagoe so I was not going to miss out this time. Not as much sweet potato flavour as I was expecting, it was nice and refreshing after the hike.
I then made my way to Hase Dera bought my ticket and then was given a ticket for the Hydrangea Walk. Little did I know I would have a 30 minute wait to walk the path. A numbered ticket system is used to put groups through, so there might be 100 people in the group. They also only allow so many per day to go through, as I found out as I was leaving when they announced the days allocation of Hydrangea Walk tickets had finished.
Now I do like Hydrangeas but what was here was different to what we have in Australia. Different colours and shades, different petal sizes, different shapes to the flower heads and even one that hangs its flower head upside down! My favourites were the ones lace caps, like a little fairy landing circle. I also like the ones that have the longer “pine cone” shape flower head. So beautiful to see a whole hillside covered in the bushes.
After a stroll through the rest of Hase Dera including the cave temple area, I returned to the station taking some local shopping streets for a bit of variety.
Back in Tokyo I had a late dinner at a local joint under the railway tracks between Yurakucho and Shimbashi. Renkon stuffed with mustard (hot English from the nasal burning), pork katsu and salad and two cups of refreshing umeshu on the rocks.
A tiring but fabulous day, especially as it turned out to be the sunniest day of the trip. It was also exciting to do another hike even if it was a short one.
Keep an eye out for the next post where I hike again.
Thanks for dropping by!!