Saturday, November 2, 2013


Every so often I welcome a much needed husband and kid-free trip. Today me and my friend decided to go hike Mount Takao! We enjoyed 8 glorious hours away from base surrounded by fresh air, trees, and awesome food. We arrived at the base of Mt. Takao around noon, but decided we would hike up and take the cable car or lift down, since up is a little easier on the knees. Its a 3.8km hike from the bottom to the top. As we started our climb we realized this was no walk in the park! Even though the path is paved you are walking up the side of a mountain at about a 45* angle!
We saw everything from full official hiking attire to high heels and mini-skirts. There were also people of all ages! Pretty sure there were some 70-80year olds making the climb!

The first flat spot to rest at, you feel like you have hiked a ways until you realize you have only gone about 1km!

Selfie while climbing :)
Just some awesome sites along the way!
 We were both running out of steam and knew we needed food! Getting to the cable car station which is about half way up the mountain was as good as it got before the first "restaurant" called our name! This was one of those vending machine type places which lacked English on the buttons so it was a match the picture of the Japanese to the button. While I succeeded in ordering some delicious curry my friend accidentally ordered cold soba noodles instead of hot. Turned out good but I know she would have much preferred hot noodles to warm her up! Once we were refueled we pushed on and enjoyed a nice glance at Tokyo! Although it would have been way better had it been a clear day we still got a decent view of Tokyo, really would love to head up there on a super clear day to be able to see the bay and Mt. Fuji!
We didn't make it all to far before we came upon the Monkey Park and a Sake tent! Since I have lived here over a year I had yet to try Sake, well I can officially say that I drank Sake out of a wooden square cup while on a hike up a mountain! Although it is not my drink of choice it was still good and it allowed a rest brake to stare at the gorgeous Japanese Maples that were turning red. Then we paid the 400Yen to enter the "Monkey Park". We saw 0 wild monkeys on the journey so I guess paying the yen was worth it to see the crazy little guys.
We still had a ways to go to the Temple grounds and the summit so we pressed on. Now we may have been out in the woods but we were not alone! We decided to catch all shrines and temple grounds after we reached the top. Silly us forgot to grab a map at the bottom so we were relying on signs and maps posted, we were so determined to get to the summit that the one map we looked at that said Top led us down a path less traveled. We got to see a cave with a  shrine and then climb up on a non-paved route.
Gorgeous Fall Colors!
So Close!!!
WE MADE IT!!!! Feels good to say we hiked ALL the way up to 599.03m. 
After enjoying the view, didn't get to see Mt. Fuji, and devouring some ice cream cones we started back down. This time we stayed on the paved route. We even found a peace pole along the trail. We stopped to admire the shrines and temple grounds. Pictures do it no justice. The golds and reds mixed in with the trees and changing color were truly breath-taking. There is such a calm and peaceful feeling too. Its times like this though I wish I knew Japanese and understood more about Shinto and Buddhism. There will be many more pictures (I took over 150!) uploaded onto my Facebook!  
Peace Pole hidden amongst the trees
Takaosan Yakuoin Yukiji Temple
By one of the Shrines
The hills have eyes!
Around 3:30 they started packing away things around the temple so we decided to head back down the mountain. We planned on making a pit stop for another swig of Sake then take the lift down to the base. Well during our Sake break we met some very intoxicated older men, they had obviously been sitting near the Sake tent a little TOOO long... well they gave us some crackers kept trying to talk to us, even though they didn't speak English. We quickly finished our Sake and made tracks to the lift. Well we were soon stopped by the delicious smell of dumplings and chicken on a stick, of course we had to get a snack! We snacked while making our way to the lift only to walk about 3 min down the trail to see a line FOREVER long. We looked at each other and said what the heck lets just hike back down! So with one foot in front of the other we made our way down the mountain. Crazy how much faster going down takes. We walked 7.6km and I managed to escape with only 1 blister! Once we reached the bottom we indulged in yet another ice cream cone, *hey no judging we EARNED it* and made our way back to the trains to journey on home!
See that man being held up by his two buddies?
Those 3 were our intoxicated Sake "friends", well we caught two of them peeing off the trail when I thought I heard monkeys, nope just drunk old men sipping up their pants after peeing in public!!! Totally not something you see everyday here in Japan!!!
All in All it was a great day! When I got home I hugged the kids and although it was so nice to be without them, realized I missed them so much! Sawyer even took our pictures when I got home, here is his shot of me, he didn't let the camera focus:
If you are looking for a nice hike, some yummy food, and awesome views then I suggest Mt. Takao! I will probably go back again before we leave. Just remember the lift& cable car still only get you half way and its still a steep 2km to the top so if you are taking little kids be prepared to carry them. You could use a stroller most of the way but the paved path is not smooth the whole time and near temple there are A LOT of stairs!
Until Next Time

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