Friday, May 05, 2006

Hiking up Mt. Takao

More flowers near the shrine around the top of Mt. Takao

A friend of mine invited me for another hanami party. But this was no ordinary hanami: it was a hanami hiking trip. Most of the blossoms at sea level had fallen, but the tops of the mountains were an explosion of colour.

A river near the mountain

We hiked up to two mountains that day. The first one was more about views from the top than flowers, but they were fantastic. There's a river running next to the mountain, and it's one of the only large ones I've seen that isn't encased in concrete.

Yet another view from Takao-san

We also caught a glimpse of a small bay near the back side of the mountain, with houses clustered around the bayside.

There's a shrine at the top as well. If memory serves me corectly, Shintoism regards mountains as holy places, and as such many of the major ones have shrines on the top

Close-up of the shrine

This one was simple, keeping with the Shintoist value of austerity.

After the trek down to the bottom of the first hill, we began the journey to the second one. It was a much more arduous climb, taking about a good hour, not including the 20 minutes or so we spent looking for the entrance to the roadway.

Cherry blossoms on the top of Mt. Takao

At the top, the cherry blossoms were sill in full bloom, and served as the perfect place to spread out our picnic blankets.

Purple flowers

But cherry blossoms were not the only flowers to see that day. We saw myriad different kinds of flowers, of all shades of purple, red, and pink.

The river from a viewpoint on Mt. Takao

We also saw another view of the river, along with the small footbridge we took across it it to get to the mountain.

Completely zonked from the long climb, and somewhat tipsy from all the beer and sake, we decided not to climb back down, opting for the cable car instead. A great way to end a great day.


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