Monday, May 21, 2018

Hiking in Japan: First visit to Takaosan...

In a recent post, I mentioned something about starting two new hobbies.

I started the second hobby yesterday - hiking!

In Singapore, I was able to do a lot of easy hikes thanks to my good friend Kok Kuan. Yup, there are hiking places in Singapore. Maybe they’re not hardcore hiking spots but they’re still a good escape from the city.

Yesterday, I finally got to do my first hike in Japan.

Mt. Takao is one of the most popular hiking places near Tokyo. It’s about an hour away from my place. It’s very accessible.

Prior to the trip, I bought a pair of hiking shoes and other hiking stuff (pants, backpack, shirt, and so on). Though Takao is a relatively easy hike, I still wanted to look the part of a hiking fan. Lol! I think I succeeded in that aspect.

Anyway, I got up at 6 on Sunday. There were some hits and misses with the train. Lol! I had to change trains twice. The first train was a local train. I knew I was on the right train when I saw many other hikers with their gear and all. Haha!

The great thing about Takao is that there are six trails (and a few other difficult trails). I wanted to take the less popular trails but I decided to stick with Trail 1 when I started panting after the first 2 kilometers of the ascent. Lol!

You see, you can actually “cheat” the climb. To shorten the climb, you can take a cable car and that cuts your hiking time by more than an hour I suppose. I decided to ditch the cable car and went for the 3.8 km hike up to the Takao Information Center. I decided that since it was my first visit, I should do Trail 1 and check out the popular places along the way such as the Yakuoin Temple.

Actually, Trail 1 is not difficult at all. The first 2 km was a challenge because it was pretty steep. However, the path is generally paved so no problems there.

For my descent, I decided to take Trail 4 and that felt a real hike because it was in the middle of the forest.

You could also tell the seasoned hikers from the rest because they knew hiking etiquette. I lost count of the number of times I said “konnichiwa” on my way down. Lol!

Anyway, it was a really, really, really good hike. The best part was seeing Mt. Fuji.

At first, I didn’t see her because the clouds blocked the view. Suddenly, people started exclaiming “Sugoi! Sugoi!” I took a second look and there she was. Really, really pretty.

I also enjoyed my lunch - tororo soba and oden. Actually, I packed some onigiri which I planned to eat at the summit. However, I decided to go for soba and oden. They were gooood!

I’m defo going to go hiking again next month. As I enjoyed my lunch, I texted my best friend in Manila and said, “I’m genuinely genuinely feeling very happy right now.”

Don’t get me wrong. Tokyo is a great city and all but I really need to escape the city at times. Many people think I’m crazy for saying that. I stopped explaining myself. Lol. Anyway, this topic is for another post.

For now, I just want to write that I’m SO glad to have been able to do a hike. I will definitely make it into a monthly thing.

Next month, I’ll try to go to Nokogiriyama. Excited.

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