It’s been a busy past few weeks! Today is the last day of November, and soon autumn will be all over for another year. I’ve managed to get to a bunch of different places to check out the autumn leaves, mostly outside of Tokyo. The higher altitude places have passed their peak, and lower down here in the city, things are starting to look good!
A couple of weeks ago, a friend and I went out to Mt Takao, in Tokyo’s far-west. It was a beautiful, sunny autumn day. Not a cloud in sight. We met at Shinjuku station mid-morning, and could tell already that it was going to be crowded on the mountain. Loads of hikers filled the train, and we were lucky to get seats for the 1 hour journey. Arriving at Takaosanguchi station, we quickly realised just how many other people had had the same idea as us! I have never seen a mountain so packed!!
Wanting to escape the mass of people, we went quickly on our way. Hiking up the trail was a bit slow, because it was basically ‘follow the leader’ most of the way. I was slightly amused at one girl who was hiking in heels… Girls in Japan are crazy, I tell ya!
But even then, when we reached the top, it felt like we were back in the middle of the city. There were so many picnics happening under the trees; everyone was taking a million snaps of the leaves from all sort of angles; there were even loooong lines for the ice cream van! It was so strange to be in what felt like the middle of nowhere, on top of a mountain, yet for there to be so many people!
We didn’t end up staying at the top for too long, as you can probably imagine! The hike down was just as crowded as the hike up, but we’d mastered the skill of overtaking, so it didn’t take us long! Back at the bottom, we were greeted by the sounds of taiko drums. There’s always something special about hearing those deep, powerful beats.
Despite the crowds, I really enjoyed the day trip to Mt Takao. The weather was stunning and the autumn colours were inspiring. Plus, spending time with a friend and getting some exercise… a pretty great way to spend a Sunday if you ask me! :-)