Clean Mountains are Good Mountains
Takao-san (Mt.Takao) is a popular hiking spot just outside Tokyo. One of the few mountains easily accessible for a day trip, there are numerous ways to get to the top.
There’s a cable car (actually just a train pulled by a cable, not your proper suspended cable car) taking incapacitated or lazy folk most of the way up, from where they have an easy stroll to the summit.
There are a number of paths following a kind of switchback up one side of the mountain and passing by a temple, a monkey park, a suspension bridge and such attractions. Much of these paths are concreted surfaces, very much the tourist-friendly option.
However the opposite side of the 599m peak has two forest paths, one following the ridge line itself and the other following alongside a mountain stream before steepening for the final ascent.
Neither of these is particularly challenging or long (an average of 3.2km), but certainly provide a much more nature-filled hike to the top.
I was happily amused when hiking up the “Waterfall Trail” recently when the silence was broken by the unmistakable sound of a petrol-driven motor. My first thought was that it might be a chainsaw, perhaps some bridge being built.
But then, appearing round the corner ahead and coming down the mountain path towards me I saw one of those great “only in Japan” sights:
In the middle of a forest.
Halfway up a mountain.
A man cleaning leaves from the path.
Here’s the official Takao-san Hiking Trail page (English version)