The view from on high

There’s nothing like climbing a mountain to teach you how out of shape you are.

Yesterday, I went to Mount Takao, which involved taking the subway 14 stops to Shibuya station, realizing that I meant to go to Shinjuku station instead, three stops on the JR line to Shinjuku, then taking the commuter railway for 50 minutes to Takaosanguchi. Then, a simple 4 km walk up 600 metres of vertical to the temple at the top of the mountain.

Oddly, there were a few maple trees at the station that were in glorious fall colours, but higher up on the mountain, most of the trees had yet to start turning.

About 3/4 of the way up, there was a reasonably good view of part of Tokyo, which stretches as far as the eye can see, yet it’s still beyond comprehension that 35 million people live here.

Tokyo from Mt. Takao

Tokyo from Mt. Takao

Since the days are short, I took a ski-lift chair down from about 2/3 of the way up the mountain. It was very Japanese; you stand on a conveyor belt and the chair sneaks up on you; at the end, you step off onto another conveyor belt. The whole way down, it was either 3 metres off the ground, or three metres above a raised platform with net so you wouldn’t hurt yourself (much) if you fell, yet there was no bar to keep you in the chair.

It’s just started drizzling here in Tokyo; today I head off for Nara, where it’s cloudy and expected to be sunny tomorrow.

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