Takaosan (高尾山) Trails & Senbonzakura (1000 Sakuras)

takaosan (高尾山)walking  trails

takaosan (高尾山)hiking trails

Takaosan (高尾山) is the ideal destination for easy, fun trekking. The summit is just 599m and on a clear day we can see Mount Fuji & have excellent view of Tokyo’s cityscape. It is also easily accessible (& so a favourite weekend destination for many) via a 370yen 1 hr train ride on Odakyu Keio Line from Shinjuku, and that’s what I did on 10apr2013, the second day of my trip.

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I had earlier learned from my driving holiday with my wife in Tohoku (just before it was ravaged by the Fukushima tsunami/nuclear disaster) that momiji (maple) koyo (autumn leaves) colours are best viewed in the mountains & sakura in the cities. 🙂 and though my Chasing Sakura turned Missing Sakura Tokyo trip was failing in its primary mission, takaosan did offer both great trekking + late sakura viewing especially the senbonzakura (1000 sakuras) on a 1/2 hr trek from the summit to Itchodaira. 🙂 I would just have to make do with that.

I also had to make do with my injured toes (suffered at a homegourmet dinner 4 days before my trip when I painfully hit the legs of my dining chair),  and the “encouraging words “from my dear friends – “you are like my accident prone friend”, “that’s life wad” 🙂 & what took 3 hrs to recover at a tender age now took 3 weeks! very “sian” – low in spirit..haha. 🙂

there are 3 routes to hike up takaosan – route 1 which is paved all the way to summit, the nature studies route 6 which is Jeanette’s recommended hike passing by the Biwa Falls, & inariyama trail route. At mid-hill there is a route 4 that goes by a suspension bridge & route 3 which passes by 3 small bridges. route 2 is the circle route at mid-hill & route 5 is the circle route at summit. see http://www.takaotozan.co.jp/takaotozan_eng1/course/index.htm

The 5 mins one-way ski-lift & cable car from the base to mid-hill station each cost 470yen (more than my 1 hr Odakyu train fare from Tokyo!) just consider you were contributing to the upkeep of these nice places for all to enjoy (which was the not so profound truth) – I always tell myself. I took the ski-lift. 🙂

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the sign above left tells you come in april if you want to catch sakura & october for the koyo colours. Looking at distant foliage with a hint of colours in the above centre photo, you can just about imagine what it will be like in autumn! 🙂 see http://www.japan-guide.com/blog/koyo12/121119.html

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suspension bridge along route 4, steeper ascend after the bridge

I decided to take route 4 to see the suspension bridge, knowing that I would likely turned back as the guide said after the bridge the route up was steep.

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I decided to go route 1 all the way rather than route 3. this took me pass the Yakuoin Temple (药王院).

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you could see that this was a favourite outing & picnic place for many – family & friends! 🙂

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sakura at the summit

the late blossoming sakuras were few but always stunningly beautiful, endearing even if very short-lived. weather was sunny if not totally clear, but this was mesmerizing. 🙂

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the senbonzakura route to Itchodaira was not quite lined with 1000 sakuras (or maybe some had bloomed & fallen).

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senbonzakura (1000 sakuras) trail from takaosan summit to Itchodaira

still it was such a wonderful walk. 🙂 oooooooooooo!

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nice warm bowl of shimeji miso soup- 300yen

I stopped for a 300yen shimeji miso soup- nice & warm & wonderful warming feeling in the stomach..haha. 🙂

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there was another long rather tedious flight of steps to Itchodaira(the 5 photos above were taken at branch trek on the right side of these steps). I was wondering if to take it, which I did eventually. there was much lesser sakuras on the way up & nothing much to add to the experience, so in fact one could skip this part!

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sakura at Itchodaira resting area

this was one of few sakuras at the resting area at Itchodaira.

I made my way back to takaosan summit. It was past 2pm & I decided not to risk the journey down route 6. It was actually easier to walk uphill & on steps than to walk downhill & especially on a slope, and the natural compensation for my injured left toes had caused my calves especially right side to take up most strain.

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enjoyable red bean dessert!

since I came up mid-hill by ski-lift I decided to take the cable car down. there was a queue of people (about 10) buying the read bean dessert. I decided to try one (it was very good hot & crispy outside fluffy inside though too much of read beans). the queue time turned out to be much longer as there were quite a few buying a few packetfuls like 30  pieces whereas a few of us poor things were waiting just to get one!

I was at takaosan 9.30am and left about 3.30pm. I reckon normally I would have done it including route 6 downhill by 2.30pm. back to Shinjuku for a nice dinner then. 🙂

c.h.e.f andy