Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Beginning of trail to Mt. Takao

Look at all the people!

First stop

View from 382 meters

Mr. Okura making a kokeshi doll

He gave this to me when he was done!

Seiko and her wooden cup filled with delicious sake

Close up of our cups filled with sake


These statues were so amazing along the hillside

View from the top---599 meters!

Hello! Yesterday I went on a long hike with Seiko to Mt. Takao, and these are the pictures to prove it! We planned to take the cable car to the top, but yesterday was a Japanese holiday to honor workers, similar to our Labor Day, and it seemed like everyone was in line for the cable car. The weather was gorgeous and the fall leaves are spectacular right now, enticing even more people to visit the mountain. So, after some discussion, we decided to climb it. Thank goodness I have been going to the gym lately, because this was no easy task. It took around two hours to climb to the top (plus time for a stop for sake and lunch!), along a very steep path that was paved most of the way.

On the way down, we thought we'd try to take the cable car, but we weren't too surprised when we saw the horrible lines of people standing in line, with no signs of it getting better. The hike down the mountain was difficult on my knees because it was so steep, but I managed. The most incredible thing was watching all of these elderly Japanese folks along the trail. These guys were amazing! Seiko and I kept commenting on how they are in such great shape for their age. I want to be like them when I am that old.

We met some really fun people along the way, including this one gentleman who has been hiking the mountain every weekend in November for the past several years to enjoy the sake that they sell. They sell the sake in these little wooden boxes on weekends in November, and you get to keep the box as a souvenir. He told us that he has many of these boxes! It tasted great but it was strong, so we took our time with lunch!

We also met a local man, Kuninobu Okura, who makes beautiful kokeshi dolls. His wife paints them with gorgeous flowers and leaves. We watched him carve a doll and afterward, he gave the doll to me! I was so touched that he did that. Apparently he is going to be on a local t.v. show next week, demonstrating his craft, so I hope to watch it.

We were very tired when we finished our hike, but it was such a fun day, with wonderful experiences to add to my memories of Japan.

No comments: