We came to Japan to visit our friend and she recommended hiking up Mt Takao to see the fall foliage. We hiked all the way up instead of taking the cable car, and it was lovely. It was early in the season for the Autumn leaves so it was green on the way up, with beautiful HUGE trees, way older than anything where I'm from. The roots coming out the ground going up the path were quite beautiful and there were little shrines here and there on the way up. Most of the statues had little bibs or red hats, which our friend told us were knitted by volunteers every winter. Really cute! The path we chose (no 6 I think) was not very crowded, so it made it quite tranquil. When you do meet people on the way, they always say hello, which we are told is customary in Japan. I'm not very fit so I was huffing and puffing near the end, especially because right before you get to the top there are many flights of wooden stairs. Something to keep in mind if you're not up for a workout. There were a lot more people on the top when we arrived. The views of the mountains(Mt Fuji was sadly hidden when we were there) and the city were beautiful and there were some beautiful trees that Had turned bright red. There is a ramen restaurant to eat at at the top - nice and filling after a long climb. There are also vending machines, shops and bathrooms (like many washrooms in Japan, these did not have soap or towels so remember to bring some or purell). On the way down(which is normally the way people go up) there were beautiful temples, with gorgeous statues. One shrine had tons of little fox statues all alround, each one with its own little bib. There's a gift shop that sells the wooden plaques on which you can write a prayer and hang up on the temple wall - it's fun to read some of the ones others have left - and they sell charms as well. We were lucky to have our friend with us to tell us what each one meant. They made great souvenirs for people- if you are travelling to Kyoto though, the charms there are cheaper we thought. We started the day late, so on the way down we got a great view of the city with all the lights on. Unfortunatly that meant making the descent in the dark though, and the path was not lit, so please bring a flashlight if you think you might be leaving after sunset. Overall it was a lovely trip - the trees, the temples, the view and only an hour from Tokyo (don't forget to take the express!) Highly recommend it to anyone!
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