Tokyo guzzler: September 2015, part 5 – A day out at Mount Mitake

After a long week at work you can’t beat a good curry, a few beers and some ten pin bowling with other Lebowski-esque ‘dudes’ on a Friday night, can you? Bowling has become somewhat of a habit in recent weeks and months. I’m feeling the need to watch The Big Lebowski again in search of inspiration. However, I regained my crown of #1 dude this week. “This is not ‘Nam. This is bowling. There are rules.”

Anyway, yesterday we took advantage of the beautiful weather and headed out of Tokyo to Mount Mitake. Is was certainly no Mi-s-take (Oh God…I’ll get my coat!):

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After five (yes, five!) different underground/overground trains, we finally made it to Mount Mitake just after 11am. The mountain stands at 929m tall and this cable car takes you most of the way up.

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The Mitake-Tozan Railway cable car operates every half hour. We grabbed a cheeky ice cream during the wait.

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And we made it to the top. It took about 5 minutes. We could have hiked it but were still feeling the after-effects of the previous night’s curry and beer mix.

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The view from the top, looking south-eastwards towards Tokyo.

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Maz looking slightly confused. “This way. No….that way. No, wait…..”

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Squirrel cartoon pornographic shop sign. Wonder what it sold….big nuts maybe?

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Near the top of the mountain was a little village with shops and restaurants. It was very quiet and made a nice change from the hustle and bustle of inner-city Tokyo.

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We kept heading upwards towards the summit.

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Great beard!

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The pathway to the top was lined either side with these beautifully inscribed stone monuments.

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Nice hooters!

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This isn’t the Shinto shrine at the top of the mountain. The shrine is to the left, under a load of scaffolding. This is a little museum next to it. But sadly it wasn’t worth the ‎¥300 entry fee. It housed a few swords and some armour, but really wasn’t that great.

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However, just around the corner we saw some lizards, including this one which Maz named Boris.

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By now it was lunch time. We sat over in the big window and had an amazing view out across the mountain.

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Chicken udon for me….

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Prawn tempura soba for Maz. The cuisine highlight of the day. Great food!

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By now we’d done very little walking, despite being at the top of a mountain. So we headed down the mountain through the beautiful trees. It was incredibly quiet and the air was as fresh as you can get.

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The sign pointed us towards a waterfall 600m away. We had a beautiful walk, or as everyone else calls it, hike.

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The trees were quite spectacular. Perfectly straight. Perfect for the flying squirrels that live on the mountain. Did we see any? Unsurprisingly, no!

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Waterfall #1. We were now half way down the mountain and it was so peaceful.

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That’s where we’d just come from (and would need to return later).

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Trees. Lots of trees.

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We made the fatal error of not carrying any water with us. Not a good idea to walk – or even hike – without any water. Parched we were.

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We followed the stream upwards for ages. In our minds we knew we were heading in the opposite way we needed to be, but we hiked on regardless.

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Good news: waterfall #2. Bad news: water #2 was MILES away from where we needed to be. Time was rolling on. Light was fading. Chelsea versus Arsenal was starting to look worrying like it wasn’t going to happen!

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Self-timer selfie. Putting on a brave face!

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Would we need to hunker down for the night? Well, quite possibly, had we not turned back. We’d hiked half way up a second mountain, so back down we went, past the waterfalls and back up Mitake. We moved very quick though. In fact, at times it felt like we were trotting along hysterically!

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Yes! We’d made it back to the cable car station. But in my desperate need for the toilet, we missed the next car and had to wait nearly half an hour. We did however see a not insignificant team of TV crew – maybe between 15-20 strong. After hearing British accents, Maz asked the sound guy who they were. “BBC – we’re filming a programme about horseback archery for BBC2”. Random.

And, thus, our day at Mitake-san was complete. We made it down the mountain and back home – JUST in time for the football. It’d been a long and tiring day, but what an awesome place to visit. Easy to access from central Tokyo, and cheap too. I’d strongly recommend a trip there to anyone looking to get away from the Tokyo rat race for a few hours.

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