Japan: Day 4 — Tokyo ...

I was up early to make my way to Mt.Takao. I had originally planned to change rooms for a night at a business hotel near the mountain but it seemed silly to lug all my stuff to another place for one night. It also seemed that the best way to get to Fuji was by bus from Shinjuku so I would’ve had to get myself back to the city center anyway.

Trail Map of Mt. Takao
A friend of mine from Taiwan, Alan, was in Tokyo and we were going to hike Mt. Takao together. The train ride out there was about 1.5 hours. It was easy to navigate and we had a plan on which routes to hike. Mt. Takao has six trails with the number one trail being the easiest and the most used. For those who don’t want to climb the mountain, there is a cable car and a chair lift to take you up the mountain.

We hiked up trail six as it suggested this was the most challenging route. It wasn’t challenging at all but it was beautiful and not too busy. When we reached the top (599.15m) Alan informed me that he got a call on the way up from his family. His grandma had passed and he needed to go. We enjoyed a cold beer and some snacks at the top of the mountain before he set off. I chose to hike down trail three as it was the longest trail through a dense forest and was apparently not so popular. I passed two ladies at the start of my walk and didn’t see anyone else for the rest of my hike.

As I was making my way down to the start of trail three, I saw a kid fall over the mountain. It was kind of horrifying. He was playing around and skipping backwards just as there was a bend in the trail. He tripped over some rocks that were along the edge and went head first backwards over the edge. I couldn’t believe I had witnessed it. He fell a short ways down the mountain but the thick bush stopped his fall. Had he done that at several others points along the trail, he would’ve fallen a much longer way down and most likely would not have survived.

His mom was talking him into climbing up the bush as I left the area. It was causing quite a scene and people were getting a little crazy. I couldn’t help nor could I stand to watch. Not too much further along the trail, I heard hysterical screaming. I didn’t know what it meant but it made my stomach turn. I felt very uneasy and nervous for the remainder of the hike and I made sure to hug the mountain side all the way down.
 The number three trail matched up with the number two and I decided to keep along this trail since there were very few people on these trails. The trails were through a lovely forest that was a bit challenging and slippery in parts. I followed it down to what I thought was a different waterfall but the trail looped around to the waterfall along trail six. All in all, it was an excellent day of hiking and offered the right amount of exercise before the Mt. Fuji trek.

I got home around 4pm and went out for dinner. I found another middle eastern place and had yet another kebab. It was delicious! Japanese food hadn’t drawn me in. A lot of restaurants didn’t have English menus and the food was quite expensive.

After dinner, I went back to the hostel and did a load of laundry. I didn’t pack many clothes and the few clothes I had were smelly and in need of a wash after two days of hiking. I had some beer and relaxed for the remainder of the night. Exhausted, I went to bed early. The next day was a travel day and I was trying to sort out some plans for the move.

Japan: Day 3 — Tokyo ...

I was up early and enjoyed breakfast at the hostel. My plan was to visit the coastal town, Kamakura. It was fairly easy to navigate my way there on the train. I had been warned that I would have trouble with the trains but actually they have been easy. Taiwan has a similar system so everything is oddly familiar.

Jōchi-ji Temple
I got off the train at Kita-Kamakura station and was planning to hike to Kamakura station. My first stop was Jōchi-ji temple. It has wonderful green bamboo, some caves and you can walk through a crevice in the rock. This is also the starting point for the 3KM hiking trail called Daibutsu which takes you to Kamakura station.

It was nice to be in a Japanese forest and I was surprised how quiet it was. I had the trails all to myself! The paths weren't challenging but they were muddy and slippery in parts from overnight showers. The trail popped me out near the Great Buddha of Kamakura. It was here that I found all the people! The area was packed with tourists!
The Great Buddha of Kamakura
After a visit and a rest, I wandered down the street in search of Kebab Kamakura. I had read about this place online and it had excellent reviews. The place lived up to those reviews. Lunch was cheap and delicious! The couple that work there are extremely friendly as well!

After lunch, I went to the beach for a quick cool off. I had a few things I wanted to do in the afternoon and I was 1.5 hours away from Tokyo.
The elevators to the observatory
I made a quick stop at the guesthouse to shower, change and charge my devices before heading out to the Tokyo Tower. It was raining slightly but I went anyway, hoping it would stop by the time I got there.

It cost ¥900 to go to the top of the tower. (150m) The highest viewing point (250m) was closed for renovations. The first observatory offered some nice views overlooking Tokyo.

I was exhausted after a long day and hungry. I ended up at an Italian place around the corner from the guesthouse called Miami Garden. I had a pizza for ¥1,200 (it was only OK) and two glasses of wine. I sat in the restaurant and did some people watching while taking a much needed rest and thinking about plans for the following day.