Last autumn, Mike, Yuki, and I went down to Kyoto on a long weekend to check out the beautiful fall colors, but the holiday was on a Tuesday instead of a Monday this year, denying us that extra bit of time to really get out of town. However, Mike set up plans for the Michigan kids to get together on that Tuesday and take a day trip to Mt. Takao, a relatively small mountain about an hour away from Tokyo that he had been to in past falls.
As the date approached, however, I wasn’t sure if I was going to be able to join. I had played soccer on the previous Sunday, the first real exercise I’d had in something like four months, and my body was an absolute wreck. I honestly can’t remember the time I was that sore and even just walking was painful, so the idea of hiking up a mountain didn’t sound too appealing, so I decided I’d see how I felt that morning and make a judgment call.
When I woke up, I felt only slightly better than I had the day before and at first I was planning on sitting it out. But the more I thought about it, the more I became convinced that I would regret not going. I usually work too late Monday through Friday to do anything outside of work and it seemed like a shame to waste a rare day off bumming around indoors, so I decided to suck it up and give it a go.
We all met up outside the train station at the base of the mountain. The morning drizzle had cleared up, leaving a cool but sunny late morning that was strongly reminiscent of Michigan falls. Most people take a cable car part way up, then hike the rest of the way to top, but we took a path less traveled that went all the way up. To be honest, it was a pretty gentle slope and not particularly strenuous until near the very end.
The fall colors weren’t the best, but it was nice just to be out of the city for a bit. The air in Tokyo never strikes me as particularly bad, but the fresh air at Mt. Takao was wonderfully refreshing. It just felt good to breath. The path we took was quiet and not at all crowded (a minor miracle anywhere near Tokyo on a holiday), allowing us to keep a slow pace, enjoying the nature and company.
It’s been getting colder around here lately and probably won’t be long before the idea of spending a day outdoors loses its appeal, so I’m glad we had a chance to get out. The scenery may not have held up to Kyoto’s last year, but it was a great day trip and it’s always a good time when the Michigan kids get together.