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Mount Takao and Ukai Toriyama, May 24th 2008

Saturday, May 24th.
It was with the weather forecast threatening rain that we optimistically gathered outside Takao-sanguchi station for a (not so) bright and breezy midday start to our day of hiking and dining on May 24th. Some stragglers (namely Charlotte Lewis and myself) were somewhat late having been enthralled by the Trick Art Museum a couple of minutes away, warily suggested to us all by Tim Minton. We finally escaped its maze of rooms with hidden doors – tricky indeed - pausing for some quick shots in the mouth of a great painted gorilla on the way, to join the party and set off on the hike.
Mt Takao & Ukai Toriyama - streamMt Takao & Ukai Toriyama - stream
The first few drops of rain ominously started to fall, and those of us who were somewhat unprepared for inclement weather were relieved to hear that Phil’s backpack was full of assorted jumpers and provisions. Luckily the rain stopped soon after, and didn’t bother us for the rest of the walk. In fact the weather was perfect hiking weather, neither too hot nor too cold.
Some of our party broke off to climb the mountain in a cable car while the rest of us carried up and on by foot. Passing through the greenery and along mountain streams, the walk was very pleasant although increasingly strenuous as we neared the top.
As we walked we talked, changing conversational partners as we variously fell behind or caught up, muttering the odd greeting to those passing in the other direction. Occasionally we’d pass Chris Parry going in one direction and then the other as he put us all to shame by nimbly running up and down and along the mountain range all day.
Mt Takao & Ukai Toriyama - suspension bridgeMt Takao & Ukai Toriyama - suspension bridge
At the top, which we reached in good time, there were various amounts of admiring the view and drinking lots of beer, the latter mainly by Tim Minton, Terry Nakamura et al. It may have contributed to our taking a wrong turning on the way down, but it was not too far before we realised and backtracked.
Mt Takao & Ukai Toriyama - restaurant at topMt Takao & Ukai Toriyama - restaurant at top
When we reached the bottom after a thigh-aching descent, there were buses waiting to take us to Ukai Toriyama. Just as we boarded, the rain started to pour down, kindly holding off until then. There was a little remixing of the composition of the party as some went home and others such arrived to join us for our meal.
Mt Takao & Ukai Toriyama - alexMt Takao & Ukai Toriyama - alex
The gardens of Ukai Toriyama looked particularly stunning in the rain as we were guided through them, and from the windows of our second floor dining room. Grouped into tables of four we enjoyed a delicious succession of small dishes included the famous yakitori, which had a particularly complicated grilling method that had to be carefully explained. I enjoyed sitting with Mr. and Mrs. Imai who were particularly skilled at the said grilling, and Chris Parry who gave us sound advice for preparing for earthquakes among other things. Many chose to complement the meal with sake served in bamboo vessels. Whilst we were all rather worn out and enjoying sitting down, Huw’s daughter was very lively and fine entertainment for us all.
Mt Takao & Ukai Toriyama - group photoMt Takao & Ukai Toriyama - group photo
After our early supper, and still in the rain, we took a stroll around the lotus pond at the back, stopping for tea from a small hut as frogs croaked around us.
Then it was back onto the bus and then the train to finish what was a very successful trip.
Mount Takao & Ukai Toriyama - the authorMount Takao & Ukai Toriyama - the author
Philomena Keet, Magdalen Oxford
Posted in | Submitted by huw.williams on Sat, 2008-05-24 02:00.
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