Tricked into nature by a little hiking book and some frozen beer…
The other night while I was out drinking with my friend Heather my eye was drawn to a random book sitting in the corner of the bar. I liked the typeface and thought the design was kinda cool – the illustrations actually reminded me of a little Swiss Army book my dad used to have kicking about the house. Anyway, we finished our pints (frozen beer!) and I thought nothing more of it. The very next morning, however, I awoke with a sudden urge to get the hell out of Tokyo and exchange buildings and freeways for trees and trails. As an evil advertising copywriter, it’s usually my job to get people to buy or do things they don’t necessarily want or need. So it was weird to have the tables turned on me – my weekend plans basically dictated by what my brain saw the night before. That bloody hiking book.
Mount Takao, or Takao-San as it is affectionately known by the locals, is a mountain just an hour away from downtown Tokyo. It’s on the same train line I use to go to work three days a week, and once you arrive at Takaosanguchi Station it really does feel like you’ve left the city behind. Armed only with a fading hangover and a belly full of Curry Udon I slowly weaved my way to the top – and it was one of the most serene experiences I’ve had since I arrived in Japan. Near the summit there’s a Buddhist temple, and Monks were walking about blowing mountain horns and chanting hypnotically.
Standing just 600 metres tall, Takao-San is a mere bump compared to Fuji… But what it lacks in size it certainly makes up for in atmosphere.