I’ve always had a soft spot for fall. Crisp nights, clear days and explosions of red, orange and gold on the trees always give me a much-needed lift before the dreariness of winter. In Ohio, where I grew up, the foliage could be absolutely magnificent. In Japan, last year’s autumn display was gorgeous and I’m hoping for more of the same this year.
Early last November, Wil, Liam and I took a trip to nearby Mt. Mitake, in Chichibu-Tama-Kai National Park. As happens to me often, I didn’t end up finding the time to blog about our day. So, here we have either a very late or slightly early post. Local readers: I encourage you to visit Mt. Mitake this November. It’s an easy day trip from Tokyo.
First, a few travel logistics: As we usually do, we took the train. At Ome, we exited our train car, crossed the platform and took another train to Mitake Station. From there, we crossed the street, turned left, and boarded a bus, paying with our handy Suica cards. Ten minutes later, we arrived at the cable car station. To board, we used our Suicas again. Going up the mountain, we had tremendous views.
Having saved ourselves a long trudge up — we were hiking with a 4-year-old, remember — we could now follow a trail from Mitakesan village that would lead us to Misashi Mitake Jinja Shrine.
Rural, but not unpopulated, the trail took us past many traditional Japanese buildings, including ryokens and shops. Natural beauty is awesome, but we really enjoyed seeing this slice of rural Japanese life.
A steep path led us up to the village where we’d eat lunch at one of several restaurants.
Asahi beer and steaming bowls of udon miso soup. Perfect!
Which direction should we go????
We chose wisely and made it to the shrine.
Stairs, stairs and more stairs. But at least the views along the way were interesting.
Wil and I loved these little guys hiding in the steps:
And, of course, this little guy. I can’t believe how much he’s grown in the past year!
Almost to the top:
The shrine was beautiful and peaceful. I’m guessing all those stairs may have kept some of the crowds from reaching the top.
We enjoyed exploring the grounds. It was a truly lovely place.
It was starting to get late, so we made our way back down the mountain. While we waited for the next train, we did a little exploring. We stood on a bridge and looked out over the Tama River. Did I mention how beautiful Japan is in the fall?
And finally, one last image of my two favorite travelling companions: