Home > Birdwatching, Focus on Japan Miscellaneous, Nature > Climbing Takao, Part II

Climbing Takao, Part II

May 6th, 2008

So, Sachi and I climbed Takao-san a few days ago, like I said. We are still recovering; Sachi mentioned that we look like penguins, waddling around because our calves ache so much. We really don’t do this quite so much, and weren’t physically prepared. I mean, I exercise regularly nowadays, but that wasn’t quite enough.

Coming down the mountain that day, it was painful exactly as I expected: my knees hurt like hell, though fortunately they really went out only at the very end, and only when stepping downwards. Sachi’s knees hurt also, but not as much as mine–mine have been bad that way since I was in high school. It was excruciating every time we encountered another set of steps at the end. But we heard a lot of people complaining of similar joint pain. But we didn’t expect the next-day calf pain (maybe next-week calf pain–it’s been two days and it’s not getting better) to be quite as harsh as it is.

And that’s despite Sachi praying at a temple along the ascent which, appropriately enough, is a special one for foot and leg pain sufferers. But maybe that’s because Sachi just prayed for our mothers, who have leg ailments all the time, and certainly need more help with that than we do….


In any case, we continued up the mountain, posing for pictures every now and then.


The main trail was crowded right up to the top, and most of the way was fully artificial–cement stairways, paved roads, etc. This segment here was lined with wooden planks commemorating people who made donations to the local shrine. The second shows a nearby path lined with lanterns, each wired up for electricity (electric power lines traced the entire route).



Not that the shrines and temples weren’t pretty to look at:

0508-Takao-Temple Detail

0508-Takao-Tengu Statue

And, of course, more views of the cities below. This was a nice shot of the city below, the kind of shot that has nothing but buildings in view. To get a bigger version with a lot more detail, click on the image.


And then, finally, we got to the peak–which looked like a crowded city square.


We decided to take an alternate trail down, but soon encountered a problem: the shorter, more nature-oriented path had a long segment which was essentially stepping stones along a small stream. And probably because of the less physically-able climbers, the path was a single-file traffic jam, moving painfully slowly.


We kept hearing these sharp yelps from somewhere down the trail, and after a bit, found out what they were: someone had brought their Dachshund up the trail, and the poor thing just wasn’t built for this kind of path. As they passed us, they were carrying the poor thing, but it was half-wet and still occasionally yelping.

The people coming up were less numerous, and so were forced to take the non-stepping-stone side of the path left by the crowd waiting to progress down; the people going up had wet and muddy shoes and socks.


After a while of this, with no end to the traffic jam in sight, we decided to take a branch course at a junction, despite the other course being longer; it was supposed to take 20 minutes more than the original path, but we figured that without the traffic jam, we’d save a lot more time in the end.

I had hoped to do quite a bit of birdwatching, and indeed, there were tons of birds. The problem: almost none were visible. We must have heard birdsong from maybe twenty different species, but we only saw four or five, including the Asian House Martin, Gray Wagtail, and Varied Tit, as pictured below.

0508-Takao-Asian House Martin01

0508-Takao-Asian House Martin02



All pretty birds, but not all that unusual. The rest were adept at hiding out of view, likely in or atop the greenery of the forest canopy. Maybe a professional birder could have helped us spot some, but I’m just an amateur. Ah well.

I will close with a few more images of Sachi and myself on the trail. For all the resultant muscle and joint pain, it was still a very nice hike.



  1. ykw
    May 6th, 2008 at 14:36 | #1

    info on pain relievers:


  2. Kenzo
    May 6th, 2008 at 16:31 | #2

    Looks really nice, Mr. and Mrs. Poza! And beautiful nature of 高尾山 located in western side of Tokyo in Japan. Lovely.

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