Participants: about 15 IAC members, friends, and NeNe!
Organizers: Stephanie and Billy
Reported by Billy
We had a nice hike and mountain hanami last weekend on Takao-san. It had been raining or cloudy almost every day recently, so we were lucky to have nice spring weather that day. The mountain cherry trees bloom about 2 weeks later than the Tokyo trees do, so we were expecting to enjoy a picnic hanami under cherry blossoms.
I met Rolf on the Keio line train from Shinjuku, and we met the others outside the gate at Takaosanguchi Station. I thought Takao might be super crowded that day, but Stephanie knew the least crowded trail to take, so it was a nice and not too crowded hike. Kiki brought her little Datsun NeNe-chan, so everyone was cheered. NeNe’s little legs had no problem going up most of the trail, but we carried her up or down the steepest parts so she would not overdo anything. The trail was pretty muddy that day because of recent rains, but NeNe was only somewhat muddy, even being a long-haired datsun. I didn’t understand how my own pant legs were more muddy than her shorter, furry legs.
After about a 2 hour hike to the top of the mountain we hiked about 30 minutes more to a place called Thousand Cherry Trees, that was a good place for a picnic. A lot of people were having picnics there, and we found a nice spot at the side of a big picnic clearing surrounded by cherry and other trees. Because of recent rains and the timing, it wasn’t mostly mankai (full bloom) sakura blossoms, but the mountain sakuras were blooming and it was a very nice setting to have our picnic. We all enjoyed a lot of different foods that people had brought to share, as well as nice wines from Italy, Spain, and France!
It was about the best picnic you could imagine. If one had to complain, some of our plastic sheets to sit on were on a slight slope, so we had to be a little careful so as not to spill anything, especially when setting down our wine glasses in order to eat properly. Of course, this worked out to NeNe’s advantage when Rolf managed to spill a soft boiled egg, which then became part of NeNe’s lunch!
Much of the hike down was along the the warterfall trail, which was not crowded and went along a river and passed a famous small waterfall. In that area, a long time ago, a deer led a traveling musician to a saint who lived next to that river, and we could still feel it was a special place. We enjoyed hiking along that trail, and then came out to the main trail where it was possible to buy local foods and goods before arriving back at the station.