The JICA tour on June 2, 2018

It was a sunny day and a little bit hot.
At around 9:30, there were totally 15 persons from JICA arrived Takaosanguchi station, We divided them into 3 groups. A group, B group and C group.Ad I was one of the tour guides for B group.There were 6 guests in B group and all were women.They are from different countries, which are Vietnam,Mongolia, Sri Lanka( and Bhutan.)We set out at around 9:50 which was a little bit late than usual.On the way to the cable car station, the lady who comes from Mongolia bought a hat in a hat shop because it was quite hot and she didn’t have a hat.When we ride on the cable car, we gave a small guide to our guests that the cable car will bring us to the middle of mountain via the steepest slope of Japan.All of them were surprised and excited about it.After we got off the cable care, we arrived at the observatory area.Unfortunately, Tokyo sky tree tower wasn’t visible due to a lot of cloud.We continued our guides regarding regular spots from Octopus-cedar tree to Sengenjinjya Shrine. Since most of our guests are from Southeast Asia and they have religion of Buddhism, they showed big interests on our guides of temples. Because Mt.Takao contains both Buddhism and Japanese specific religion what is called Shinto in Japanese. When we got to the main hall of Yakuou-in temple, the lady who is from Mongolia brought a incense stick and burn it in the burner.It was our first time to see guest payed money for it. Though it just costs 100 yen, we thought that she is a rich people. We arrived at the summit at around 12:30. Unfortunately, Mt. Fuji wasn’t visible because of cloudy weather.Then we had a lunch at the top of Mt.Takao, after that we left at 13:00.We took the trail No.4 to get down the mountain.There is a bridge called Miyama bridge, which is a suspension bridge in trail No.4 Our guests were excited and took some photos when they walked cross the bridge.The most exciting moment for our guests was the chair lift, because it was first time for them to take the chair lift, and some of them were scared of it at the beginning, after we explained that it was a quite safe attraction, finally they told that they would like to try. When we reached to the KIYOTAKI station, all of them said that it was very exciting and they could see very fantastic view from chair lift. Lastly, they told that they were satisfied with the tour and we said goodbye to them at 2:30 PM.


Hiking tour on June 2nd

On this time of early June, the rainy season has been supposed to set in at Tokyo. Mt.Takao, located within an hour of down town Tokyo, has also been so without an exception. It is said the rainy season sets in from next week. The weather of today was fair with occasional clouds fortunately and we had 17 guests from JICA, 2 enrollment applicants to our club and university student who hoped to interview a guide. We were divided into three groups, each group for 2 or 3guides, then left about 9:40AM. The fresh green leaves made us pleasant.
We got on a cable car for going half way up then took Trail no-1. At the Kasumi-dai observatory, we could see plural buildings in the direction of central Tokyo. Usually we can recognize the skyscrapers of Shinjyuku, but today spring haze disturbed it. On the way to the Yakuo-in temple, guiding some spots then we enjoyed talking about the concerns they had after arriving japan.
We reached to top around noon, where were very crowed and spring mist also prevented to look for Mt.Fuji. We took lunch there with smaller groups or acquaintances. During lunch time an accident happened but to turn out to be all right later.
We took Fujimichi-way for going down which path was along many kinds of trees and fresh air was blowing in. It had been very comfortable. From Yakuoin-temple we joined Trail No-1 then taking chair-lift from the Sanjo-station riding 12 minutes to Sanroku-station. Around at 3PM, in front of Kiyotaki-Station which is for cable cars, we took photos together. Almost of the guests were first time to visit Mt.Takao and seemed to be having a lot of fun. That was our pleasure. 
Wishing this opportunity helps them to know more about Japanese unaffected nature, history and people, we finished this hiking tour. (Comson)


Blog for May22 Tour

Not using cable car is a theme for today.

And, we took the trail No.6 bearing in mind that we might go farther up to another peak called Kobotoke-Shiroyama reachable by a walk of some one hour from Mt. Takao.

Our guest, Ms. Connie a lady from Philippines, has a plan to climb up Mt. Fuji during her next visit to our country (the forth of her career), and this was a training for that event, a sort of.
So, we tried to walk a bit faster, or tried not to stop so often for guiding, though we were often forced to stop because of a big group of pupils of primary school of no less than 200.

She has a very good character of out-going, and was very talkative and even seemed to have no moment of silence.

So, my colleague Nosan and I had a quite easy time all day long.

Though we couldn’t reach the summit of Kobotoke-Shiroyama, and compromised at a plateau called Momiji-dai, she could complete the walking up and down all the way.

I thought it was quite something for her only on the second day of her journey after a long flight.
Thank you, and congratulations, Ms. Connie.         (by Sumo)


The tour on the 24th May

The tour on the 24th May,2018

Today’s guests were about 30 people, visiting Japan from all over the world for some important conference in Tokyo, who had decided to visit Mt.Takao for a break between their busy conference schedule. 

We, 4 guides for today’s tour, were waiting anxiously for the guests at Takaosanguchi railway station under ominous black clouds with occasional lightning and thunder.
They arrived at 2pm as scheduled and after introducing ourselves and giving them necessary advice for the tour, we started for the cable car station, when it began to rain.
Though they were well prepared for the rain, having vinyl rain coat, we were worried if we could give them an enjoyable tour.

The sky looked more and more ominous and when we arrived at the cable car station, we were told that the service had been suspended due to possible lightning and had to wait until the thunder cloud went away.

After 15minutes or so, the service resumed and we were in the cable car. When we arrived at the upper station, we found the black clouds had disappeared and the weather was rapidly improving. There, the guests were divided into 4 groups, each led by one of the 4 guides and the 4 groups started the tour separately.
A Chinese guest asked me if there was any guide who speaks Chinese but I was sorry that we are TENGU, Takaosan English Volunteer Guide Club!  

Because the starting time was late today (usually it is 9:30am), we planned to make Yakuoin-Temple our destination, without usual walk up to the top of the mountain. Thanks to the weather, not so many visitors were around, making it possible for us to proceed with the tour on our own pace and rather effectively in a limited time.

By the time when we arrived at Yakuoin-Temple, the sky was blue and even the sun was shining and we all, guests and us guides, were enjoying the beautiful fresh green all around.

Though October and November are the most popular season for Mt.Takao, May is equally splendid time to visit the mountain.

Having said this, I thought of beautiful scenery of the mountain in summer and winter time and I tell you that you will never be disappointed whatever time of the year you visit here. Come and see Mt.Takao not once but many times in different season!

We took the cable car down and arrived back at the lower station at 4:30 pm, 30minutes later than the scheduled time but it’s not bad, considering the circumstance.

We broke up there after taking group photo. Some of the guests were going to the public hot spa nearby. It must be the first experience for many of them and I am interested to know their impression.

We thank you, all the guests to join our tour and hope it mentally and physically refreshed you, who were to work hard the next day.

Written by Nori  


Report of JICA tour on May 5th, 2018

The pleasant wind, the brilliant sunlight and the fresh green leaves made us all feel happy.On such a beautiful day, we had 3 guests, lovely young ladies from JICA. “May 5th” is the Children’s Day in Japan and is also a national holiday. There were already so many hikers on the foot when we started the tour. Despite congestion, we were able to get on the cable car with little waiting time. 
Then we took Trail No.1 and headed to the summit via Yakuo-in temple. In front of the Wild Grass Garden, one of the guides introduced a famous HAIKU (Japanese shortest style of poems) sang about violets by Basho Matsuo. Mt. Takao is famous as a mountain of violets. The guests seemed to be impressed by it. 

We reached the top at 12:30 and fortunately we found vacant tables for lunch. After lunch, another guide gave a short lesson of ORIGAMI to the guests. She taught them how to fold “Japanese traditional helmet” which is a symbol for boys on Children’s Day. They were good at folding origami!  
For our return, we took Fujimichi way and chair lifts. While waiting for our turn to ride the chair lifts, we enjoyed eating ice cream or dumplings and chatting with guests. There we also took a photo with them together. Thanks to our wonderful guests, we had a great time with them. 
Written by Sally


The private tour on May 1. 2018

On 1st in May, we had guests from Australia. We got on the cable car and enjoyed its steepest part as always.
   Japanese beech tree close to the upper cable car station was bearing a lot of fruits or nuts.
We walked under sunshine filtering through various kinds of  leaves.

We took lunch at Momiji-dai further to the top. And descending by trail 4. During the day, we spent in the greenery of the mountain forest.                      Written by Kate


The private tour on April 21,2018

Today we had two guests from USA (Houston). They are working colleague in the same BBQ restaurant there, so we had a lot of talk about Japanese food. They liked Sushi, but they were not good to use chopsticks.

We got on the cable car that is the steepest in Japan, so they said it’s like a roller coaster in amusement park. We pretended to release hands hold, Yippee ! When we reached to Takao BBQ garden. They were so excited because they work in a BBQ restaurant, as mentioned above. On the observation deck there, we had really nice view.

At Yakuo-in temple, we saw mountain priests and their fire ritual. They cast a question, whether or not a priest can get married. We explained now Buddhism society is modernized, so they can get married. They live in the temple outside Mt. Takao and commute to here. Sometimes they drive a car.

 At the top of mountain, we could see Mt. Fuji, and it’s so nice weather and so warm. We are so lucky.
We got down by the chair liftenjoying the grand view. They seemed to have enjoyed the tour very much and we, too, enjoyed the tour with them.
 (by Guchi)


A very unique tour on the 15th April, 2018

Today’s tour was a very unique one because I did not have to explain about things nor to speak English. 
The guests were from a TV production company in Holland who came to Mt. Takao to make a documentary with the theme of “Japanese love of nature”.
They had contacted us wanting to hike the mountain with our elderly member(s) to interview them on the way.
The guests of 6 consisted of a lady Director, a male interviewer, a cameraman, all from Holland, a Dutch and an American gentlemen, who are residents in Japan and helped the Dutch crew to make various arrangements here and a Japanese lady who was a friend of the crew and to be interviewed as one of hikers. 
I felt relaxed when we were told to speak Japanese and no English. Actually I found that the interviewer (once lived in Saitama, Japan) and the two Japanese residents speak fluent Japanese. 
We met them at the Takaosanguchi station around 9:30 and after discussing the day’s plan, we decided to take the cable car up, then going to the top via Trail no.1 and going down via Trail no.4 and no.1, coming back at the Kiyotaki Station at the foot of the mountain by the chair lift. 
Before we set out, they fixed me (and the Japanese lady) with a microphone and a recorder
I was a bit nervous about the interview because I had been told that they were interested in the cultural/social background of our love of nature and I didn’t know how to answer but once interview started, I did not feel that I was being interviewed and instead, found myself enjoying the conversation with a new friend. 
I had totally forgotten about the microphone and the recorder and hope I didn’t mention anything inappropriate.
The interviewer was a handsome young man as tall as 186cm. Dutch people are known to be tall and according to him, the average height of Dutch male is 183cm and that of female is 174-5 cm. I asked him what kind of food makes Dutch people so tall, then he said maybe kale was the answer. I should have known that much earlier!
Though we were worried about the weather, the tour went well as scheduled without rain. 
After lunch at the noodle restaurant at the top, we started going down to the chairlift station 
I must mention that Mark, the Cameraman did his hard job very well, running ahead of us all the time, carrying heavy equipment. Thank you and well done, Mark!
According to them, they will edit the shooting this time to 15minutes program and hopefully sell it to Dutch National TV.
So broadcasting the program on National TV has not yet been guaranteed, but seeing and joining their effort here today, I really hope they will be successful.
Thank you, all of you. It was a great and enjoyable experience for me and thank you for the delicious waffle you gave me as a souvenir from Holland. 

Written by Nori

Report on the regular tour of the 15th April 2018

A guest for April regular tour was a young couple from Malaysia. They were using 15 days holidays for going around Tokyo and found Mt, Takao on the top of the list for Hachioji tourism. Unfortunately it had been raining since the previous night and still raining in that morning. It was a big disappointment for me kept checking the weather forecast for a week. However the rain was getting weak gradually and almost stopped by the time I arrived at Mt, Takao. Is it a miracle? No, I knew because we had a “hare onna” (a women brings the sun wherever she goes) in our member and her power was strong enough to send away rain! 

When we started to walk toward the Yakuoin Temple, the pass was getting covered with a white mist. How mysterious! It looked like proving the words “this mountain is filled with spirit”
The guest’s main plan was to see senbonzakura in Icchodaira but it was already over so we decided to go down from the top after lunch. There remained some yaezakura (double-flowered cherry tree) or sidarezakura (weeping cherry tree) on the way and they enjoyed taking photos of them.
In addition to our tour, an exciting event for us was going on. Dutch national TV asked TENGU to help make their program. One of the members of our club offered the help and we hiked together. Our hare woman was also interviewed and filmed. It seemed to be well done.
Before the tour, I had a lot of worry about weather or so on. But it turned to be a nice day thanks to the guest whose smile was impressing and my colleague. I asked the guest if they cared about rain on the special day. They said “Not so much. Because we have some rain almost every day in Malaysia” I learned I should take it easy and things go well.  


The private tour on April 5,2018

This tour supposed to visit one lady from Canada. Besides, the local TV station, MX TV channel 9 asked to accompany with us to make the report of the foreign visitors’  walking under Sakura Cherry Blossoms at Mt. Takao . All of us joined at the exit of Keio Takaosan Guchi Station at around 9:30 a.m The TV crew members were 4 persons in total and brought 2 TV cameras, one long fishing rod microphone and the heavy tripod (8KG). They mentioned to carry them all the way to the top. Before starting we talked the intention of this tour each other including the guest and started to walk and take video all the way  We got on the cable car to the mid of the mountain. .

We stopped at a few traditional spots such as Tako-Sugi and Yakuouin Temple . At noon time we reached to the top of the mountain. Mt. Fuji did not appeared because of the clouds today The guest was very active and wished to go to see further Cherry Blossoms in other place, Ittyoh-Daira area where the blossoms were in full bloom and we had the lunch there at 12:30. During the lunch time TV crew asked to the guest some questions about the impression there.

TV cameras crew had taken video all the way running forward or behind us with their heavy staff of the TV cameras.

We took photos everybody including camera crew there and we said Good Bye there.

Then we started to walk down on foot until the Takaosanguchi  station  through  trail No.4 and 1. We reached there at 16:15 PM. It was good walking for all of us.

 Written by Miguel


The private tour on April 2,2018

It was a fine day and warm like an early of May.

We met with a young business woman came from Singapore.at the exit of Keio Takaosan Guchi Station at around 9:30 a.m.
After we exchanged greetings each other and made confirmations necessary to climb Mt .Takao, we stated the tour.
My colleague began her guide with FUDO-IN temple including a few spots around there. Cherry blossoms were in full broom at the foot of Mt. Takao. The guest from Singapore took many photos.
We took the cable car to ascend and we enjoyed mitsuba ( tri foil )- azalea in full bloom through the window.
After we got off the cable car, we took her at the observatory area.
Unfortunately, we could not see the Tokyo-sky Tree Tower because it was hazy in the air.

We met several groups of high schools’ students as well as elementary schools’ students.
and many foreigners together with their families. I thought they enjoyed spring holidays, though it was not a national holiday.
We continued our guides regarding regular points from Octopus-cedar tree to the Sengen-jinjya Shrine. It was one of spots which the guest was impressed because she climbed Mt. Fuji in the past. I was embarrassed to answer her question that how many branch temples are there in Japan. I asked her please leave an answer for my homework.
We arrived at the summit at around 12:30. Fortunately, we could take an vacant space under Azumaya(an arbor) for our lunch. After that, we enjoyed BINGO game.
The trail 4 was taken to descend.  During the walk, we found many violets on the slope.
The guest seemed to be scare to walk the MIYAMA bridge (suspension bridge).
 So, I told her a few advices. Namely, “ it is about 40 meters long, it is not so deep,
 however, do not look down while you are walking”.
When she arrived at the suspension bridge , she began to walk and could walk through the end. I said’ You made it’. Then, she seemed to be relieved.
We took the chair lift to descend and arrived at KIYOTAKI station at around 2:00 p.m.


About the tour on 11th March,2018

Today’s guests were 3 young business men from Brazil, U.K. and Netherland.

They are temporary residents in Japan, working together for some project in a foreign company’s office in Tokyo.

They wanted to hike at Mt.Takao as well as to see the famous Fire Walking Festival which happened to be held in the afternoon on the day and we planned the itinerary accordingly.

We started the tour at 9:30am, taking the cable car up and then took No.1 trail to the Yakuoin main hall, covering various guide points on the way, including the view from Beer Mount, the Monkey Park, Octopus cedar tree, Otokozaka, Yukien Josinmon etc,. 

A funny episode here was that;
When I asked the guests if they are married, to see if they were interested in Kurikara-Do, where a match making god is enshrined. One of the guests spread open his five fingers to show his marriage ring and I almost misunderstood that he had 5 wives and told them so. We all laughed.
We arrived at the summit before noon and had early lunch there at the table under roof.

Oh, I should tell you that one of the guests was so tall that he hit his head rather hard against the lintel when he was walking towards the table. I am sorry for Mr. Gulliver. 

Climbing down via trail No.4, crossing the suspension bridge and then back on the Trail No.1, we took the chairlift down to arrive at the site of the Fire Walking Festival around 1:00pm.

Before the fire was set to the Cypress branches prepared on the ground, we had to wait for some time but once the fire was set, we all were totally absorbed and excited by the spectacular scene unfolded before us.

It was nearly 3pm when fire walking was in its height. The tour could have ended here but because I knew Ume Matsuri (Japanese apricot Festival) was being held nearby, I asked the guests if they were interested in the Festival and ready to walk for an hour or so to visit popular Ume flower spots. They say “Yes“ in one big voice and we set out for the Festival.
In the Festival, there was “Stamp Hike”, in which, participants were to visit 4 designated Ume flower spots to collect a stamp at each spot that verifies their visit. Once you collected 4 stamps, you are entitled to draw lots. As Stamp Hike was to close 4p.m., we had to hurry on our way. 

We made it just in time to the last spot “Kogesawa Ume forest”, the best of the four spots, where at the time of full blossom, pink and white flowers of more than 1,400 Ume trees cover the whole hill, making it look like a fantasy land. Though our visit seemed to be 1week or so too early, we still enjoyed the flowers.

We draw lots there to get gorgeous prizes of 3 packs of pocket tissue paper and one LED pen light(without battery) among us 4. It was a great fun and we really enjoyed the Festival, Ume flowers and Stamp Hike.

As we were reasonably tired by then, we decided to take a bus to Takao station, where we shook hands and bid each other farewell around 5p.m. .

It’s a long day but we enjoyed every minute to the end. 

Written by Nori


Report on the private tour on 4th January, 2018

It was a view of sunset down near Mt. Fuji gained at the top of Mt. Takao that our guest was anxious to see. Though the shape of Mt. Fuji wasn't fully edged with clouds, the setting sun penetrated them nicely with many long spears before it finally made them reddish.
Night view of town lights spreading flat to the horizon over mountains was special.
Ice art created by a special plant shouldn't be neglected.

Keiskea japonica
Today's or this evening's happy guest who could enjoy all of these with us was a young lady from Hong Kong, very knowledgeable in our culture with experience of visiting our country more than ten times.
Wishing for a happy encounter at the temple

I hope you aren't disappointed to find my descriptions highly exaggerated when compared with these photos.
I'm 100% sure she has better ones.       (By Sumo)