2023年1月2日月曜日

Report of Monthly Tour on 18 December

 

Today, we have two guests from Taiwan and his Japanese university friend.

We started the tour around 9:45. Despite of cold weather, many people were in front of the station, since it was fine Sunday.

At Kasumidai observation deck we enjoyed the view of Kanto Plane. High rise building in Shinjuku, Tokyo Sky Tree, Yokohama Landmark Building or so.



The view from the Jyuuicchoume-teahouse was good, Sagami Bay was shining, and we could even see Eno-shima and the Boso Peninsula.

The Octopus Cedar was decorated with shimenawa to welcome the New Year.

Learned the legend about the Octopus Cedar, we put our hands on the Hippari-dako wishing for good luck!





While explaining the vegetation of Mt. Takao on the ridge road that separates the cold temperate forest from the warm temperate forest, powder snow began to fall, we felt the arrival of winter.

The Stump Theater was decorated with paper dolls of Santa Claus and a Christmas tree, creating a Christmas mood.


At the board of TRAVELLING BATTERFLY(CHESNUT TIGER), a guide explained that it can move long distance. Then a guest added that there were persons in TAIWAN checked the marking on the chestnut tiger arrived there. It was the first time that we knew such an activity in TAIWAN.




It is said that the great tengu and small tengu, who are the divine envoy of Izuna Daigongen ( ruler of this mountain), pays off the bad luck of the people and brings good luck by his spiritual fan.




If you wash money with the water of the Eight Great Dragon Kings, it will increase.






The view from the summit was good, but shy Mt. Fuji did not show us her face.

And perhaps because of the Diamond Fuji season, there were many visitors on the summit.





When we entered into the narrow cave shrine of Benzaiten, the goddess of music and commerce, we saw some people praying eagerly , so we turned back.


Although the peak of the autumn leaves was past, but some maples still showed beautiful gradations in the bright light.


Eventually, we came back to the foot of the mountain at 2:45 pm and took photos with our guests again in front of the Kiyotaki Station (i.e. the cable car station).


Usually, we say good bye to our guests at this point, but this time as they showed some interest about plant or so, we lead them to TAKAO 599 Museum to show some plant samples and so on.



from TAKAO 599 MUSEUM

     (written by Keita)投稿者 TENGU Takao-san English Volunteer Guide Club

2022年12月25日日曜日

Walking in autumn leaves on Nov.20th, 2022

 At station

On Nov.20th at 8:30am, we had 5 international students from Indonesia. Due to the bad weather forecast, It was not crowded even in the busy season. There's quite a few people at Takao-sanguchi station.



On trail No.1

There’re many stalls along trail No.1. They enjoyed sesame dumpling “Dango”.




In Yakuoin temple

We explained the history of Yakuoin temple, the founder “Gyoki”, Buddhism, Shitoism, etc. We’re really happy that they got interested in the story.



At the top of the mountain

 We had lunch at the top of the mountain. We enjoyed chatting about Indonesian cuisine and Japanese cuisine, like “Nasi campur” in Indonesia and “Campur” in Okinawa,Japan.




On the way back to the station

We went down No.4 trail. We enjoyed the rich nature in the area.



We arrived at the station at 2:00pm and said goodbye to the guests.

We had grateful messages from guests. It was a really great time.Thanks guests. Terima kasih (Arigato)






From our guests (Mt. Bromo in Indonesia).











2022年12月7日水曜日

We still enjoyed autumn foliage on the hike on Dec 3rd

On December 3rd at 10:15am we had 13 guests from JICA gathering at the exit of ticket gate of Takaosan-guchi of Keio line.  In this day, the winter cold has suddenly come and the temperature in the early morning has dropped to a few degrees Celsius around here though Mount Takao Momiji Festival had been holding until December 4 from October 29. Even so, the Takaosan-guchi station was overflowing with hikers. After introducing each of us, we split into two groups and headed for the summit.


 In front of the statue of Kobo-Daishi at Fudo-in, a branch temple of the main temple of Mountain Takao, our guide explained the relationship between the miniature 88 holy places of Mt. Takao and the pilgrimage of Shikoku Island of western Japan. The shingon sect of Buddhism was founded by Kobo-Daishi and the temple of Mt. Takao belongs to that. It is said that Kobo-Daishi was born in Shikoku and travelled around there to spread Buddhist teachings about 1200 years ago. To accomplish the Shikoku pilgrimage, it takes about two months over 1400kilometers on foot. But the miniature course on Mt. Takao only takes a day or two. In other words, you will receive some benefits with less effort.


 Although the sky was cloudy, the sun occasionally shone through. At the Kasumidai Observatory, we were able to see the Sky Tree clearly. It is 634 meters high, and the observatory is over 472meters high. From here we can enjoy a spectacular view of the Kanto plain including central Tokyo.


 Along the trail no-1, the warm temperate forest zone from the south with an average temperature above 13 degrees Celsius faces the cool temperate forest zone from the north with an average temperature below 13 degrees Celsius. This mainly abounds Mt. Takao with some 1600 various species of plant. We walked this ridge trail of no 1, seeing more deciduous broad leaf trees on the northern slopes, contrary on the southern slopes there are more evergreen broad leaf trees. Red blossoms of camellia trees were seen here and there on the southern slopes. Another reason for the rich biodiversity comes from a much higher proportion of the natural forest of Mt. Takao compared with the surrounding area.


 At Yuki-en, we were still able to enjoy autumn foliage. The leaves of the maple trees turned red and yellow, and it was very beautiful under the winter sunshine.


 Around 12:30 we saw a group of Buddhist priests march in procession to the stairs to main hall to hold the Goma Fire ritual. Goma Fire ritual of Mt. Takao Yukiji-temple is held 6 times every day. It is said to have originated in India and refers to a Buddhist ritual of burning cedar sticks at the fire alter for divine blessings. The ritual lasts about 30 minutes.



 We arrived at summit around 13:00. From here, we could see Mt. fuji in thin clouds. Around the summit was crowded with many people, so we split into several small groups and had lunch. With the summit signpost in the background, everyone gathered and took a group photo.



 On the descent, we took trail no-4 then through Miyama-bashi, a suspension bridge, joined trail no-1. It was a pleasant walking through the woods down mountain trail. Then we got on the chairlift which took 12 minutes back to the foot of the mountain. Around 3pm we came back in front of Kiyotaki station. All of us returned safely and probably satisfied with the comfortable fatigue. We took a group photo again then ended the hiking tour by saying thank you for having a good time.



 A surprising story found later; one of the guests had participated in the hiking tour in snow remaining February 6th 2016, six years ago and one of today’s guides also had guided the same guest as well as today.


You will wonder why they did not figure it out when they met this morning. I think six years is a very long time.(Comson) 

2022年11月21日月曜日

Report on the TENGU Tour held on 18 November 2022

 

At 9:00 am. we met our guests just out of the ticket gate of the Takaosanguchi Station on the Keio Line.

 Our guests were a middle-aged couple and their daughter from USA who had been staying in Japan since Saturday, 12 November. 

 On the way, after guiding our guests on the statue of Osoji-Kozo to remind them of our “Don’t leave any garbage behind” campaign and Japanese Giant Flying Squirrel that are native to Japan, we took a cable car leaving at 9:40 am from the Kiyotaki Station.


We, then, followed Trail 1 which is the front approach to Yakuo-in Temple.The weather was reasonably good while it was not good enough for a clearer view of Tokyo Skytree and high-rise buildings in the central Tokyo from Kasumi-mae Observation Deck. Although we saw a lot of foreign tourists, Trail No. 1 was not too much crowded unlike on weekends at this time of the year. 

So, we could afford to spend more time in guiding our guests on the rich biodiversity of Mt. Takao, especially about the plant life, Mt. Takao as a sacred mountain of Shugendo as the fusion of Shinto, the indigenous religion of Japan and Buddhism, etc. stopping at some of the landmarks there, including Tako-sugi (Octopus Cedar Tree), Joshin-mon Gate (Gate of Purified Heart), Jinben-do Hall which is dedicated En-no-gyoja, the founder of Shugendo, etc. 

When we reached the fork on Trail 1 and we were pressed for a decision as to which route we should choose, “Otoko-zaka” (with 108 stone steps), literally, the Slope for Men on the left side or “Onna-zaka”, literally, the Slope for Women on the right side, the father and his daughter chose Otoko-zaka and the mother chose Onna-zaka.

Even detouring to Yuki-en located at a little elevated place between Otoko-zaka and Onna-zaka where our guests enjoyed the photogenic white Thai style stupa taking some pictures there around 10:40 am, we were still able to arrive at the precinct of Yakuo-in Temple by 10:50 am.

 


Our guests enjoyed some shopping in the grounds of Yakuo-in Temple and purchased some of the good luck charms.

 Unfortunately, by spending a little too much time for shopping, when we arrived at the main hall of Yakuo-in Temple at 11:10 am, the 3rd performance of fire ritual by the monks called “Goma Fire Ritual” had already begun.

Consequently, we failed to witness the procession of Buddhist monks on the way to or from the main hall of Yakuo-in Temple.

 I hope that our guests have well understood the difference between (i) the main hall of Yakuo-in which has the Buddhist temple like appearance except for being decorated with a “shimenawa”, a twisted rice straw rope with a cut and folded white paper symbolizing Shinto and (ii) Izuna Gongen-do Hall which has the Shinto shrine like appearance except for being equipped with an incense burner symbolizing Buddhism.

 We explained to our guests that the essence of Japanese culture is “fusion” and one of the most important concepts in the Japanese culture is “harmony”.

Although we arrived at the peak of Mt. Takao well before noon, unfortunately, the air was not clear and dry enough to see Mt. Fuji.

 Instead, I showed a picture of Mt. Fuji viewed from the peak of Mt. Takao explaining (jokingly) that they should have been able to see it if they had behaved a little better.


After having lunch there, we took photos together with our guest at 0:20 pm.


We left the peak of the mountain around 0:30 pm after taking the picture of our guests in front of the monument indicating that the mountain is at an altitude of 599 meters.



On the way back, we took a different route by following, firstly Trail 1, switching to “Iroha no Mori Trail”, then switching to Trail 4 going through a suspension bridge called "Miyama-bashi Bridge", which was one of the highlights on that route where we took photos of our guest again, and then came back to Trail 1.


We continuously walked down Trail 1 via Konpiradaienchi (Konpiradai Observation Deck) which also commands a nice view of Tokyo.



Eventually, we came back to the foot of the mountain at 2:15 pm and took photos with our guests again in front of the Kiyotaki Station (i.e. the cable car station).

 


Then, we said “good-bye” to them, which was the end of the tour.

 Some people may notice that my partner as a tour guide from the TENGU members switched from Nabe-san (who left the tour at the chair lift station on the way back) to Comson-san who took over the position of Nabe-san after playing another his role as a volunteer tour guide for Japanese visitors at Mt. Takao on the same day. 

 What a great teamwork, isn’t it?

 





2022年11月14日月曜日

Private tour on Nov. 9th,2022

 Today’s guest was a youth from Australia, who is holidaying in Japan, traveling around from Tokyo to Kyushu.




The weather was perfect with comfortable temperature. We started the tour at 10:15,

a rather late start compared with the usual tour. We had planned to take the cable car but as we didn’t want to waste time waiting for the cable car, we took chair lift to climb up instead. The reason for our hurrying along was that the guest wanted to experience the Shojin Ryori (Buddhist vegetarian cooking) to be served at the Yakuoin guest house from 11:00am, subject to prior sale. Though the number of visitors to Mt.Takao today was not as big as that of the peak time (which could be 1-2 weeks later), we wanted to make it sure that we will never miss the lunch. We arrived at the guest house in time. The lunch consists of rice, miso soup. (both free refills), salad, Udon soup(Japanese flour noodle), pickles, grated Japanese yam, sesame tofu and sweet red bean soup as a desert.

We enjoyed the lunch. It’s a fun and you may try it if you like. An advice for you here is that they accept cash only, no credit cards are acceptable.





Then we started to the summit, where unfortunately we could not see Mt.Fuji due to the fog but could see at the visitor center there the giant flying squirrel (stuffed), a popular mascot of Mt.Takao.

 As we had no reason to hurry any more after lunch, we started descending leisurely via Trail no.4, where we crossed the popular suspension bridge, enjoying the autumnal tints all around. We safely arrived back at Kiyotaki Station by cable car, bathing in the afterglow of the beauty of Mt.Takao.


Though we were in a rush climbing up, we hope our guest enjoyed the tour including the lunch. The tour ended around 2pm.

 


(Written by Nori)