Today’s guests were 9 of them, from Argentina, East Timor, Egypt, India, Indonesia, Kenya, Mexico and Myanmar. We decided to make the tour in two groups with 3 guides for each group.
We started the tour as usual with the explanation of the statues of Sweeper Boy and Giant Flying Squirrel in front of Kiyotaki station. Then we took the cable car up to Takaosan station. The tour seemed to have started smoothly until when we found in the cable car that one of the guests was missing. Arriving at the Takaosan station, one of our guides was almost taking the return cable car down back to Kiyotaki Station to look for the missing guest, when the guest appeared to our great relief from no-where. As the fact that he was right there with us was important, no one asked him where he had been but we all wondered.
From the Takaosan station, we took the trail no.1 heading to Yakuoin temple and to the top of the Mt. Takao. On the way, we visited and made explanation on various spots including Kasumidai scenic point, Monkey Park, Takosugi, 2 different climate zones with different types of trees, Josinmon, etc.
At the fork of the trail, we had an option to go via challenging Otokozaka(men’s slope) or gentle Onnazaka(women’s slope). Otokozaka has 108 steps and this number of 108 has special meaning in Buddhism, namely it is the number of worldly desires that every human has.
We explained that it is said that by climbing up these 108 steps, one could be purified and freed from those 108 worldly desires. Probably because they were already pure enough, all ladies in one of the two groups chose Onnazaka, or it could be that they were just tired.
We visited Bussharito (stupa) and explained about the stupa as well as the stone engraving showing Buddha’s life in 4 phases. We thank for interesting supplementary information and explanation given there by an Indian guest who knew well about Buddhism.
When we arrived at Yakuoin temple, Goma fire ritual was going on and we could see the ritual and the procession of the Priests going back to their quarter after the ritual. The guests seemed to be impressed with the ritual as well as costume of the priests and the sound of trumpet shells they blew.
We arrived at the top of the mountain around noon and went to the usual place for lunch. But the place was a bit too wet because of the recent rain, so we went back to the open space under the shade at the top. After the lunch, Chiko san, one of our guides, gave all the guests Orizuru (folded paper crane) that she had prepared for them. The guests are all very pleased and thanked her.
After taking photo of us all together on the top, we started going down. We took the chair-lift that proved to be very popular among the guests. As they enjoyed the ride with the beautiful scenery all around, many of them bought the photos of themselves sitting on the chair. We arrived back at the Kiyotaki station around 2:pm.
Though we could not see Mt.Fuji today, we, guides and guests, thoroughly enjoyed the tour - natural beauty, history and conversations/communications.
We thank all the guests for this good day and we hope today’s tour would be a part of their good memories in Japan.
Written by Nori