Report on the private tour on December 26th 2017

The last guest of this year was the Canadian couple in its thirties who loved traveling. It was the second time for them to make a trip to Japan, and they are spending the New Year in Japan. 

After a short greeting, we went on No.1 trail, using a cable car halfway.
Unlike crowded November, the mountain was very quiet and preparation for a new year was undergoing, exchanging donator’s boards, cleaning, putting lamps alongside a pass and so on. I thought the mountain was taking a little break before busy New Year’s days. 

Chatting with guests is always enjoyable. They are very friendly couple so we talked a lot about lifestyle differences between us or their stories in foreign countries. They also seemed to be very active, joining “Mario Kart” in Shibuya or enjoying a long motorcycle ride. On the way to the summit, I got an interesting question from them. “You Japanese really like ice cream, right? Why? I see ice cream everywhere. We don’t eat ice cream so often in winter” “Yeah… You are right, but I don’t know…” I couldn’t give them a clear answer, because I’ve never thought it in that way. What do you think about this? 

Lastly, I thank you for ending all our tours of this year without any big troubles, and wish you a lot of happiness in the coming year!     (Nancy)     


Today’s guest was an Australian

Today’s guest was an elderly Australian gentleman, living in JapanKagoshimafor 2years with his wife. As he wanted to walk, rather than to take the cable car, we decided to climb up via No.1 trail. The weather being cloudy and the temperature being so low, we saw very few visitors when we started the tour at 9:30 am. , enabling us to walk and rest on our own pace. 

After stopping at Konpiradai lookout, I showed him an exposed tree root on the roadside, which, to me, always looks like a kangaroo but to others, nothing but just an exposed root. As today’s guest was an Australian, I wondered how it would look to him. To my great joy, when I showed him the root, he instantly said that it’s a kangaroo! Please see the photo below. 

We kept walking, enjoying the nature around. The guest told us that he was having some knee trouble caused by a skiing accident in his youth and had been eating a lot of avocados, believing someone’s advice that avocados would be good for knee trouble. Avocados might work but here in Mt.Takao, I told him, there is better cure for knee trouble. We took him to Jinben-do Hall near Joshinmon-Gate, where a famous mountain priest is enshrined, who is believed to have magical power to cure knee trouble and backache. Let’s see what will happen to his knee. 

When we arrived at the summit, the sun showed the glimpse of its shy face and we could enjoy lunch feeling the warmth of the sunlight.
2 elderly Japanese hikers were having lunch at the same table, cooking “ODEN”, using portable burner. As it smelled so good, our guest, in spite of himself, murmured “Oh, what a nice smell! “. Hearing this, one of the hikers offered him a bowl of “ODEN” which he accepted with thanks and gladly emptied it. The hikers, the guest and us, guides were all happy with this happening.
 (ODEN” is one of the most popular winter Japanese food. It is a Japanese version of hodgepodge - Many different foods (soybean curd, potatoes, hard-boiled eggs, Japanese radish, kelp rolls etc.,) are boiled together in a large pot with a soup seasoned with soy sauce and dried bonito flakes. For your reference, I attach the photo of typical “ODEN” in the pot below.). 

We walked down on Trail No.4 and then No.1 to the chair lift station. As Trail No.4., popular among visitors with its scenic suspension bridge, runs in tree-shaded area, the temperature there was so low as to make our fingers go numb. Nevertheless we enjoyed the wintery scenery, including needle ice formed here and there.

We safely arrived back at Kiyotaki station by the chair lift.
We are sure he enjoyed and was happy with the tour with us but he seemed to be happier that he can fly back to his lovely wife in Kagoshima the next day.

(Written by Nori)


Blog for Dec.7 Tour

The guests were 2 Singapore ladies. They have visited Japan more than once before but this was their first visit to Mt.Takao.

It was a fine crisp morning when we started the tour at 10 A.M. As the autumn color of the tree leaves was past its prime, the number of visitors was much less, compared with the one in the prime season in middle to end of November, thanks to which, we could enjoy relaxed and leisurely walk all the way.

We started the tour, as usual, with the explanation of the statue of the Sweeper Boy near the Kiyotaki cable car station, because it is the symbol of the success of “No garbage left behind” campaign and I always want to convey to our guests the importance of the rule.

Then we moved to the nearby 2 statues of the Giant Flying Squirrel, supposed to be a couple. When you have a chance to see the statues, please find their baby, who is hiding somewhere.

We took the cable car to the upper station, where we explained about the tunnels of the Metropolitan loop highway. Then we went up to the Beer Mount , not for beer but for the panoramic view therefrom. The trail No.1 took us to the Monkey Park, the Octopus Cedar Tree and Joshinmon Gate. Like in other occasions, the guests from Singapore made our job as a guide much easier because of their ability to read and understand Chinese characters that appear here and there on the way..

We made it to Yakuoin Temple, then to the summit. Mt.Fuji showed only its indistinct top in the cloud. We had lunch at the table which we happened to share with a 90years old Japanese hiker, who, to our surprise, walked all the way up to the summit alone. He seemed to be happy to talk to our guests (through our interpretation) and seeing our guests eating “ONIGIRI”, rice balls, he offered them “Takuan”, yellow pickled radish. “ONIGIRI” and “TAKUAN” for Japanese is like “Bread and Butter” for Western People. So his offer was out of kindness and quite natural from his view point but as “Takuan” smells, foreign people may need to be accustomed to it. So our guests accepted his goodwill only. 

After lunch, we started climbing down. On the way up, we had asked our guests if they felt cold and they said they felt cold. We asked the same question on the way down and their answer was they felt very very cold. Oh, we were sorry for the guests from Singapore, a land of everlasting summer.

We took the chair lift going down and it must have been freezing cold for the guests but to our relief, it seemed that the grand view from the chairlift more than compensated their physical hardship. 

We safely arrived back at the Kiyotaki Station and the tour ended there with thanks for each other, our thanks for their joining our tour and theirs for our making the tour interesting and enjoyable for them. We had another good day!

Written by Nori


Afternoon Tour on December 3rd

Luckily, the guests arrived 20 minutes earlier than the agreed time (2:00pm). 
Their early arrival was welcomed, because we were afraid that this afternoon tour won’t finish before dark. 
 Today’s guests were a party of 12 people from various countries. We were divided into 2 groups. After greeting shortly, we started the tour. The weather was perfect for the hike and it seemed this weekend might be the last chance to see autumn foliage.

We took chair lifts for our ascent as requested and enjoyed colored leaves on it’s both sides. Then we headed to the Yakuo-in temple and the summit while guiding briefly at several spots. We also stopped at Yukien which is one of the famous sights for its beautiful autumn foliage on Mt. Takao.
We reached the summit around 3:20pm. Mt. Fuji was dimly visible this afternoon. After taking a short break, we started to descend. This time we took Fuji-michi. The guests enjoyed walking on this trail, since we seldom met other people. When we got to the upper cable car station, there was a long queue. Our guests chose to walk down the mountain instead of waiting for a cable car. Though it was getting dark gradually, we enjoyed chatting and arrived at the foot. At the end of this tour, we took a group photo in front of the Kiyotaki station. The tour ended at 4:45pm and got almost dark.
The guests were gentle, intelligent and friendly. Thanks to them, this tour
went smoothly and pleasantly. 
 (Written by Sally)


Report on the JICA tour of the 2nd December 2017

Under the fine weather, we have 4 guests from Micronesia, Brazil, Myanmar and Malaysia. Compared to the previous month, it was a much smaller number, but it made us feel at ease. 

After welcoming the guests, I was surprised to find a familiar face among them. One of the female guests joined us last month, and came to us again to see autumn leaves. I remembered her and she also remembered me, so it was a happy reunion. As she expected, autumn leaves were still gorgeous. Everyone enjoyed colored leaves and taking photos. 

Our biggest treat to guests is to show them a clear view of Mt, Fuji from the top. However, despite of a nice weather, we were not able to see it because of a cloud. It was a disappointment though, instead, autumn leaves did a good job to entertain our guests. I hoped they made a colorful memory for the guests.