“From the shrine, you have various hiking options to neighboring peaks and valleys.”
“Among the most beautiful destinations is the so called “Rock Garden”, which is, in fact, a narrow, forested valley with a picturesque stream, lots of moss covered stones and two nearby waterfalls.”
“It takes less than an hour to reach the valley from the shrine.”
On the way I notice a path leading to a lookout. It’s a short, easy walk and definitely worth the detour.
Heading down towards the falls the path is festooned with gnarly, exposed roots.
At the bottom of Nanayo Falls is a small pool of water. It’s cool and refreshing and a nice interlude on the way to Mt Ōtake.
The ladder-like steps on the way back up are not easy to negotiate either.
At the junction where it leads down to Nanayo Falls is a large rock atop of which is a shrine and a small statue. My curiosity gets the better of me and seeing someone climb down from the rock I decide I too will climb up to have a better look.
It’s just as well I’m holding on tight to the chain provided to assist climbers as on my descent from the rock I discover it’s not taut and get the shock of my life when I almost fall. Fortunately, all I suffer is a bruised butt and ego for my troubles. Phew!
The walk through the “Rock Garden” on the way to the Ayahiro Falls is truly spectacular.
“If you want to walk some more, it’s another 40 – 60 minutes from the “Rock Garden” to the peak of Mt Ōtake (1267m), from where you can enjoy nice views of the surrounding, forest covered mountains on clear days.”
“Some passages are quite steep.”
There not wrong! And the rocks can be very slippery too.
It takes a total of 4 hours to reach the summit from the time I left the Mitake Cablecar. Whilst the initial climb up Mt Mitake was not particularly onerous, the second section including the falls has been very challenging.
The views are shrouded by cloud and haze so it’s not even worth taking a quick snap.
Whilst I’m having a bite to eat a young woman also reaches the summit. But she has just run the whole way. And after a short break of her own, turns around to run back down the mountain leaving me feeling very old and not as fit as I thought I was. Still, I don’t want to injure myself so she can have the running to herself.
Descending the mountain is faster as I don’t need to go through the valley with the “Rock Garden” and falls. But a sign confuses me as it doesn’t appear to point towards Mt Mitake. I assume that it doesn’t really matter which route I take as the high path probably includes another peak along the way. And when I soon see the other path rejoining my one my suspicions are confirmed.
Back near Mt Mitake I manage to catch another glimpse of the surrounding mountain range. The sight is magnificent!
Returning to the village after a bit over an hour I elect to walk down the way I came rather than bumming a ride on the funicular.
I’m so glad I do as once again I’ve pretty much got the place to myself as the scenery is divine.
And not content with catching the bus back to Mitake Station, I decide the 1/2 hour walk is a better option. And in so doing get to experience the rushing Tama-gawa River and watch some people swimming and white-water rafting. It looks like it would be a great place to stop-off and soak the tired, old feet.
My timing is spot on as I’m able to catch the 4.03pm train back to Ōme Station transferring once again to Tachikawa Station connecting with the 5pm train to Shinjuku Station.
All-in-all a good 7 hours of exercise. Quite a day!
Next week I’ll take a break as my wife and her friend are visiting and the following week is my last one here in Tokyo so hopefully I’ll get to climb Mt Fuji if all goes to plan.
level of difficulty : 11/20 (combined Mt Mitake + Mt Ōtake, “Rock Garden” and falls)
duration : 6 – 7 hours (including Mt Mitake)