Can it really be my second autumn in Japan already?
It’s Koyo season in Japan, when the locals get almost as obsessed with fall colors as they do with cherry blossoms. The weather was perfect yesterday and the season at its peak up in the mountains (we’re still about a week shy in Tokyo proper) so I played hooky and headed up to Mitake-san for the day.
Mt. Mitake does qualify as a “Tokyo Diaries”, as it’s part of the Tokyo Metropolitan jurisdiction despite being about 90 minutes away by train. I’d been there once before, on my first trip to Japan. It’s an interesting place, one of the olders centers of mountain worship in Japan (tengus are big there). The very impressive and ancient Mitake Jinja sits at the top of the mountain.
The weather was indeed ideal – about 13 degrees and bright sunshine – and the colors at peak, so I took a lot of pictures and did a lot of hiking. Sadly due to a mishap with my camera’s SD card I had to switch to the smartphone camera about halfway through, so apologies for the poor quality of some of the photos. I also climbed Mt. Hinode, a 900 meter peak about three miles away (I loved this tiny Shrine along the way) from Mitake-san (and paid for the descent with a very sore knee today) and stopped off at Tsuru Tsuru Onsen, which is at the base of Hinode. The bottom of a mountain is just about a perfect spot for an onsen, and an onsen after a long day of hiking is pretty close to Heaven.