New Year Hike

My next hike with friends was to Takagoyama on a glorious day bathed in sunlight. At several vantage points, we had a fine view of Mount Fuji. This is surprising because Mount Fuji is more than 100 km (60 miles) as the crow files from the hike location. Mount Fuji, if I’m not mistaken, is the only tallest mountain (about 3000 m) in Japan and can be seen from various distant locations, and even from certain locations in Tokyo!

Mt. Fuji (1)

Snow-capped Mount Fuji towering over the Yokohama-Kawasaki-Tokyo coastline from a vantage point during the hike

I was told that on a clear, cloudless day, the view of Mt. Fuji from Takagoyama was breathtaking. I was happy nonetheless, to have a fairly good view. Here is another shot from the top of a hill during the hike.

Mt. Fuji (2)

Another view of the snow-capped Mt. Fuji

The glorious views from different points during the hike kept us all in good spirits. As we climbed chatting with each other happily, I picked up some plants this time that I was almost about to tread on. I took care to ensure that there were an adequate number of plants in the vicinity, and those that I picked were at unobtrusive locations. One plant taken away from the forests would not affect the environment nor cause other hikers to miss the plant; besides, I intend to propagate them and give them away to friends (There! I got that out of my mind and I can sleep easy now 🙂 )

Wild berry

Wild berry

Picked this plant with the root from a dense bush and promptly planted it in a planter after returning home. The berry is edible and has a pleasant slightly sour taste.


Aoki (Japanese Aucuba)

Gives red berries in winter and has leaves similar to that of the holly. The entire hill was covered with Aoki trees – it appears that the leaves of this plant were used as cattle feed in winter a long time ago.


Shrine built into the sheer rock at the peak of Mt.Takagoyama

We reached the peak after about three hours and found a delightful shrine built into the sheer rock face. There were mats in the shrine for weary hikers that we spread on the floor. Some of the experienced hikers wanted to do an other steep climb of about 20 minutes from the shrine to a vantage point giving a clear view of the surrounding hills. I accompanied them and got some more shots of Mt. Fuji and the surrounding hills.

Yet another view of Mt. Fuji

Yet another view of Mt. Fuji



We got back to the shrine and got out our packed lunches. We had a great time sharing food and I especially enjoyed some of the Japanese pickles made from various vegetables that were passed around by friends. After resting for about 30 minutes, we started the descent. 


We came across a small waterfall and passed lots of maple trees – the leaves of most of the trees had already dropped off. The path was covered with red maple leaves and I felt like walking on a plush carpet. I managed to find one small unobtrusive maple, and  took it home and planted it.

I am sure that once winter has passed, these plants will grow. Until then, I have placed them indoors and am watering them carefully. 


Maple – planted in a planter




Here are some updates:

Persimmon  apple
 cyclamen hibiscus

Clockwise from top: Persimmon, apple, cyclamen, hibiscus

One of the persimmon seeds germinated, and one apple seed too. I’m delighted. I’ll do my best to nurse them through winter. I’m pretty sure once spring arrives, they’ll grow tall and healthy. I also bought a cyclamen from the nursery and hope to see it through to spring and next year too. Of the two Hibiscus seeds, the second one has also rooted – so that’s a 100% success rate.

Until the next post, have a great day!

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10 Responses to “New Year Hike”

  1. January 11, 2010 at 4:14 am

    HI: We have enjoyed another visit to your blog today. It’s always a pleasure to visit as you tour around Japan.

    Enjoy You Day,

    • January 11, 2010 at 6:02 pm

      Thanks so much for dropping by, John. Like you, I prefer to read magazines that don’t have too many ads. The national TV station here (NHK) has a gardening program every Sunday and also publishes a magazine that is quite good (in Japanese of course). Have a great day!

  2. January 14, 2010 at 1:10 pm

    Hello gururajr! I am still getting the hang of leaving comments, so I hope I’m doing it right! The photos of Mount Fuji are beautiful as are your earlier photos of Japanese Maples which are my favourite tree. We have a couple of them in our garden here in Victoria.

    • January 14, 2010 at 1:41 pm

      You have got everything right so far – and thanks for your nice comments. I have started growing Japanese maples – it will take quite a few years, I guess. I couldn’t locate photos of maple on your blog through a search. Look forward to seeing them in a future post. Have a great day!

      • January 14, 2010 at 9:10 pm

        Thanks for the encouragement!
        I’ve put up a new post with a photo of our much loved ‘Mother Maple’ which is about eleven years old, next time I’ll take one of our four year old tree. Mother Maple is not looking her best at the moment as she suffered some damage to the canopy with the extreme heat last summer. Normally it is a tree that tolerates the conditions here very well and is beautiful in Autumn, but not as beautiful as the maples in their natural environment in your photos! I look forward to seeing the progress of your Japanese Maple sapling!

  3. January 14, 2010 at 10:43 pm

    That’s a great, lovely maple tree you have! It should look wonderful in autumn. Do you get seeds off it? If so, and if you have place you could propagate them. Thanks for sharing the photo. I have started with two saplings so it’ll be quite some time since I have my full-fledged maple tree.

  4. January 15, 2010 at 2:42 pm

    I am enjoying learning about japan through your posts. The views of Mt. Fuji are amazing. That is one big volcano! I really liked the shrine built into the rock face; I can imagine it was a great place to share lunch with friends. Good luck with your seedlings in 2010!

  5. 9 RG
    January 22, 2010 at 1:56 pm

    Fantastic mountain pictures! We don’t have any here in Illinois and I rarely have the opportunity to see any. We did take a trip a few years back and visited the Smokey Mountains in TN. That had to be a terrific hike. Nice to meet you!

  6. January 23, 2010 at 6:50 pm

    Amazing photos! Thanks for sharing. My son and his wife lived in Japan for several years, but they are not gardeners, so their adventures did not interest me in the same way. I look forward to seeing the success of your plants over time. Pam

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