Vist 2191 gange, downloadet 27 gange
tæt på Hikawa, Tōkyō (Japan)
Get off at Okutama station and start walking from there.
The trail starts off by a steep climb and extremely long flight of stairs to a 5-story pagoda.
The pagoda itself is not memorable but the stairs leading to it are impressive as they suddenly come to sight within a split second. There is no proper landing amid the stairs and the slope is steep, a fall could indeed prove fatal.
The first ridge is relatively steep with lots of roots and some rocky spots with a few ladders (counting only a few steps) and chains. The only technical chain is still relatively easy and doesn't require to even use both hands, moreover it can be bypassed.
The Nokogiri ridge trail (map time 2:20 from the station) leads to Nokogiri yama (鋸山) at 1109m of elevation. After a short steep downhill it continues as an all but level trail very easy on the legs, the last stretch to Ootakesan (大岳山1265m) is however much steeper. Up to Ootakesan (one of the 200名山) there is absolutely no view but from the summit the thick layer of trees opens up to reveal the surrounding mountains to the West. Map time is 1:40 to Ootakesan.
At that point it took me exactly half of map time for the ascent. This clearly proves the benefit of hiking with trail running shoes as I could only get to 65% with high cut mountain boots so far.
The trail then alternates with flat parts and steep downhill before reaching the final steep uphill to Mitakesan. Most of it is exposed to the sun, and there are lots of people on this trail. The bear bell proved very useful to let people know a crazy foreigner running all in sweat was about to pass them.
When I reached Mitakesan (map time 1:15) I suddenly felt I was no longer in the mountains as the temple is very richly decorated and is full of tourists, some of them not even dressed for a hike. It felt a lot different from the usual little shrines now and there on the mountains. After a few shots of the surroundings I kept going to Hi no deyama (902m) map time 45 min and a few kilometers later I missed the trail leading to Musashi Itukaichi station and went towards Shiraiwa waterfalls and bus stop (map time 1:45)
The most interesting thing of the hike happened suddenly when I least expected it, I first heard branches being pushed by what could only be a large animal. I turned around and saw a Nihon Kamoshika, my second. I was surprised as this one allowed me to move forward towards it leaving only a distance of roughly 15 meters between us. My bear bell didn't even frighten it and I could take up to 4 pictures before it left at a leisurely pace. The first one I saw in Tanzawa was much shier and stopped running only when more than a hundred meters separated us, too far to even recognize the animal on the picture with a7.5x optical and 16x digital zooms.
Distance: 16.95 km
Accumulated climb: 2124m
Mean moving speed: 4.1 km/h
Overall a bit tough for a first trail run, I did most of the uphill walking (but at a steady pace)
More pictures here: https://www.dropbox.com/sh/nygos32s6x3dwtl/NJhpVg3uOC