Mitake-san (Japan) – Flashback #17

Excuse the redundancy, but having found the secret to fixing my scanner I find myself needing to ‘re-package’ a few of these old ‘flashbacks’.

I lived near a river called Tamagawa for most of my 9 years in Japan. Without too much of an exaggeration, this long strip of cycling bliss probably saved my sanity on more than a few occasions. Living in Tokyo can be tough for a hick like me.

The cycling path along Tamagawa starts right at Tokyo Bay, near Haneda Airport, and runs up over 50 km to around the city of Ome. From Ome you’ve got relatively quiet roads to bring you into the low mountains at the western edge of Greater Tokyo.

In these mountains, perched 900 meters up on top of one of them, is the isolated village of Mitake, filled to the gills with quaint inns, a very famous shrine, and one youth hostel, which I used a couple of times, hoping they wouldn’t ask me for ID!

Here is the first time I went up, evidenced by The Emperor, in all his shit-brown glory.

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The sign says 44 km from the sea, by the way, so this is pretty far up the path. The next one is a random photo a little farther up, only of interest because it shows how the path gets more ‘natural’ and rural. Admittedly this isn’t very illuminating if you don’t know how utterly urban the scene is 20 km down river.

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Here is where I had lunch. This is a bento shop, a little place that sells already-made meals to go. Bentos, although probably not very environmentally friendly, are one of the things I miss most about Japan, especially now that, being in France, all I can get quickly are sandwiches and kebabs.

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Well, that was my first trip up there, probably in around 2003. Following is the next one, with Nigel. I think this was in the spring of 2006.

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Here we are on our way to Mitake-san. Me tempting fate to get a shot of Nigel…giving me the finger? And next, one of the hundreds of plum trees that were in full bloom that weekend.

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In the village of Mitake -san now. An amazingly thick thatched roof.

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Above: Mitake-san. Accessible by cable car or stupidly steep road. Two tickets, please!

This is Nigel the next morning, choosing his Cannondale for the ride home.

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Next, a restaurant I think you’d have to be pretty damn hungry to stop at.

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Following are a few pictures near the end of our ride, at a beer/sake maker on the edge of Tokyo.

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I guess that last picture is a good way to finish off. Anyway, I don’t remember anything after that last round..!

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4 thoughts on “Mitake-san (Japan) – Flashback #17

  1. Hello,
    When u return in “Languedoc” (Lengadòc) will u learn occitan language ?
    Regards and good travel in Japan!
    Godilhaire
    PS : please find occitan music in Japan and try to bring them to french state, in Lengadòc…

  2. I had a remarkably large, banana-shaped (and flavored) middle finger, didn’t I? It’s a shame I ate it shortly after this photo – now my gloves flop around terribly on windy rides…

  3. I just noticed – you mention we rode up to Mitake in ‘spring 2005’ – but looking at the date on my pics, it was March 8th, 2006…

    Aren’t you glad I’m keeping you honest?

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