Last Saturday, me and my husband rented a car and went to Okutama (the far western part of Tokyo prefecture) to enjoy a 4 hour hike to the top of Mitou-san. I was hoping to see koyo (red leaves) but the season was already over due to the cold weather in that particular mountain area.. I could catch only the glimpses of the beautiful red and orange momiji, mostly at the entrance of the national park.
Most of the trees were already naked so the trail was covered in a tick carpet of dry brown leaves. The incredible smell of the fallen leaves made me nostalgic, remembering my trips to Pavlovsk with my school friends. We used to go there in the beginning of Autumn to look for treasures for our herbarium albums. ^-^
The weather could not have been better. The air was crisp and cold but the sun was warm – the perfect combination for the hike.
We chose the longest ascent and took pictures at several lookouts. The winter forest is truly magical – wherever you look, you can see bright blue sky through the branches and the playful sunlight hiding in between the tree trunks. ^-^
At the top of the mountain, we had a small picnic and enjoyed a breathtaking view to the Mount Fuji. Thanks to the clear sky it was perfectly visible. ^-^
On our way back, we took the famous woodchip road – a therapeutic attraction to the elderly tourists. ^-^ It’s a road covered in soft woodchips that takes you through the pine forest and offers a magnificent view to the mountains. It’s a nice treat after a steep descent.
Speaking of treats! At the exit station, we thoroughly enjoyed fried rice cakes, steaming roasted tea and these wonderful sun-dried persimmons. ^-^
Unfortunately, in the evening, we got into a horrible traffic jam so I strongly suggest to go there by train and then catch a scheduled bus. There is a beautiful Okutama lake to see besides the three mountain area so the commute will be definitely worth your while.