Takao-san Guchi

Today was one of those beautiful, clear, sunny Autumn days that you get here so we decided to go out for lunch to Mt Takao and enjoy some of the Autumn leaves. It was actually still a bit early for the full Autumn colours but it was probably for the best – the crowds were bad enough as it was!

This is the ropeway station. The queue was about 1-hour long so we decided not to bother:

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Still, there were some nice early flashes of colour:

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Some jizo statues near the station (had the ISO up a little too high here):

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Leaves on a pond:

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Down by the river:

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We had a delicious lunch of tempura and soba noodles at this restaurant. One of the tempura was made with dried persimmon which we’d never seen before. If you look closely the restaurant has been built around a tree that protudes from the roof:

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The inside, with tree:

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Foliage near the station:

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Shuzenji Onsen

In the middle of Izu Peninsula south of Tokyo is the onsen town of Shuzenji, named after a temple founded 1200 years ago by Kobo Daishi (Kukai). He also reputedly founded the oldest hot-spring in the town by striking a rock with an iron bar. It was a getaway favoured by artists and intellectuals in the 19th century including Natsume Soseki. Soseki came to Shuzenji to recover from a bout of gastric ulcers. The first food he had after his long illness was rice porridge, called kayu, which moved him to write the haiku:

The taste of kayu
My insides drip with spring

Shuzenji though now exists mainly to service busloads of tourists.

Entrance to Shuzenji Temple, founded in 807 AD:

Ryokan hotels line the river:

Although it doesn’t have much to recommend it apart from the onsens, it can be a pleasant place to stroll around in the Autumn with a small bamboo forest: