This weekend I hiked at Mount Takao, about an hour away from Tokyo. When asking at the tourist info about hiking spots around Tokyo it was the first they mentioned, I also got a leaflet with a "hiking map". Hiking here is more like following a signed route through the forest than walking around in some area along the trails of your choice with a detailed map. However, forest is forest and I enjoyed it!
A typical japanese "hiking map". You cannot get a more detailed one... and actually, you don't need a more detailed one. The only non-japanese thing about this map is that is all in english as well. Blue: touristic route with monkey park & temple complex; Orenge: Nature trail along the river; Gray (uppermost): some trail without a number through cedar woods.
Just after the start, there was a small memorial for children. Places like these, where the stone statues get some red "clothing" can be seen often in japan. In the center some incence is burned and there are two cups of lemonade and some sweets.
Now this is wat I call a forest!
Along the river trail (which I took uphill) there is waterfall. People meditate under the waterfall and of course there is a small temple. At the moment I wanted to take some pictures of the waterfall, a man appeared to prepare for meditation. In japanese I asked whether it was ok to take pictures, and it was, so here you are!
Washing yourself is one of the most important rituals in japan to do before you enter a bath (or waterfall aparently)
Paying respect to some religious sculptures is another important thing...
The meditation area is kept hidden from the public eye, so no pictures of that.
This has nothing to do with the meditation anymore, just an impressive wood-carving just below the roof of the shrine.
Further on the way there were some impressive sights, like these exposed cedar roots...
Another child's memorial (probably for a child fallen from the path and drowned in the river) ...
Some narrow, reinforced passages...
Walking "through" the river
And where the slope gets a little steep... the japanese just buid some very nice and regularly spaced stairs to make your hiking tour totemo (=very) convenient (the stairs were about 5 times as long as you can see here)