I wish I had taken a walking stick or ski pole. Older ladies like these were out-climbing me left and right.
Mt. Takao is the lesser-loved child of the Japanese mountain family. Every would-be tourist knows Mt. Fuji and many are drawn to it like a magnet. It's a point of pride for visitors and natives alike to say they've scaled "Fuji-san", but Mt. Takao is really where the climbing action is at in my opinion.
Takao is closer to Tokyo and easier to climb than Fuji. It's also less riddled with litter and tourists. Incidentally, don't mistake "easier" for "easy" as I did. There are 9 different trails of varying difficulties and I arrogantly chose the hardest one. It's supposed to take a little under two hours to scale it, but I huffed and puffed my way for nearly four hours because it was so steep that I needed to stop and rest. Of course, I was 47 years old and have a bad back and a bum knee, but, still...
Takao is beautiful, offers varied climbing experiences, and a lot of interesting sites along the way (temples, nature, etc.) as well as enough vending machines to keep you hydrated. I wish I had had a chance to climb it again and again, and I miss not having that opportunity.