I first went to Takedao 武田尾 last year when I joined a group from my Japanese class on a hike there from Namaze 生瀬. It is difficult to imagine that this beautiful spot in the mountains, on the banks of a fast flowing river, is only 3 stations from… JR Takarazuka Station 宝塚駅, and therefore easily accessible from my school Smith’s School of English, Kawanishi スミス英会話 川西校.
Takedao is famous for a study carried out on its great variety of wild cherry trees.
On Sunday April 19 there was an organised walk at Takedao to view its famous 桜. The walk started at 10.00am at JR Takedao Station. When I arrived with my wife, Megumi, and my friend John, we noticed that there were several hundred people there, and a long queue to “register” for the walk. In time honoured Japanese tradition, the event was organised to the last detail. There were numerous men in green caps who were in charge and also acted as guides; when we were registered we were divided into groups and given stickers with our group numbers, which had to be worn, and once everyone had registered, there were speeches before the walk could start.
We started walking with the groups, and went through some tunnels (the path is the route of a disused railway), but soon decided that we would rather get away from the crowds. We decided to follow a route up into the mountain which was on a leaflet that we had been given. A woman from the organisers told us that it was suitable for “fit and experienced walkers” but we decided that we could do it easily because it was only a 2.2 kilometer loop. An hour and a half later, with sore legs and pounding heart, we still had not reached the highest point, a view point where we planned to eat lunch.
Overall, the walk took us about 3 hours (including lunch break), and we were pretty shattered at the end of it. But it really was worth it. The scenery, the fresh air, the birdsong, the sakura, the beautiful view from the viewpoint…..
I can’t wait to go back to Takedao. In fact, I think it could be a really great day out with some students; the walk from Namaze to Takedao, an easy stroll of about 8 kilometers, with good places to stop for a picnic. Maybe a few schools could do it ogether in the autumn. What do you think?