Photo Essays

Mount Takao: Hachioji, Japan

It is surprising that over countless centuries Takaosan or Mount Takao in Hachioji has remained well preserved in its pristine simplicity. The place is heavily wooded with Japanese oaks, cedars, cypresses and katsura trees. It is also rich in wild life, with an exclusive monkey trail. Located about 15 minutes from Hachioji, the Takao Mountain rises to a height of 600 meters affording an excellent view of Tokyo city, Mount Fuji and other mountain chains such as Tanzawa, Chichibu and Nikko. It is possible to drive from Hachioji to Takao Mountain or take the JR Chuo line to Takao Station. 

The area has been one of the big centers of Shinto Buddhism for the last one thousand years. Here there are temples where mountain gods or tengu are worshipped to acquire good fortune round the year. It is possible to see statues of long nosed or crow-beaked tengu outside many temples such as the Yakuoin Temple at the summit or other smaller temples at the base. During the autumn season, especially towards the end of November/early December, many people go to see the autumn foliage or koyo and have lunch under the trees.

Stone Lantern, Takao Mountain

An old mountainside stone lantern against
The rich yellow and russet leaves of autumn maple:
Timeless beauty hiding on Mount Takao!

Here you may feel the stilling of history,
The moss-covered pretensions of powerful daimyos,
And the victory of stone and mortar in the end.


Autumn Takao

The last song
Of autumn leaves:
Magical in their departure. 



Autumn Takao

A tacit belief in harmony,
Postmodern architecture
And primeval certainty,
Two incommensurable worlds
Surprising each other.


Autumn Takao

The approaching night swallows
The poignant beauty of the evening,
Leaving just residues behind.


Autumn Takao

Carpe diem,
Buying lunch on an autumn day. 


Autumn Takao

Choose a path,
Yes, certainly,
But, where does it take me?
Where does it end? 


Autumn Takao

In the shadow of trees
Hear the river conversing
With an occasional stranger
On the river bridge. 


Autumn Takao

Reflected in the mirror
Of a translucent river,
The evanescent autumn leaves
Float along with the fish
In a world of make belief.


Stone Steps, Takao

In the mottled shadows
Sunlight reminds us that
There is still hope
In the renewal of things. 


Stone Steps, Takao

Though the leaves and the river
Are still
Life renews itself
Quietly and single-mindedly.


Stone Steps, Takao

When darkness falls
The stone steps acquire luminosity
To lead you
Into a quiet, warm place.  


Takao Street

If you watch
The customers unobtrusively
They can decide
What they really want to buy. 


Takao Street

Suddenly at the end of the street
There is a small restaurant
That beckons you.


Takao Persimmon

When the last fruit
Falls in its appropriate hole
Then autumn will be gone. 


Takao Restaurant

The restaurant guardians
Watch over those who come,
Those who do not,
And those who eat;


Takao Flying Squirrel

A flying squirrel
Forever jumping
Over a smooth stone:
Will it ever make it? 


Takao Temple

A temple road
Prays quietly
For footsteps
To the mountaintop. 


Takao Temple

Guardian deities
Devising new strategies
To protect devotees.


Takao Trail

In the shadow of autumn leaves
A mountain road curves
To an unknown destination. 


Takao Water Fountain

A water fountain
Reaching till the
Snow-covered summit
Of Mount Takao.   


More by :  Mukesh Williams

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