Wednesday, 13 June 2012

Access to the Sanctuary for Mountain Worship

Funicular "Aozora" passes through the middle point of the route on the Mitake Tozan Railway

It is early summer in Tokyo. The temperature is 20 to 25 degrees Celsius, but once the sun glows, it hits nearly 30 degrees Celsius easily. The best thing in this season would be to go somewhere to keep myself cool at the weekend.

Mt. Mitake is listed right along with Mt. Takao (see my blog on September 24th, 2011) as a spot to get to readily from downtown Tokyo. It is located 50km west of the city center. To visit there, you should get off at Mitake Station on the JR East Ome Line (see my blog on November 4, 2011). Then, transfer to a funicular train on the Mitake Tozan Railway.

This railway was opened in 1934 between Takimoto and Mitakesan stations. The total line length is 1100m, and the height difference between the highest and lowest points of the route is 423m. Lovely vehicles, Aozora (blue sky) and Hinode (sunrise) are operated every 20 minutes (see the top photo).

In the meantime, Mt. Mitake is famous as a sanctuary for mountain worship. Japanese people have believed mountains to be the home of gods since the pre-Buddhism era (before 552 A.D.). Mt. Mitake is no exception. Today, mountain worship becomes part of Buddhism. Many Buddhist groups climb up this mountain as their religious training.

Mt. Mitake, it is one of the best areas to gain fresh energy for Tokyoites, meanwhile the best places for Buddhists who worship mountains.

Funicular "Hinode" arrives at Takimoto Terminal on the Mitake Tozan Railway

More information about  Mitake Tozan Railway (in Japanese): 
Front view from the funicular train, Mitake Tozan Railway (movie):