Saturday, May 14, 2011

Aoki Chaya, Takao (景信山山頂・青木茶屋, 高尾))

The directions for getting to Aoki are superb. They just say 景信山の山頂に登って下さい - please climb to the top of the mountain. It's a little tricky knowing how to get started though - we took the train to Takao, saw the massive line for the bus, and jumped in a taxi to the trailhead. Bloody investment bankers, sense of entitlement, better than the little people, all that.

Nice view from up there, isn't it? Since it's out in Takao, which is still in Tokyo, the flat land getting misty in the distance of the shot is actually packed densely with city.

If you do indeed follow those directions, you won't have any trouble finding the Aokis up there. Actually there are two restaurants, but I'm reliably informed that this is the best one.

Not that you can afford to be picky, and when you stop to think about the logistical challenges of running a restaurant at the top of a mountain (which no paved roads or chairlifts like Takaosan), you'll be happy with what you get. Especially when what you can get includes beer. Japanese convenience and hiking at its finest, doncha think?

You can also be happy when the menu includes things like fried mountain vegetables.

I say 'vegetables' advisedly, because a number of the things on these plates really seemed like tree leaves. Not that there's anything wrong with that; my favorite bite was actually the lower part and red stem of this leaf. I'm pretty sure it was just plucked off a tree while they were hiking in with the supplies, but it was deliciously sweet and vegetal (I love it when writers say vegetables taste vegetal.). There was also something that looked like a sage leaf, but about 8 times bigger.

Maybe the real attraction is the noodles? These are instant ramen, boiled up, souped, and topped with fresh mushrooms. And with a side of boiled bamboo shoots. There is certainly something about eating these outside, at altitude, that makes them taste awful good. I defy you to go up there and not like them.

And if you complain, some kinda neon lion is going to come out of the (tempura fodder) bushes and chow on you.
No phone, I think, but keitai works fine up there. It's in Tokyo, after all.

1 comment:

  1. One of these days, Japanese will put the vending machines (both oxygen and instant ramen) on the top of Everest.