On Saturday 8 February, M and I took the children to Mount Kagenobu with Bāba, the grandmother of one of Big Sis’s preschool friends. Like our previous week’s walk to the Hachiōji Castle ruins (八王子城跡), this hike began at JR Takao station, from where we took the bus to Kobotoke (小仏). We had taken the same route in the opposite direction on our way home from our last hike and Big Sis recognised it, stunning her adoring father with her growing memory skills. From the bus stop it was a short walk along a sealed mountain road past Hōshūji (宝珠寺) temple to the trail head. From there we headed up a steep, densely forested slope before coming out onto a ridge from where we could see the peak of Mt Kagenobu. After a brief stop at the top of that first ridge, we climbed the final 20 minutes to the summit. At first the trail was quiet, but as the day wore on the crowds started to gather. At the summit, Mt Kagenobu Tea House was starting to buzz. There were hikers eating hot noodles and a wizened mountain man sanding the face of a wooden pestle used for making Japanese mochi (pounded rice cake). We enjoyed our packed lunch of sandwiches, boiled eggs and half-thawed edamame. Then it was time for a look at the beautiful view of Mt Fuji before heading down a different trail towards the Kobotoke Pass (小仏峠). The mountain was getting very crowded and as an increasingly tired four year-old Big Sis began dragging the chain we had to let the groups of hikers pass. On reaching Kobotoke Pass the crowds seemed to thin suddenly and we enjoyed some chocolate cake and gazed out over the valley towards the ridge we had hiked up that morning. An entrepreneurial mapmaker had laid out his wares by the side of the trail for passing hikers to peruse. I ended up buying a map of Okutama (奥多摩) with a future adventure in mind. From here we headed down the mountain towards Bijotani Bridge (美女谷橋) where we found the sealed road once again. We staggered along it to the bus stop which would take us to JR Sagamiko station and from there we were homeward bound.