Twice a year, in summer and autumn, Mt. Takao’s Head Temple Takao-san Yakuo-in offers the chance to experience Buddhist ascetic practices, known as shugyo in Japanese. The religious training takes place over two days and one night within the natural settings of Mt. Takao itself. The program includes taki-shugyo, which involves reciting mantras and sutras while standing under a waterfall, as well as kaihogyo, a pilgrimage-style walk through the mountains. All kinds of people participate, from office workers, to housewives to students, and it’s open to anyone, regardless of age or gender. During the training it’s forbidden to use a vending machine and drink soft drinks in the temple lodgings. Those wishing to participate should contact the Mt. Takao Shinto fuchu shugyo-kai at 2177 Takaosan, Hachioji, Tokyo. It’s a great way to get away from the stresses of daily life and rejuvenate yourself. Shakyo (copying of sutras) is also held on the fourth Saturday of every month (excluding December) at the Fudo-in Branch Temple at the base of the mountain, three minutes walk from Takaosanguchi Station on the Keio Line. It’s ¥1500 and all the necessary equipment is provided.