The goal was a lofty one, figuratively: To climb the highest peak within the Tokyo metropolitan area.

But those two words — highest peak — are relative: We're not looking at an 8-person, 12-day expedition to a remote snow-capped region, equipped with oxygen tanks, ropes, carabiners and crampons.

Instead, just a couple of days off, a well-worn pair of hiking boots, a trail map and a backpack containing a small gas stove to boil water for my cup noodles and hot coffee at lunchtime.