On those crisp and clear winter days that Tokyo puts on so well, there’s no better place to be than up a mountain. I was keen to head out and get some snow on my hiking boots and experience the cold fresh air. My day took me out to Kawanori-san, a 1,363 mountain in the Okutama area (fast becoming one of my favourite areas).
Getting off the train at Kori, town sitting in the Tama river valley, I followed the pink line on my map uphill through the town to the base of the foothills. The track rose sharply, firstly through a cedar forest, and then it skirted the edge of a large quarry, still in operation. This is limestone territory, and the quarry provides stone for cement and no doubt much of the concreting of Japanese nature throughout the region.
It took over three hours to reach the summit, the track steep for most of the way up the 1,000 metre climb. From around 800 metres elevation, there was snow on the ground, the remnants of a cold snap few days previously. It was only on the south face of the hills, with the northern side clear. Powdery and dry, it was only a few centimetres deep at most, so made the scene picturesque but not slippery.
Near the top, Mt Fuji emerged in the distance, majestic as always. People I met on the summit said that they’d never seen Fuji from here before, but so clear was the air, that it outline was easily visible despite it being a long way off.
Climbing mountains makes you hot, and I’d come up wearing only a thin layer. But the air was cold, so I broke out the warm jacket and hat before I took out my lunch, eating it quickly so that I could get moving again. I wanted to come down past Hyakuhiro-taki (a large waterfall), but time was against me, so I opted for a shorter route straight down to Hato-no-su Station.
Next up in somewhere this area is a night hike. Stay posted.