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Hiking

Winter hike to Kawanori-san

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). (more…)

Traffic jam to the mountaintop

I’m sure many people could smugly tell me that a sunny Sunday in the peak of autumn is NOT the right day to visit Hakone for solitude.  I should have known that I’d spend the entire day in one form of traffic jam or another.  But I nonetheless made the mistake of choosing Kintokiyama (金時山), a mountain in the Hakone area, as the destination for a walk and opportunity for my friends to test out their new camera. (more…)

Through the snow to the Falcon’s Nest

Ever wanted a falcon’s view of Mt Fuji and the surrounding ranges?  Takanosu-yama (鷹ノ巣山) – translated as Falcon’s Nest Mountain – offers just a commanding view, good enough for a falcon.  On an unseasonably cold, but clear and crisp autumn day, the contrast between snow, bright coloured foliage, clear blue skies and the vista beyond was a perfect way to spend a public holiday. (more…)

Autumn at Mitake-san again

Mitake-san is a mountain in western Tokyo Prefecture with a grand, old Shinto shrine on top.  It’s become sort of the place in the hills that I head towards when I’m not imaginative to head anywhere else.  Tried and trusted, there is a network of pathways through the forest, taking in a few mountain tops, and leading down the valley to the Tama River.  I headed up with my Swedish friends for a day of autumn in the hills. (more…)

Fuji-san & the cosmos

The cosmos were blooming on the shores of Kawaguchi-ko, and the late afternoon sun was shining on Fuji-san.  I bought a new guidebook recently, which describes hikes near Tokyo that end at onsens.  The cosmos was kind to us yesterday, by providing sunshine, good views of Mt Fuji across Kawaguchi-ko, and a nearly empty rotenburo (outdoor onsen). (more…)

A morning mission to Takao-san

Takao-san is a popular mountain to the west of Tokyo with a number of hiking tracks and Yakuoin temple, and I’d never been out there.  This is surprising given that it’s only an hour from Tokyo and easy to get to, quick to climb, and (supposedly) has views across to Fuji-san.  I think what had deterred me from visiting previously was rumours of large crowds and queues of people lining up to get to the summit. (more…)

Sobatsubu-san (Mt Buckwheat Grain)

Japanese mountains can have some unusual names.  Apparently, Sobatsubu-san (蕎麦粒山 – literally translated as Mt Buckwheat Grain) may have been given its name based on its small isosceles triangular shape that resembles a grain of soba.  (more…)

Rambling around the Kamakura Alps

Japan has the Kita (North) Alps, the Minami (South) Alps, and, according to my Japanese language guidebook called “Tokyo One Day Hiking”, also has the Kamakura Alps.  Of course, they’re only about 100 or so metres above sea level, and civilisation almost reaches their peaks.  (more…)

Tanzawa Traverse

Last weekend, I hoped to go up a mountain and see some snow.  Tanzawa-san is around halfway between Tokyo and Mt Fuji, and it seemed to be a prospect to have a bit of white stuff on top of it without needing too much winter hiking equipment. (more…)

Hiking from Itsukaichi to Okutama, 24 Nov 08

After the success of our hike up and down Tanigawa-dake a month or so earlier, my friend Jamie and I decided to tackle somewhere a little lower in altitude.  We settled on a walk leaving Musashino Itsukaichi station, up Hinode-yama, and down the other side to Okutama. Whilst we had to take an early turn back to civilisation on Tanigawa-dake, the heavy rain didn’t put us off when crossing Mitake-san and heading down the other side. (more…)