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).
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.
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. Last weekend, up on the mountaintops, the mist had rolled in and created a mystical atmosphere that was far better than running around in the humidity back in Tokyo, and making it too foggy up there to tell the shape of the mountain peak.
Here’s another quick post trying to catch up with my blog-tardiness.
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. Although the Tanigawa-dake scenery was far more spectacular, this trip was more successful in terms of completing the mission we set out to achieve. 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.
The walk up had some steep patches, even though Hinode-yama is only 900 metres. I think I mentioned earlier that for several months, autumn never stopped – there were vibrant maples out across the mountains. After it started raining, there were not many people around, so a mountain path without running into the many other hikers usually around was a pleasant change.
Once safely down the other side, we found the Okutama Onsen, a hot spring with an outdoor bath overlooking the Tama River. It was quite busy – I guess that given the weather, everyone was happier sitting in a hot spring rather than being up a mountain.