Spirit of the Mountains

Back in the summer last year, in preparation of my initial foray into Yamanashi ken, I treated myself to a new hiking T-shirt from the Beerhound hiking boutique of choice, Mont Bell; a high-performance breathable, diaphanous bit of hiking haute-couture, designed for tackling the stifling heat of a Japanese summer without looking like you’ve just…

A trail less trodden

For relative hiking novices such as myself, most of our time is spent following  well-trodden trails. On pretty much on every expedition, far more capable hikers than I have broken trail and documented their experiences to help those that follow after. Great English language blogs such as Ridgeline Images, Climb Japan and Hiking in Japan,…

Encounter with the Snowmonsters – Part 1

I’ve always liked science fiction. My formative years were populated by the Daleks of Skaro, The Ravenous Bugblatter Beast of Traal, Cybermen, Vogons, Vulcans and a whole galaxy of others. In fact, I’d always considered myself no slouch when it comes to identifying alien life forms. Which was why, when my mate T enquired whether…

The Three Famous Peaks of Okutama: 3- Gozenyama

My aim of hiking the three famous peaks of Okutama – Odake, Mitoh and Gozenyama hadn’t quite come to fruition by the time Oshogatsu time came around. But after recharging my batteries over Xmas and the New Year – and armed with my new toy, a Garmin e-Trex20, compliments of Santa – by the first…

The Three Famous Peaks of Okutama 2: Mt Mito

The second of the Three Famous Mountains of Okutama is Mt Mito –  pronounced with a long “oh” sound. The most westerly of the three peaks, Mitoh san rises to 1531m. The summit actually has three peaks, and the name “mitoh” refers to the three “heads” of the mountain. The west peak is perhaps the…

The Three Famous Peaks of Okutama – 1: Mt Odake

With advancing years, time seems to whip past ever quicker and I often find myself thinking “Where has that time gone?” Looking back on 2015 I feel it just flashed past without me having a chance to actually do anything. But on reflection, while Oze eluded me, I did actually manage to get out on…

The tree of life gives hope to us all

Hiking alone around the Japanese mountains gives one plenty of opportunity for rumination and general navel-gazing. I guess in a way that’s part of the attraction – getting away from the normal hubbub and allowing the mind some space to step back and take stock. Yesterday I had a very agreeable few hours exploring the…

Indiana Jones and the Soiled Underwear – Part II

In the last instalment, your humble scribe had managed the impressive feat of falling off a mountain along a precise magnetic bearing. Muddied but otherwise unhurt, he now prepares to continue – but more surprises await! Feeling somewhat relieved, I headed off on the well-defined path. But while I was quite sure that the worst…

Bear Grylls eat your heart out

As recounted previously on these pages, I have been somewhat frustrated of late in my efforts to get out hiking. In particular, my urge to get out for an overnight trip. I had originally planned to do a 2 or 3 dayer to Oze Marches, but time has just run out. So instead, I thought…

Capel Curig revisited

Last year, I returned to the UK for a bit of a break. Being a complete knob, rather than opting for a nice restful time I decided to go hiking in Snowdonia, spending 4 days lugging an 18kg pack up and down mountains, whilst being rained on and blasted by gale force winds. In case…

A pleasant walk to start the year

Well, at just over a year later, welcome to my next blog post! This episode finds your humble scribe once again pitching himself against the savage wilderness of Takao san, but this time in a lot more enjoyable way. And accompanied by half of Tokyo… Takao and the surroundings are a great warm-up for longer…

The white stuff

It’s probably true to say that most gaijin Tokyo-ites’ first experience of mountain hiking in Japan is a trip to Takao san. Located about an hour away by train, it’s readily accessible and extremely popular for family outings and afternoon strolls in the woods. There are a number of generally well-signed trails up the mountain…