I went to climb Mt Aizu-koma, one of the 100 famous mountains of Japan, and one of the few that are relatively easily accessible from Tokyo but still have snow in June. And snow it had. The goal of the climb was to break in the double boots I got for Elbrus. I also added my training 10kg weight to my backpack, making it total near 20kg (a bit too much).

I took Tobu’s overnight express from Asakusa to Oze-guchi. I was a bit surprised that I could still buy tickets for it on the day of the departure. Apparently because the famous water lilies of Oze aren’t in full bloom yet, the train wasn’t crowded at all. The train arrived at around half past three in the night, and waited until the organized buses arrived that’d take us to Oze.

It was raining when we arrived at Oze-guchi, but not when I started climbing up the standard route. Sadly that didn’t last long and I had to don my goretex around halfway up. The “path” was first a nice long walk on paved road, then turned into a trail after a flight of stairs.

Because of the weight of my backpack, I couldn’t go as fast as I’d have liked (at about the map average speed). Past the halfway mark, patches of snow started to show up and eventually the dirt changed to snow for good.

Above the forest border, the weather turned even worse. Not only it rained, but the clouds sat on the mountain reducing visibility a lot. I took a short rest at the hut near the top, then went for the summit. The summit marker is surrounded by a little “garden” that wasn’t snowed, but getting there meant navigating on snow without obvious paths and bad visibility.

The hut staff advised against the path I originally planned, saying the path is in such bad conditions that going down that way would take twice the normal time even if you knew the way (which I didn’t). So instead I went down back the same way. The rain was less bad, but it never really stopped until I made it all the way down.

I visited the hot springs at the foot of the mountain, had a good local udon lunch and took it easy waiting for my bus.