One of the 100 famous Japanese mountains in reach for a day hike from Tokyo is Mt Nasu (which in Japanese is a homophone with “eggplant”) in Tochigi. It’s easy (though not particularly cheap) to get there by (bullet) train and bus. This time I went for a quick hike to the Chausu peak (which is a much shorter climb than the highest Sanbon-yari). The weather wasn’t exactly great, cloudy and extremely windy, but at least it wasn’t dumping on me.
Mt Tate is a pretty famous tourist destination. Sure with the coronavirus going on it’s only dedicated people (like me) there, but usually the place is buzzing with tourists to the point you’re more likely to hear Chinese than Japanese. Now it was quiet though. And unlike the last time, now my destination wasn’t Mt Tate itself.
I went to climb Mt Tsurugi (“sword”), a mountain that’s considered maybe the most technically difficult of the 100 famous Japanese mountains. The reason is that it’s a steep, rocky mountain where the “trail” often turns into climbing straight up a rock face (with the aid of chains). To make it even more exciting, the weather was bad too.
Sadly this year the southern Japanese Alps are very difficult to access. All the mountain roads are closed, the buses aren’t running and some municipalities outright announced they don’t accept any climbing notices. So basically you either have to walk in all the way from one of the still accessible mountain passes, or go for the mountains “at the edges.” Since I wasn’t in the mood for a 30km approach just now, I decided to take the latter choice and climb Mt Kai-koma.
Much rest wasn’t planned. Maybe eat something nice, drink a beer and enjoy a hot spring and get some sleep in a bed for a change. More important was doing my laundry and refilling water. The previous four days in the Ushiro-Tateyama range were fun, and I was up for more.
I was confused why the Ushiro-Tateyama mountain range (from Jiigatake to Mt Shirouma) is called what it is. It means “rear Tateyama” which is weird from my point of view: isn’t it in front of Tateyama? The name of course would come from the other (Toyama) side, but it still feels weird.
A while back I walked into a bookshop and I spotted a mountain magazine focusing on the so-called kiretto of the country. These are gaps in the mountain range, often very “deep” cols with pretty tough terrain. This magazine named three as the “big three” of Japan: the Hachimine col between Mt Kashima-yari and Mt Goryuu, the Kaerazu col between Mt Karamatsu and Mt Shirouma, and the “great” dai-kiretto between Mt Hotaka and Mt Yari.
Alas this isn’t about seeing Avatar live, though I’d definitely love that too (not with the virus though, not anytime soon). This is, on the other hand about climbing three of the Hundred Famous Japanese Mountains in the Northern Alps – and one of them is called Washiba-dake, which would be “wings of the eagle.”
I got really fed up with sitting at home because of covid. So instead I rented a car and went for a snowy hike where I wouldn’t be likely to run into people: Mt Asama, an active volcano. In fact I only ran into 1-2 people on the way.
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