Jun 11, 2014 at 7:08 pm #1317838
You might remember my posts from a few months ago regarding a potential move overseas. Japan is now looking like a good possiblity for a transfer near the end of this year. I will be travelling to Japan (Tokyo area) in July for a workshop at our center there as well as to tour the center, talk to some people there, and to try to get a feel whether I think I would like Japan.
I'll be staying a few extra days after the workshop so that I can look around at some potential places to live and also to do some sight-seeing. I could probably manage to do some hiking while I'm there if I don't need to take too much gear.
I know some of you live in that area. Any recommendations on where to go/stay or what to do with 4-5 days would be very welcome.
-StephenJun 12, 2014 at 12:10 am #2110870Jun 12, 2014 at 3:00 am #2110875
I would consider a climb of Fuji. I think it would teach you much about all things Japanese.Jun 12, 2014 at 3:16 am #2110879
b willi jonesParticipant
@mrjonesLocale: best place in the world !?
right on… Fuji here you come… yeeeeeeeeeeaha
make it happen… plus a trip report and photos when you get backJun 13, 2014 at 1:59 am #2111195
Thanks for the replies. I guess Mt. Fuji is pretty obvious now that you mention it. The timing will be good it seems, and in case a transfer there doesn't work out, I will at least have had that experience. I'll check my vacation balance tomorrow, maybe I can hit the north Alps as well.Jun 13, 2014 at 3:10 am #2111196Jun 13, 2014 at 11:39 am #2111306
Climbing Fuji years ago while on R&R from Koreaa is one of my greatest experience ever. Did it in March so ice ax and crampons were necessary. Fell in with two Japanese lads – they spoke no English, I spoke no Japanese – we had a great time because we did speak climbing.
It will be crowded in the summer, so I imagine the JAs would be a good idea. Japan is a wonderful country and I'll bet you will enjoy your stay ,however long it turns out to be…Jun 15, 2014 at 10:51 am #2111667
Flights are booked, and I decided to take a full week for exploring, so I'll have more options (I need to take 4 weeks of vacation before the end of the year or I'll lose it).
I'll probably take two days to explore potential areas to live if I transfer, and then the rest will be real vacation time.
So, any further ideas on what to do with 4-5 days?Jun 15, 2014 at 11:50 pm #2111835Jun 16, 2014 at 4:06 pm #2111988
Thank you again for the recommendations, Rick. I think these are good options for the reasons you mention, and also because I think that it will be a reasonable representation of the types of areas that I would like to visit if I moved there.
What types of huts are these that you mention? Are they staffed, or are they just shelters (or are you referring to the "mountain inns" that are listed in at the link you sent me)? Are reservations required? Do you know of a website that has a listing of mountain huts?
Thank you for your help,
-StephenJun 17, 2014 at 12:37 am #2112081Jun 19, 2014 at 7:10 am #2112681
This trip report might be of interest in relation to Kamikochi and Yarigatake:
cheersJun 28, 2014 at 5:23 pm #2115588
Rick and Arapiles, thank you both for the very helpful information.
Rick, It is too bad that we won't be able to meet in Japan. You are returning the day after I depart. We may have other opportunities in the future.
I am a little confused about the Tateyama route. The only trails I can find are 2.5km at most, but you mentioned getting away from Murodo and possibly being the only person on the trail for hours. Am I missing something?
If there are only day hikes around Murodo, then I think that hut-to-hut hiking around Kamikochi and Yarigatake may be more fitting. I don't mind the idea of ladders and pegs, as long as I don't need any real mountain climbing experience (which I don't have). From Arapiles trip report (from an August trip) and other reports on the web, I'm not sure if I would need crampons. Is this the case? I will have trekking poles, but if I need more than trail runners on my feet, I would have to buy something.
Can you recommend options on what to do after Yari (assuming the weather and my stamina cooperate) other than just going back the way I came? The Daikiretto does seem rather intimidating. There are several options discussed in the comments on http://japanhike.wordpress.com/2008/04/14/mt-yari/ but I don't know yet if those would take me somewhere where I could get off the trail and get back to Tokyo.
-StephenJun 28, 2014 at 9:27 pm #2115646
"I am a little confused about the Tateyama route. The only trails I can find are 2.5km at most, but you mentioned getting away from Murodo and possibly being the only person on the trail for hours. Am I missing something?"
Hi, first, I think what Rick is writing is on the button. I'm not sure exactly which routes you are looking at, but a lot of people when they climb Tateyama, they mean the mountain range Tateyama (which in that sense consists of a couple of different mountains/peaks). So from what I experienced there, people climb from Murodo to a peak called Oyama, which has a toilets, a hut/shop (called Ichinokoshi if I'm not mistaken), and a shrine that you can climb. Then they turn back as this is their day hike. If you continue from there on, you can suddenly be totally alone. From there you can for example climb Ounanjiyama (the highest peak in Tateyama at 3015m) and onwards to Bessan and Tsurugimae, where there will be huts and a camp site. If you want to climb Tsurugi you have to read up a bit on her, and do it in the morning – if you have good weather (lots of rescues from there if I'm not mistaken).
If you can, buy in advance, or once you arrive in Japan, go into a outdoor/climbing shop and get map 36 of the Kita Alps
Hope that helps. Don't underestimate the rainy season, and have fun.Jun 28, 2014 at 9:36 pm #2115648Jun 29, 2014 at 1:13 am #2115676Jun 29, 2014 at 7:26 pm #2115921
Thank you Jakuchu-san for the advise and the preview of the map. I will buy one when I arrive in Japan. It looks like there are an endless number of routes that could be combined for hiking in the Japanese mountains.
I will look at crampons. I don't think I will find any in Houston, so I may have to order some quickly online or pick some up when I get to Japan. I expect they might be cheaper here though. They look like miserable things to try to pack. I wonder what is the least aggressive (least expensive) style that I could reasonably get by with.
Rick, I had overlooked your recommendation for the facebook page (I may have an unconcious mental facebook filter), but I will certainly post some messages there. Enjoy your rock scrambling course.
-StephenAug 3, 2014 at 9:47 am #2124308
I took a direct bus from Shinjuku Sunday (July 13th) morning to Kamikochi, which arrived at around 12:30. From there I walked to Yokoo-sansou, which took only 2-1/2 hours, but it was raining so I stayed there for the night. Yokoo is quite nice; it even has an onsen.
Monday morning it was still raining. I discussed Yari with some experienced-looking people and when they considered the weather and my gear, they told me “day-hike” and pointed me toward Hotake, so I took their advice and went west. I arrived at Karasawa-hyutte before 11:00, but ended up not going any further that day. It had rained constantly, and I had to cross some snow fields with very limited visibility. I found this a little unnerving due to the lack of clear paths across the snowfields and the very poor visibility, especially since one of the snow fields had water running under it. I also found that I was still quite weakened from the bad cold I had caught on the plane, and eventually decided to just stay at Karasawa-hyutte for the night and I took the free time in the afternoon to rest up. This hut is apparently extremely popular in the fall when the leaves change colors.
Tuesday morning brought clear skies and there was no more rain forecast until the next day. I considered going up to Hotakadake for the day and spending the night up there, coming back down via the same route the next day, but I would have likely had a lot of rain that next day coming back down, and I’d had enough rain. I was about to just call it quits and walk back to Kamikochi and go back to Tokyo, but I met a very nice German couple who were going to go up to Hotakadake and from there head south and spend the night at hut part way down the mountain. That would leave them with just a short hike down to Kamikochi the next morning before the rain was expected to start. They had researched the route and it was supposed to be free of snow most of the way. I decided to join them and we left around 7:00. We had to cross quite a bit of snow at first, but it eventually turned to rock with a lot of scrambling required. We made good time up to Hotakadake-sansou and then traversed over to Okuhotakadake, with great views and even a shrine on the peak. The terrain was pretty rugged, and most people that passed us had helmets on. From there we headed toward Maehotakadake and then down to the next hut (I can’t remember the name right now, and it isn’t labeled in English on the map). The German guy thought it was going to be easier going after Okuhotakadake, but it remained quite rugged with a lot of scrambling and quite a few chains. It wasn’t too dangerous in itself, but I had really exceeded my endurance and could have gotten into a bad situation a few times due to fatigue. I was really beat when we got to the hut at around 16:30. This hut was only 5 years old, as the original hut had been taken out by an avalanche.
Wednesday morning we hiked down to Kamikochi with very sore legs. I was able to get a refund on my bus ticket which was for the next day. We went to a nearby town with onsen to clean up, and then I got a bus back to Shinjuku.
Here is a link to a panorama I took at Okuhotakedake: http://photosynth.net/view.aspx?cid=2e6e6abe-a3e3-4a75-bebf-60b521097fe1Aug 3, 2014 at 4:53 pm #2124410Aug 7, 2014 at 4:07 pm #2125731
I had indeed been warned about the Hotaka ridgeline in general, but the guy I went with said it was the section to the north that was bad, and that the part we would be on wasn't that bad. It seemed the best option at the time, and I did get some great views! I also learned that my foot, which I broke earlier this year, is no doubt fully healed – this route was a sure test of that.
Yes, it was type 2 fun for sure. Some other factors *did* scare me off of relocating, however. Some big ones are the crazy working hours and the long commute. In an effort to reduce the number of hours people were working, our center there introduced a 10pm curfew. A chime goes off just before 10, and if you work to 10 two days in a week your manager is supposed to have a talk with you. I was told that I didn't need to work exceptional hours, "as long as the work is getting done" (and they are seriously understaffed for their workload). I've been told by others in the center that I should live in the more international areas of Tokyo or else risk "social suicide". Those areas are an hour to an hour and fifteen minutes from work. Along with a few other concerns, I didn't come back with a good feeling about transferring there. I really wanted to visit there and love it, but I don't think that kind of lifestyle would be healthy for me.
Anyway, some pics:
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