This morning I took a break from mountain climbing to visit Suizenji Jojuen, a 17th century garden established by the Hosokawa samurai clan, who ruled Kumamoto at that time. At the entrance to the garden, a gentleman sells food for the koi and birds that inhabit the park — the English translation of his sign reads “Bait for Dove,” which sealed the deal for me. I love birds (including the ones called “doves” in Japan but known as pigeons in the USA) and jump at the chance to feed them. That being said…I didn’t anticipate the unusual friendliness of these doves. They ran to me the moment they saw the bag of popcornRead more
I tend to plan my travel fairly thoroughly, but always leave enough flexibility in my plans to enjoy the unexpected opportunities that happen frequently here in Japan. Last week, I traveled to the Fuji Five Lakes region, near Mt. Fuji, to continue my climbs for the 100 Summits project. While on the train to Kawaguchiko (Lake Kawaguchi), I saw a flyer advertising New Year fireworks–a common celebratory event here in Japan. To my surprise, the flyer said the final night of fireworks was that very night–and since my ryokan (traditional inn) was located near the lake, I hoped I would be able toRead more
While most people have heard of Mt. Fuji, many Western visitors have never heard the name of Fujisan’s “rival,” Tsukubasan, or the legend that created the historical rivalry between the peaks.Read more
On December 31, 2018, I climbed Mt. Tsukuba – at 871 and 877 meters, its peaks are among the smallest of the Nihon Hyakumeizan (100 famous mountains of Japan) but the peak itself has important links to the Japanese creation myths, as well as a “rivalry” against Mt. Fuji (which Fujisan may or may not be aware of).