New Year’s Eve on Mt. Tsukuba (筑波山) (2021)

New Year’s Eve on Mt. Tsukuba (筑波山) (2021)

In December 2018, I established a new, personal New Year’s Eve tradition: I climb a mountain. In Japan (as elsewhere) New Year’s Eve is a time for personal reflection, and I reflect on myself, my year, and the world around me better on a mountain trail than just about anywhere else. The New Year’s Eve climb is also my way of expressing my hope that I’ll keep moving forward (and upward) and keep returning to the mountains in the coming year. This year, I chose to go back to the proverbial “scene of the crime”–the site of my original, 2018

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Hiking Mt. Muine (Sapporo, Hokkaido)[#140]

Hiking Mt. Muine (Sapporo, Hokkaido)[#140]

Last September, I headed up to southern Hokkaido for a week of traveling and mountain climbing with my friend Ido. He knows Hokkaido far better than I do, so when he was extra excited about our climb of Mt. Muine, near Sapporo, I knew to expect something special . . . and as you’ll see, Muine delivered.

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An Autumn Visit to the Dragon King

An Autumn Visit to the Dragon King

On the first weekend in November, my son and I headed up to Tochigi Prefecture to hike the Ryuō-kyō (Gorge of the Dragon King). This was my third hike through the gorge, but the first time for my son, and I hoped we’d timed it correctly for autumn foliage. As you’ll see, it didn’t disappoint:

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On Crying-Bug Mountain (Nakimushiyama) [No. 144-146]

On Crying-Bug Mountain (Nakimushiyama) [No. 144-146]

On October 24, I headed north to Nikkō, in Tochigi Prefecture, to hike a new-to-me trail that included Nakimushiyama (鳴虫山), an 1,103-meter mountain not far from Nikkō station. The route went up and over three smaller peaks, too, and though much of the trail is surrounded by trees, there were a few spots with beautiful views as well.

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