Hiking–and Riding–on Daishiyama at Kinosaki Onsen

Hiking–and Riding–on Daishiyama at Kinosaki Onsen

To celebrate my 50th birthday in July (2021), I headed five hours southwest to Kinosaki Onsen, a famous onsen (volcanic hot spring) town in Hyogo Prefecture. In addition to some of the best hot spring baths in Japan, Kinosaki is famous for the Japanese white storks that live and nest in the area (there’s a preserve within bicycling or walking distance of the onsen town)–and the large white birds also lend their name to the Stork Express, the train that runs between Osaka and Kinosaki Onsen Station. Although the “nature” portion of the hike wouldn’t start until I reached the

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Jogasaki Coast Nature Study Course Hike (Part 2 of 2)

(Click to see Part 1 of this two-part virtual hike.) I love the Jogasaki Nature Study Course, both for its beauty and for its easy accessibility from Tokyo. When I’ve gone, it was also significantly less crowded than the Picnical Course, which is a significant point in its favor. After leaving the “hidden cove” (pictured above, and where I left off at the end of Part 1) I headed back to the trail, which followed the shore, alternating between the open coast and the forest that grows almost to the edges of the cliffs. Statues of Jizō, like the one

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Hiking the Jogasaki Coast: Nature Study Course (Part 1 of 2)

Hiking the Jogasaki Coast: Nature Study Course (Part 1 of 2)

South of Cape Kadowaki, the Jogasaki Picnical Hiking Course becomes the Jogasaki Nature Study Course. There’s no significant difference in the nature of the trail itself–the Nature Study Course is longer, and has a few more posted signs describing the natural features of the Jogasaki Coast, but aside from the extra length, the Nature Study Course isn’t really any more difficult than the Picnical. The first time I hiked Jogasaki, hiked both courses in a single afternoon–and I did the same this May, so this virtual hike picks up where the Picnical left off–just south of Cape Kadowaki. I’m splitting

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Hiking the Jogasaki Coast: Picnical Course

Hiking the Jogasaki Coast: Picnical Course

The Izu Peninsula juts into the Pacific Ocean south of Tokyo. The northeast portion of the peninsula is called the Jogasaki Coast (城ヶ崎海岸 – Jogasaki Kaigan), and it’s home to a pair of excellent hiking courses that run through portions of the Izu Peninsula Geopark. It’s a great hike at any time of year, but particularly in the summer, when the coastal breeze helps mitigate the heat and humidity.

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Hiking Marudake From Otome-Toge (Hakone)

Hiking Marudake From Otome-Toge (Hakone)

Earlier this month, I took advantage of a sunny Sunday and headed out to hike another “new-to-me” trail in Hakone: Marudake (1,154 m) via Otome-Toge. As always, the hike information is at the bottom of the post. I caught the highway bus from Shinjuku to Otome-toge; the route goes through Gotemba–where I caught a great view of Mt. Fuji–always an excellent way to start the day. I’ve hiked the first part of this trail several times, and the view from the Otome-toge bus stop is one of the best anywhere when Fuji is in a cooperative mood. She was a

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CHAPTER 28: Takuto & Tomuraushi

CHAPTER 28: Takuto & Tomuraushi

September 13-14, 2018 This photo supplement tracks the events in CLIMB: Leaving Safe and Finding Strength on 100 Summits in Japan. The captions offer “extra features” that didn’t make it into the book. Due to straining my knee on Tokachidake, I ended up canceling the next day’s scheduled climb of Poroshiri–which meant I absolutely would not be able to complete all 100 Hyakumeizan peaks in a single year. I’d already decided to shift the goalpost, however, and climb 100 historically and culturally important/sacred mountains instead, so the loss meant less to me than it otherwise would have. After a rest day, which

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CHAPTER 27: Tokachidake

CHAPTER 27: Tokachidake

September 11, 2018 This photo supplement tracks the events in CLIMB: Leaving Safe and Finding Strength on 100 Summits in Japan. The captions offer “extra features” that didn’t make it into the book. On the morning of September 11, my Hokkaido Nature Tours guide (who I’d christened the Yamabushi) and I drove approximately 200 kilometers from Sapporo to Daisetsuzan National Park in Central Hokkaido–home to some of the tallest mountains in Hokkaido, including our target for the day: 2,077-meter Tokachidake (Mt. Tokachi). What look like “normal” cumulus clouds in the photo above are actually clouds of smoke and steam rising from the

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