Chapter 8: Horses’ Bells and Dragons’ Eyes*

Chapter 8: Horses’ Bells and Dragons’ Eyes*

Morioka City is the capital of Iwate Prefecture, in the Tōhōku region of northern Honshu (Japan’s largest island). I arrived at Morioka Station via shinkansen (bullet train) on the morning of June 3, intending to spend my rest day exploring the city and learning a little about the people and culture of Tōhōku–although I had no definite plans. Little did I know . . .

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Chapter 5: Don’t Forget the Bug Spray*

Chapter 5: Don’t Forget the Bug Spray*

Japan has amazing bakeries–from high-end French patisseries to “choose-it-yourself” wonderlands filled with dozens of varieties of sweet and savory breads (some available year-round, and others seasonal). Although I often forgot to pack a good lunch during my early climbs, I quickly learned to pop into a bakery the night before and pick up something tasty for the trail.

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Chapter 4: You Are Not Prepared*

Chapter 4: You Are Not Prepared*

Due to “exigent circumstances” (discussed more in the book), we had to make due with short term rentals during our first four months in Japan. Fortunately, I had already booked our initial six-week stay through 1/3 Residence–a company that rents short- and medium-term furnished apartments in Tokyo.

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Mt. Tomuraushi – and Pikachu!

Mt. Tomuraushi – and Pikachu!

My third and longest climb in Hokkaido was the first on my 100 Summits quest that I almost failed to complete. But it wasn’t pain or exhaustion that almost cost me the summit. On Tomuraushi, as always, time proved my worst enemy. My guide Takuto and I began our hike at 7:40 am at the trailhead near Tomuraushi Onsen, where we’d spent the night. If you read the sign, you’ll notice the peak lies 9.2km from the trailhead – and they’re not an easy nine kilometers, either. The hike begins with a lovely walk through pristine forest. It has some

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Climbing Mt. Hiei (Kyoto, Japan)

Climbing Mt. Hiei (Kyoto, Japan)

Although my original 100 SUMMITS project involved climbing “only” the nihon hyakumeizan, a lot of Japan’s most famous, sacred, and beautiful mountains did not make the “Hundred Famous Mountains” list. Since I’m in Japan for the purpose of learning and experiencing as well as climbing, I’ve decided not to limit myself to hyakumeizan peaks. If there’s an important mountain in the area, I’ll try to climb it, too. The first of these “bonus mountains” was sacred Mt. Hiei, in Otsu (just outside Kyoto). 

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