CHAPTER 29: Lake Akan & Meakan

CHAPTER 29: Lake Akan & Meakan

Although I originally planned for Hokkaido Nature Tours to provide me with only transport and guides for the climbs of Hokkaido’s hyakumeizan peaks, the company’s founder, Ido Gabay, constructed my itinerary in a way that not only maximized my chances of success (an important consideration, given my aggressive timeframe) but transformed the necessary “rest and travel days” into opportunities to experience much more of Hokkaido than I dared to hope for.

Read more

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

Read more

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

Read more

CHAPTER 22: Summit Dawn

CHAPTER 22: Summit Dawn

While it’s possible to climb up and back from the summit of Mt. Fuji in a day (and given the altitude of the Fujinomiya trailhead, I actually made several longer one-day round-trip hikes during the 100 Summits year), we opted for the more typical “overnight hike” in order to try and catch the sunrise from Fuji’s summit.

Read more

CHAPTER 16: Daisen’s Giant Chipmunk

CHAPTER 16: Daisen’s Giant Chipmunk

Mt. Daisen: July 1, 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. At the time of its completion in 2011, the Tokyo Skytree was the largest tower, and the second-largest man-made structure in the world. As of 2020, it remains in the top five, and is easily visible from many of Tokyo’s 23 wards, as well as the neighboring mountains. At night, and on holidays, the tower lights up in a variety of colors. I loved being able to

Read more

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 . . .

Read more