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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Welcome, Spring . . . and Sakura-Flavored Everything

Welcome, Spring . . . and Sakura-Flavored Everything

Springtime in Japan means the return of the beloved sakura (cherry blossoms) — on the trees and on the plate. The blossoms are arriving about two weeks early this year. The trees in my Meguro neighborhood are already setting buds, and on my walk yesterday afternoon I spotted the first blossom of the year: When I stopped to take a picture, a woman walking next to me also stopped, looked up (to see what I was looking at) and startled. “Sakura!” she exclaimed. “Honto desu ne? Hayai desu ne.” (“Is it really true? They’re early, aren’t they?”) I agreed with

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CHAPTER 24: To Play With Crows

CHAPTER 24: To Play With Crows

August 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. August is not the best month for mountain climbing in Japan. It’s hot, humid, and generally unpleasant in Tokyo, and while the more mountainous surrounding prefectures are somewhat better, it’s still a challenging (and potentially dangerous) time to exercise. That said, when you’re trying to climb 100 mountains in 365 days, you haven’t got the luxury of waiting on the weather, so with the summer heat in full swing,

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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.

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CHAPTER 17: All Roads Lead to Kyoto

CHAPTER 17: All Roads Lead to Kyoto

Hieizan (Mt. Hiei) – July 2-3, 2018 This photo supplement tracks the events in Chapter 12 of CLIMB: Leaving Safe and Finding Strength on 100 Summits in Japan. The captions offer “extra features” that didn’t make it into the book. To break up the nearly 8-hour journey from Mt. Daisen in Tottori Prefecture to sacred Kōyasan in Wakayama, I made an overnight stop in the Kyoto area–but this time, I bypassed the ancient capital itself and headed into the mountains that ring Kyoto for an overnight stay (and climb) on Mt. Hiei. It only takes about 90 minutes to travel from Kyoto

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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

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Hiking The Lake Trail (Tokyo)

Hiking The Lake Trail (Tokyo)

Last weekend, I hiked the first leg of a multi-year, segmented hike of the Kantō Fureai no Michi (sometimes translated “Kantō Friendship Trail”). The trail is 1,799km (1,118 miles) long, and passes through seven prefectures (Tokyo, Saitama, Gunma, Tochigi, Ibaraki, Chiba, and Kanagawa) as it circumnavigates the Kantō (Japan’s largest flatland plain).

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