Saturday, July 20, 2013

日向山 Mt. Hinatayama in Nirasaki


That’s the start of the ‘easy’ trail up… We started somewhere else down the road…

After recovering from the body battering hike up Mt. Kagayatake, I was ready for an even more challenging hike up Mt. Hinatayama in Nirasaki. The trail head isn’t that hard to find but it is a bit of a windy, one way, narrow road up. If you don’t have a car or something bigger than a kei, you may find yourself in a bit of a hard ride/walk up the road especially if you meet another person coming down. There’s some parking at the trail head and as long as no knuckleheads park funky, you should be able to find a spot.

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This is where we started our hike. A much more challenging place to start!

We started our hike around 7:30 in the morning on a very hot July day. Instead of taking the easy, more traveled and marked trail up that starts right at the parking lot, we took the longer way up as we don’t like to backtrack if possible.The standard trail will get you up to the peak in about half the time we took and it is very accessible to less experienced hikers. We saw plenty of kids on this particular hike.

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The hike up starts a bit rough as you’ll be pulling yourself up some steep hillsides at first. There’s plenty of places to hold on as well as some spots where rusty iron stairs have been provided. The trail is easier than it looks.


The walk to the summit only took a couple of hours with minimal breaks and for the most part it was shaded by plenty of tall trees which helped kept the heat bearable. For lack of a better description, the summit was awesome. Easily one of the better places I’ve hiked in Yamanashi. There is a ton of sand stone that has been whittled down over the years by erosion which makes it look like a sandy berm or a snowy hill. The sand its self feels a lot like beach sand in some areas. It’s really unusual finding such a unique landscape so high up in the mountains.

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The peak stands at roughly 1600 or so meters. Sometimes the altimeter on my watch is wonky by 60 or so meters. It’s a beautiful spot and it was a great opportunity to take panoramic shots with my Samsung Galaxy S3 camera app. All the pictures and video shared today is provided by my phone camera. Not too shabby!


Now that my hikes are getting a bit more technical, I need to invest in some better supporting hiking boots. Cross training shoes aren’t cutting it anymore. I bruised my toenail pretty bad on the decent. Time to break in some new shoes! Ick!

I don’t like the sound of my own voice…
Awesome view!

Here’s a couple spiffy panoramic shots. Amazing!




I did it in high-tops… I still didn’t have proper boots at this point. Working on it!

Sunday, July 7, 2013

茅ケ岳 Mt. Kagayatake–Nirasaki


It’s been over a year since I’ve hiked in Japan and my body, especially my knees, are good evidence of that. After an extended period of sloth, I finally gathered enough will power to push myself out of my gadget filled apartment and socialize with my hiking friends again.

This time I have a better reason for hiking than just my health and some pictures. I’ve decided to get serious about hiking again because one of my good friends wants to take me up Mt. Fuji. If you haven’t figured it out by now, I still haven’t gone up Mt. Fuji after 5 years of living within plain sight of it. I always felt it looked better from a distance than up close. I’ve been on it by car before but never actually hiked it. Now I want to do it and I want to be physically fit before I try it and what better way to prepare me than to hit some of my many local trails available to me.


Today’s hike was a fairly simple one. Mt. Kagayatake is an easy trail to find and get to as it is just in the hills behind Nirasaki Station. The parking lot even has a properly stocked public restroom which could be a godsend for many. The trail isn’t that bad. It starts off in a thickly wooded area and quickly ascends into a craggy mountain. It’s not too difficult a climb but there were parts where having some proper grippy shoes was a must. Too bad I came up in running shoes. I still haven’t learned after all these years…


The trail looks a lot like this most of the way up.

We hiked on an especially hot day and I managed to go through my 2liter backpack of water. I usually can go through a lot less water but it was unbearably hot at about 38 Celsius and somewhat hazy because of the all the humidity. On a clearer day we would’ve been able to see Mt. Fuji from the summit, like may other peaks in Yamanashi, but this particular day the clouds decided to enshrine Mt. Fuji in a nice blanket.

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The summit of Mt. Kagayatake isn’t all that interesting to look at. It sits at 1704 meters and feels like it from the views you get. There’s some rocks to sit on and a couple of posts to mark it but on a hot day I was hoping for some trees or something to save us from the intense sunshine. I figure it would be a better trail to hike during the fall when all the hills around the peak are covered in autumn colors.

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I came down the mountain with a bad knee most likely from not using my legs for anything physical for over a year. The decent is a bit rough and steep like most mountains in this area. Investing in some hiking sticks or poles isn’t a bad idea to give yourself better footing. I may do this to treat my knees better in the future. I’d like to be able to walk on my own when I get to retirement age one day…

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