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Hiking in Yamanashi

May 8, 2008

So, what do you do at 3:00 a.m. on a holiday? Well, in my case, I was woken by the alarm clock, got up and soon after hurried to university, by bicycle. Why? Some people from my lab organized a hiking tour, invited me, and I said yes without knowing the details. Note to self: Never do that again. 🙂

However, in retrospective, it was really worth it. We took a 4-hours-drive to Yamanashi prefecture, home of many good things, and also of Mt. Daibosatsu. With a height of 1897 m and several distinguishable peaks, you can easily spend several hours there. Literally. In old times, it was a mountain pass on the famous Tokaido road from Tokyo to Osaka. Oh, sorry, don’t want to waste your time with history lessons. ^^

Anyway, the hiking was spendit. On my prior Japan journeys (check the “My other Japan Journals” link on the right side, if you like), I also hiked Mt. Fuji and Mt. Aso, both of which have been heaps of fun, but the scenery is mostly vulcano style, yielding a moon-like atmosphere (at Fujisan even much more so). On contrary, Daibosatsu is like a “normal”, densely wooded mountain, we even saw a wild boar. Accordantly our way led us over small streams, long & steep(!) paths of mud and sharp, slippery stones, and other adventurous terrain where you had to watch your steps very carefully. Starting in warm weather, it soon got chilly the higher we went. And near the peaks, it was downright stormy, very cold, and wet – for quite some time, we passed through what looked like thick fog, but were actual clouds. One of the highlights was a very good view of Mt. Fuji (see below). We also passed some small huts, and had our lunch in one of them, consisting of some convenience food – mostly rice packed in seaweeds, with different fillings. After nearly 6 hours of hiking, we came back to the cars and drove to an onsen (大菩薩の湯, a hot spring spa), spending a lot of time to soak in the hot water… interrupted by some jumps into cold water from time to time, and being stewed in a sauna. What a wonderful way to end such a nice, though a bit exhausting day. It’s incredible how relaxed you feel after an hour in an onsen.

Now, let the photos speak for themselves. Additionally, click the following links for pictures generated with GoogleEarth of Mt. Daibosatsu, Mt. Fuji, and Fujisan viewed from Daibosatsu. If you want to play around with such 3D views, make sure to load the new version of my KMZ file. For comparison, see these 8 pictures at Aso-san (clicking on a pic leads you to the next. The last one is a panoramic overview).

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