Fall hike in Central Japan

8:13 a.m. on November 9, 2012 (EST)
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I'm in Japan for the year for work/research, so of course I brought along my backpacking gear. I wanted to share some photos of an overnight hike I did (Nov 2-3rd) in the Suzuka Mts. near Nagoya city. The autumn colors here tend to arrive later than I'm used to in the US, and the leaves were still at their peak even around the 3000-4000 ft range.


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 Got a bit of a late start at 3 pm, so I took the cable car up ($20 one way!).  This way I could get farther into the backcountry--and to a better campsite--before it got dark. I know it looks like an amusement park (and it kind of is), but there's real wilderness in them hills!


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This is about all I could see during the 12 min ride up. The wind was blowing pretty hard, making for an interesting ride. Once at the top, my destination for the evening was a riverside campsite about 2 hours down from the summit.

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Fast forward to the trail. The trail was marked by yellow and red tape, which you can sort of see around one of the trees on the left. It was steep hiking down from the top.  


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Colors along the way..


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The trail followed a stream down from the summit. Here's a waterfall I walked past about halfway down to the main river.


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And here's the river! The camping along the riverbank is fantastic, and there's rarely anyone else around (This was my 4th time in this area, and I've only seen other campers once). Most people tend to day hike down to the river, snap a few photos, then shoot for the cable car for a quick way down. I suggest doing the opposite!


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 More river shots...


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My camp for the night. It was rainy most of the night and it got down into the low 40s--wise decision to bring the down sleeping bag.


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Lots more river photos from the second day:


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It was a stunningly beautiful area, couldn't believe how clear the water was in the still areas.


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The bend in the river means that it's about time to cross to the other side and pick up the trail to the ridge.


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The river really narrows down here into a little gorge. I had planned to use the bridge (top of the photo) to cross, but there were signs everywhere advising otherwise, and upon inspection of its condition, I agreed. The last time I crossed the river on this old iron bridge was probably 2007--looks like it hasn't aged gracefully. I hiked down to the river (snapped this photo) then took the plunge. It was only just below the knee in the shallow areas anyway (but cold!).


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 Once across, it's all uphill for awhile.


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After a good climb, I paused for a photo at the trail junction on the ridgeline. The hardest part of the climb is actually yet to come.


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Once I reached some more flat ground, I stopped for lunch. I started to see a few hiking groups passing by at this point, as I began to loop back around to the main peaks.


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Great views from the ridgeline back toward the valley I camped in the night before. The clouds hung low all day.


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Another photo from up high. Lots of cool rock formations in the area. There's a big climbing area coming up.


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Great view down in the opposite direction, you can see some signs of civilization off in the distance. The area below is popular with climbers--despite the wind and gloom, there were quite a few out that day.


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And here's a group of the brave souls. The zoom on this camera really impressed me (thanks for letting me borrow the camera, hon!).


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After a 2500 ft descent, I'm back in the town where I caught the cable car up. Since it was a Saturday, the bus back to the train station was packed to capacity with daytrippers by the time I got there, and I didn't feel like waiting an hour for the next one. So I decided to save my 300yen and walk to the station, which ended up only taking about 45min anyway. All in all a great trip, just wish it could have last a bit longer!

 

9:00 a.m. on November 9, 2012 (EST)
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Now that looks realy nice. how did the water taste? spot any wildlife? I'll bet that tram ride is awesome during clear weather.

10:40 p.m. on November 9, 2012 (EST)
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Looks like a fantastic area.  That stream is beautiful - clear, with lots of good rock.

10:57 p.m. on November 9, 2012 (EST)
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That's a great trip report!

3:54 a.m. on November 14, 2012 (EST)
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Thanks for the comments. More trips to come from this side of the world!

9:26 a.m. on November 14, 2012 (EST)
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Are you going to tackle Mt Fuji while you are there?

12:12 p.m. on November 14, 2012 (EST)
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Very nice looking hike, bigup79. Thanks for sharing the pictures and report. I'd love to visit Japan sometime to hike and/or ski. My brother has spent several years there, but I've never had the opportunity to go (yet).

3:35 p.m. on November 22, 2012 (EST)
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Very nice. Fall colours are great! I was surprised to see how wild the countryside looked. I guess we think of Japan as a huge urban and suburban jungle, not as a wilderness area.

September 30, 2014
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