Haikingu Ni Ikimashou!

Grab your backpack and throw on your hiking shoes! Haikingu ni ikimashou! (ハイキングに行きましょう! Let’s go hiking!) Yes, it’ll be a leg-testing, lung-busting climb to the top but I assure you, there is an “up” side. The views from the choujou (頂上; peak, summit) will be absolutely saikoh! (最高;fantastic) I promise. Sa, shuppatsu! (さあ、出発; off we go!)

Yoisho! (よいしょ!) What’s in that huge backpack of yours?!? (Show off your fine understanding of the Japanese language by casually saying the word “yoisho” when, for example, you’re about to stand up while lifting a heavy load, such as a “bakku pakku.” While there’s no direct translation, the closest English word may be “upsy-daisy”.)

Oh no, I’m sorry! Did I forget to tell you?! We’re staying at a yamagoya (山小屋;mountain hut) so you didn’t need to bring your tento (テント; tent), nebukuro (寝袋; sleeping bag), gasu konro (ガスコンロ; canister stove) and kohheru (コッヘル; pot/pan set). When hiking in Japan, you can take advantage of the many yamagoya providing warm meals and accommodation for hikers. While during peak season, the price can be quite steep, it can save you from having to carry a lot of camping gear.

These mountain huts usually provide a futon, dinner as well as the next morning’s breakfast, but if you’re on a budget, you may consider sudomari (素泊まり), which means that you’ll need to bring your own food and sleeping bag and just pay for accommodation.

Too late to tell you now I suppose since we’re already at the tozan guchi (登山口; trail head).

As we walk along the trail, you may notice some little stone statues, sometimes with red hankerchiefs on their heads. These are called ojizou (お地蔵) and are deities that guard children, villages etc.

Many of the tozandou (登山道; mountain path, hiking trails) are usually well marked in Japan but it’s always good to carry a chizu (地図; hiking map or literally, “mountain” map) and a kompasu (コンパス; compass).

(rummaging through my backpack) I must have left them at home. Don’t worry though. I’ve been here a dozen times. I know my way so just follow me.

While hiking, if everything goes smoothly, there are really only two words that you need to know: konnichiwa (こんにちは; hello) and arigatou gozaimasu (ありがとうございます; thank you very much).
“Konnichiwa!” to politely greet fellow hikers and “Arigatou gozaimasu!” to politely thank them for letting you pass by. Konnichiwa, arigatou gozaimasu, konnichiwa, arigatou gozaimasu. You’ll quickly get into the rhythm.

We climb and climb and climb and climb. Are we there yet?!


“Mada. Mada mada.”

Thoroughly confused by this one-worded conversation? Let me help. When posed as a question, the word “mada?” means Are we there yet? or Are we done yet? However, when answered in reply to a question, “mada” means not yet. When repeated twice, “mada mada” not only means “not yet” but that “we still have a long way to go”. (The complete translation would therefore be, “Are we there yet? Not yet? We still have a long way to go.”)

By the way, if you feel like whining, you can stretch it out and say “ma-da-?” (まーだー?) or if you want to be polite, tack on a “desuka”. Mada desuka? (まだですか?). Of course, the answer you’ll want to hear is mousugu (もうすぐ; almost there) or ato mouchotto (あともうちょっと; just a little bit more).

Kita (北; north), minami (南; south), higashi (東; east), nishi (西; west). Oh no… which way did we come from again? Oh that’s just great. I hate to tell you this, but I think we’re lost!

“Sumimasen!” (すみません; Excuse me) “Mayotte imasu” (迷っています; I’m/we’re lost). “Mitake-san wa docchi desuka?” (御岳山はどっちですか?; Which way to Mt. Mitake?)

“Acchi desuyo” (あっちですよ; It’s that way). Phew, we’re back on track. Let’s keep climbing.

Ma-da-? (If you say that one more time, I’m going to scream). I’m sure we’re almost there…

Hey, look! It’s the top!

Yatta! (やったあ! Yes we made it!)

Banzai! (万歳; Hurray, woohoo)

Yahho! (ヤッホー; Yahoo, yee-ha)

Now, let’s check out that fantastic view I promised. Hmm… well… it’s kind of cloudy today isn’t it? However, not to despair since there’s another amazing sight It’s a huge jinja (神社; shrine) on top of the mountain!!

Mountains in Japan are considered sacred and have been worshipped since ancient times. As a symbol of worship, jinjas were often built atop mountains. At the jinja, the Japanese will probably say “omairi shimashou” (お参りしましょう) which means, “Let’s visit the shrine and pay our respects” (or say a prayer). You can do this by throwing a coin into the saisen bako (賽銭箱; offerint/donation box) and clapping your hands and then saying a little prayer, “may we make it down safely, without getting lost”.


ザックを背負って、ハイキングシューズを履いて! Let’s go hiking! (ハイキングに行きましょう!) 確かに脚と呼吸が試されるキツ~イ上りだけど、peak (頂上)にたどり着けば、fantastic (最高)な眺望を約束します! Off we go! (さあ、出発!)

よいしょ! その巨大なザックにいったい何が入っているの?!(英語では「よいしょ」と言う掛け声はないが、立ち上がるときに使われる“upsy-daisy”  (アップシー・デイジー; さあ立ちましょう)が一番近い。)

すみません、言い忘れたのかもしれないがMountain Hut (山小屋) に泊まるので、tent (テント),  sleeping bag (寝袋), Canister stove (ガスコンロ) とpot/pan set (鍋セット)を持つ必要はなかった。もうtrailhead (登山口)にいるから、今更言っても遅いけどね。山小屋に泊まれば、キャンプ道具を持ち歩かなくても良いのでとても便利。しかし、北米などでは日本のように山小屋がいっぱいあって充実している場所が少ないから、backpacking (バックパッキング; 泊りがけのハイキング)に行くなら自分のテントや寝袋、キャンプ道具と食料を持参するのがお勧めです。

日本のhiking trail (トレイル、登山道)はわかりやすく整備されている。でもhiking map(山地図)とcompass(コンパス)を持っていくのは常識。あと、ハイキングに行くとき、“Hello” (こんにちは)と”Thank you” (ありがとうございます)、最低この2つの言葉を知っていれば問題はないでしょう。

“Hello!” 他の登山者に挨拶をする。

“Thank you! (又は Thanks)” 道をあけてくれた人にお礼を言う。Hello, thank you, hello, thank you. きっとすぐリズムをつかめるでしょう。

上って、上って、上って、そしてまだ上り続ける。 いったいまだ着かないのかな?! 

“Are we there yet?” (まだ?)

“Not yet. (まだ。) We still have a lo--ng way to go (まだまだ。)”

でも、一番聞きたい答えは「まだ」ではなくて、”You’re almost there” (もうすぐだよ)とか ”Just a little bit more” (あともうちょっと) だけどね。
あれれ・・・・・・どっちから来たんだっけ? あ~あ。言いたくないけど、多分迷ってしまった。

“Excuse me!” (すみません!)

“I’m lost” (迷っています)

“Which is the way to Mt. Mitake?” (御岳山はどっちですか?)

“It’s that way” (あっちですよ)

“Are we there yet?” (まーだー?) あともうちょっとで着くと思う。
あ、見て! 頂上だ!

“Yes we made it!” (やったあ!)

“Hurray!” (万歳)

“Yahoo!” (ヤッホー)

さあ、約束した素晴らしい眺望が見えるかな? んんん・・・・・・ 今日、ちょっと曇っていますね・・・・・・。

残念だけど、山の上にはもう一つ素晴らしい光景がある。それは頂上にある shrine (神社)。昔から宗教と密接につながっている日本の山では神社があるが、きっとほとんどの外人はびっくりするだろう。とりあえず、ちょっとお参りしてから下りましょう。

こういう時はどう言うの? 教えてポーリン先生!質問とリクエストはmost welcome。ドシドシ送って下さい!

Pera Pera = to speak fluently; to blab; to blabber; Blabber Blabber