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    • Spring
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        Finding the Flow from Kansai to Kochi

        Shikoku’s many mountains, valleys and proximity to the ocean has made it a hidden gem for rafting, kayaking and canyoning enthusiasts willing to take a step or two further from the Golden Route of Kyoto and Osaka.

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    • Summer
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        Sea to Table in Yamagata

        An unforgettable way to intimately explore the Shonai Region in Yamagata is a culinary experience bringing bounty of the sea straight to your table.
    • Autumn
    • Winter
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        CAMP3 Clubhouse in Madarao

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        Shizukuishi

        Northern Honshu’s Iwate Prefecture, known for heavy snowfall, features Shizukuishi—a powder-rich resort area with views of Mt. Iwate. Snow enthusiasts seeking lesser-known gems can enjoy exceptional snow quality and uncrowded resorts, including Shizukuishi Ski Resort, Amihari Onsen Ski Resort, and Iwate Kogen Snow Park, offering affordability and traditional hospitality.
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        Getting Dirty in Japan

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    • Near Kyoto
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    • Article Map
    • Ocean and Beach
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        “Getting Dirty in Japan” is about getting out of your comfort zone and into some exciting outdoor adventures and destinations in Japan.
    • River and Lake
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        Travelers venturing beyond Hokkaido's popular winter resorts will discover a land with a rich cultural and natural history, a proud indigenous people and a community striving to preserve their heritage.
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        “Getting Dirty in Japan” is about getting out of your comfort zone and into some exciting outdoor adventures and destinations in Japan.
    • Mountain and Land
    • Sky
      • getting dirty in japan

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        “Getting Dirty in Japan” is about getting out of your comfort zone and into some exciting outdoor adventures and destinations in Japan.
    • Snow and Ice
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        CAMP3 Clubhouse in Madarao

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        Northern Shinshu’s Secret Stash

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    • Travel
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        CAMP3 Clubhouse in Madarao

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        Travelers to Japan undoubtedly view sake as the traditional liquor of Japan. Histori-cally they wouldn’t be wrong, since Sudō Honke, the world’s oldest sake brewery (and one of the oldest companies in the world), was founded in 1141 in Ibaraki Prefecture, just north of Tokyo. However Southern Japan is home to another authentic Japanese spirit—shochu, which was first produced about 500 years ago, its roots firmly planted in Japan’s warmer southern climes.
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        In nearly e...

100 Famous Japanese Mountains: #82: Yarigatake

After seven hours of straight hiking, I can see the unmistakable spear-like peak of Yarigatake in sight. “Just a little more,” I think to myself. I take a break in front of Banryu’s cave. He is the Buddhist monk said to be the first to climb Mt. Yari and look deep inside. “Ganbare, you’re almost there,” echoes from the darkness.

When I reach the Yaridake Sanso, the re-furbished mountain hut below the peak, all I want to do is sleep. Clear skies persuade me to keep going as views of the mountain ranges in the distance are breathtaking, and blinding gusts can roll in without a moment’s warning. Half an hour on the top of Yari I spend drinking up the views and wondering what these mountains will look like tomorrow.

Trail Tips

Following the river along the Oku-kamikochi nature path, the trail is relatively flat and easy-going for the first day of the hike. You are literally making your way around the largest peaks and approaching Yarigatake from the southeast along the river. From Yarizawa Lodge on day two, the trail gets gradually steeper for about four hours, and the push to the top is another 30 minutes from Yari-dake Sanso. Some find the ladders to be intimidating, but they are not technical, though concentration is required as the trail is narrow and many others will be on it.

To get to the summit, you must ascend three steep ladders, narrow but sturdy. It’s a good idea to go as light as possible with a windbreaker to avoid getting dragged down by weight and crowds. From the summit of Yarigatake on a clear day, you’re in a sea of mountains as you sit atop the second highest mountain in the North Alps. Don’t miss the sunset from Yarigatake Sanso after dinner and the gnarly gusts that come rolling in as night approaches.

On the next day, the return is about a seven-hour hike, but downhill and super easy-going. Beware during peak season, or on August weekends, this route is often called “Ginza,” as it is notorious for crowds. If you have plenty of experience, stamina and a few extra days, a more challenging route back to Kamikochi is on the Dai-kireto, which can be somewhat technical and exhausting, with steep ladders and small ledges for which to look out—though the views are worth it.

Mountain Stats

Mountain: Yarigatake
Difficulty Level: 3 out of 5 (some steep ladder climbs) (can we do some little icon thing here)
Location: North Alps (Kita-Alps), Nagano Prefecture
Peak: 3,180 meters (5th tallest mountain in Japan)
Duration: 2 days / 3 nights
When to go: July – September
What to bring: Raingear, flashlight, map, camera, sunscreen, water (you can refill at huts along the way), camera, gloves, sunglasses, warm hat.

Getting Here

From Shinjuku, take the JR Tokyu Express to Matsumoto and transfer to Shin-shimajima by local train where you can catch a bus to Kamikochi.

Shinjuku → Matsumoto → Shin-shimajima → Kamikochi
(2 hours, 37 minutes; ¥6,910) → (31 minutes; ¥680) → (1 hour, 15 minutes; ¥3,500)

Things Not to Miss

Onsen (hot springs) at either Kamikochi Onsen Hotel or Shimizu Onsen Hotel in Kamikochi.

Contact Information

Yarizawa Lodge: (0263) 95-2626 (2 meals / 1 night stay ¥8,500)
Yaridake Sanso: (0263) 35-9707 (2 meals / 1 night stay ¥8,500)

Recommended Hiking Schedule

Day 1: 4 hours, 50 minutes (stay at Yarizawa Lodge)
Day 2: 5 hours, 20 minutes (stay at Yaridake Sanso)
Day 3: 7 hours 20 minutes (back to Kamikochi)

Ginger Vaughn began hiking the hyakumeizan in an effort to get to know Japan outside of Tokyo. She saw the mountains as a chance to experience the countryside and get to know the land and locals intimately. She plans to complete mountain #100 in early November of this year and will be the first foreign woman in Japan to finish the hyakumeizan. Her narrative about her hyakumeizan experience will be out in 2006.

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