fbpx
    • Spring
      • Nature and History in Shonai

        One of Tohoku’s six prefectures is Yamagata, located just north of Niigata Prefecture along the coast. It's a hidden gem for travelers in search of authentic cultural experiences and outdoor activities.

        Into the Mystic

        While you probably won’t encounter an elusive river sprite in the highlands of the Northern Japan Alps, you may feel a bit lightheaded from the refreshing thin air, remarkable vistas and mystical aura of the mountains and valleys in Kamikochi.
        video

        Niseko Untapped

        Niseko draws th...
    • Summer
      • Return to Palau

        I am sitting in...
        A glass of beer from Kyoto Brewing

        Kampai! in Kansai

        Kansai has been...

        Nature and History in Shonai

        One of Tohoku’s six prefectures is Yamagata, located just north of Niigata Prefecture along the coast. It's a hidden gem for travelers in search of authentic cultural experiences and outdoor activities.
    • Autumn
      • Nature and History in Shonai

        One of Tohoku’s six prefectures is Yamagata, located just north of Niigata Prefecture along the coast. It's a hidden gem for travelers in search of authentic cultural experiences and outdoor activities.
    • Winter
      • video

        Mad About Pow

        A powder pocket...

        Nature and History in Shonai

        One of Tohoku’s six prefectures is Yamagata, located just north of Niigata Prefecture along the coast. It's a hidden gem for travelers in search of authentic cultural experiences and outdoor activities.
        video

        Shuzenji Sanctuary

        Nestled in the ...
    • Near Tokyo
      • Air it Out

        There is no bet...

        Ark Hills Marche

        Tucked away in ...

        Music Festival Guide 2018

        Warmer months mean awesome music festivals in Japan. Check out our favorite music festivals!

        Summer Runs, Races & Tours

        Trail running is a great way to explore the beautiful nature of a country while getting away from the usual tourist spots.

        Tokyo Escapes: Summer Camping

        Tokyo summers can be stifling—luckily it’s easy to escape the city for a cool break from the heat.
    • Near Kyoto
      • A glass of beer from Kyoto Brewing

        Kampai! in Kansai

        Kansai has been...

        Music Festival Guide 2018

        Warmer months mean awesome music festivals in Japan. Check out our favorite music festivals!

        Cycling Awaichi

        “Awaichi” is sh...
    • All Regions
    • Article Map
    • Ocean and Beach
      • Return to Palau

        I am sitting in...

        Air it Out

        There is no bet...

        Nature and History in Shonai

        One of Tohoku’s six prefectures is Yamagata, located just north of Niigata Prefecture along the coast. It's a hidden gem for travelers in search of authentic cultural experiences and outdoor activities.
        video

        Niseko Untapped

        Niseko draws th...
    • River and Lake
      • Air it Out

        There is no bet...
        video

        Niseko Untapped

        Niseko draws th...

        Minakami Mofest

        Head up to Japan's outdoor mecca of Minakami for the country's biggest outdoor adventure festival!
        video

        All-Season Outdoor Playgr...

        Enter the all-season world of Shinetsu Shinzekyo in Nagano and Niigata with outdoor professionals
    • Mountain and Land
    • Sky
    • Snow and Ice
      • video

        Mad About Pow

        A powder pocket...

        The Reemergence of Arai

        Lotte Arai Resort will definitely become a hotspot for western skiers and boarders over the next few years.

        Tohoku Storm Chasing

        Just a few hours north of Tokyo by Shinkansen (bullet train) await remote mountains and the countryside of Tohoku’s Akita and Iwate prefectures.
    • Travel
      • Gravity-Defying Farming in Nishi Awa

        Discover the centuries-old secret behind what keeps southern Japan's mountains growing

        Up Market in Osaka

        There wasn’t mu...

        Return to Palau

        I am sitting in...
    • Food and Drinks
      • Gravity-Defying Farming in Nishi Awa

        Discover the centuries-old secret behind what keeps southern Japan's mountains growing

        Up Market in Osaka

        There wasn’t mu...

        Return to Palau

        I am sitting in...
    • Races and Events
      • Nature and History in Shonai

        One of Tohoku’s six prefectures is Yamagata, located just north of Niigata Prefecture along the coast. It's a hidden gem for travelers in search of authentic cultural experiences and outdoor activities.

        Music Festival Guide 2018

        Warmer months mean awesome music festivals in Japan. Check out our favorite music festivals!

Signs in the Rain

The clear blue sky stretched as far as I could see, as I sat on the terrace of the Nishiho Lodge in Nagano sipping a cold beer. Suddenly a guy from a group of nearby hikers threw up a hand and raced toward me.

“Hey there!” he excitedly yelled, as I tried not to let my expression show my confusion. “Don’t you remember me?”

He began rifling through his pack and, when he pulled out his camera, I finally remembered meeting him and his wife. I quickly shook his hand. With a sense of relief, he showed me his camera that displayed a shot of all three of us in rainwear.

Two months earlier, during a summer camping trip in the northern Japan Alps, there was a fantastic storm which drove me from my tent to seek shelter in a nearby lodge. The rain-soaked couple soon followed me inside where the lodge let us warm up by the stove and use the jet heater to dry out our gear.

The next morning I couldn’t figure out why the buttons on my rainwear wouldn’t clasp. Did I have it on inside out? It turned out I had placed it too close to the heater, which melted the buttons and made a hole in the jacket.

One look out the window confirmed the rain had not abated, but I trudged outside anyway. While taking a break on a bench, the man appeared again and offered me a cup of hot coffee. While I was enjoying the warm drink, the rain suddenly lifted and a thick fog rose from the valley below.

I removed my “holy” rainwear and we enjoyed watching the clearing skies. His eyes sparkled with delight as he pointed to the saw-toothed ridge in the distance his group had just hiked. The difficult section along a sharp ridge runs from Oku-Hotakadake to Nishi-Hotakadake.

“I saw you using sign language and thought, ‘It couldn’t be her!’” he exclaimed. “My wife is taking a different route, but she really wanted to see you. Can I take a picture?” he asked as we tipped our glasses to toast our good fortune.

When we first met, we only chatted about the mountains and hiking. This time I learned he and his wife were managing a gasoline station in Saitama. Several days later, I received a letter with pictures of our “reunion.” I laid out the photos to cherish my rainy day friends.

Outdoor Japan logo tree

Related

Latest posts

Categories