Japan Photo Hikes: Senjojiki Cirque

Senjojiki, @Aaron Paulson 2014

Hiking Senjojiki Cirque

It still feels like late summer/early autumn here in The Big Sushi, but in the mountains to the west of Tokyo koyo autumn foliage season is already burning up the forests, all Halloween reds and yellows. Last weekend R. and I took a (longish) four-and-a-half-hour bus ride to Senjojiki Cirque, on the slope of Komagatake, in Nagano prefecture’s Chuo Middle Alps for a long weekend of hiking and photography. We stayed at Hotel Senjojiki, a fancypants mountain hut/rustic hotel attached to the ropeway station at 2,662 meters: the highest ropeway station in Japan (and Japan has ropeway stations!). Continue reading “Japan Photo Hikes: Senjojiki Cirque”

Japan’s Active Volcanoes: Asahidake

Asahidake

The highest volcano on Hokkaido

At 2,291 meters, Asahidake in Daisetsuzan National Park is the highest mountain on Hokkaido – Japan’s northernmost island. It is actually an active volcano.

I climbed on and around Asahidake several times in the four years I spent on Hokkaido. But that was a while ago now: as in, before I got my first digital camera (for the record, a Sony DSC-R1, bought in 2007).

Continue reading “Japan’s Active Volcanoes: Asahidake”

Volcanoes of Japan

View from Fujisan
View from Fujisan

Climbing Japan’s Active Volcanoes

Many people know already that mountains make up 72% of Japan’s landmass. It’s one reason we all live together in such crowded cities!

Less well known is the fact that 110 of those mountains are actually active volcanoes, including Mount Fujisan, the highest peak in Japan. Wikipedia offers a complete list of volcanoes in Japan on their webpage, appropriately named “List of volcanoes in Japan.” Turns out I’ve climbed a few of ’em in addition to Mount Fuji: Asahidake, Meakandake, Rishiridake, and, not on Wikipedia’s list but on the JMA’s, Tokachidake (I did a lot of climbing when I lived on Hokkaido). Also Oshimadake on Oshima-jima Island and Hakonedake in Hakone, near Fujisan.

Apparently, the Japan Meteorological Agency (JMA) maintains a “watch list” of 47 of the most active volcanoes, monitored 24 hours a day. Again, that includes Fujisan.

So what’s it like to climb on an active volcano?

Continue reading “Volcanoes of Japan”

Ontakesan Eruption

Ontakesan, Japan’s second-highest volcano, erupts in Nagano prefecture

Many hikers were on the slopes this weekend to view the koyo autumn leaves.

According to the news reports we saw on TV this morning, no-one was killed though several people were injured. Rescue workers were making their way up-slope even as some stranded hikers had started to make their own way down.

However, a more recent story from CNN reports that rescue workers have found 30 climbers “in cardia arrest” on the volcano, meaning they have no pulse but have not been declared dead by a doctor.

R. told me later in the day that hikers caught out couldn’t breath because of the gas, and that many started to write their wills.

Again according to those news reports, this may be the beginning of an active cycle for Ontakesan.

Goraiko: “honourable arrival of light”

A quartet of pictures from the summit of Mount Fuji. We climbed under a Harvest Moon, and arrives at the summit just as dawn broke over the countryside, and Tokyo in the distance. Couldn’t have timed it any better.

Travelogue, Little snail, slowly slowly climb Mount Fuji to follow.