Japan Photo Hike: Mount Hiwadasan

Easy dayhike in Chichibu Mountains

Hiwadasan

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: one of the best things about living in Tokyo is just how easy it is to get out of “the world’s greatest city.” With the Pacific on one side, a rugged peninsula, and the white sand and blue water of the Ogasawara archipelago in a thousand-kilometre-long chain to the south, and mountains to north and east and west, The Big Sushi is literally surrounded by outdoor adventures big and small.

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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?

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