Japan Photo Hike: Mount Hiwadasan

Easy dayhike in Chichibu Mountains


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.

Continue reading “Japan Photo Hike: Mount Hiwadasan”


Autumn Koyo Colours, Heirin-ji Temple 2013

Koyo at Heirinji Heirin-ji, a working Rinzai-Buddhist sect temple, sits well off the beaten path in Niiza, on the border between Saitama and Tokyo. For most of the year the monks who call this place “ohm” (that is a very, very bad pun), a murder of crows, and apparently the occasional tanuki raccoon dog are the only visitors.

For a couple of weeks in early December, however, photographers and sightseers arrive by the bus- and carload to bathe in the Musashino Uplands forest of maples in which the temple complex is set.

This year, R. and I hit the temple forest at its peak. So, why no more than a handful of pictures you ask? To be honest, much as I enjoy walking the footpaths through the woods and taking in the late afternoon sunlight through red, green, and yellow leaves, and though I shoot a lot of pictures at the time, I find that in general I don’t get more than a handful of keepers on any one visit. Continue reading “Autumn Koyo Colours, Heirin-ji Temple 2013”

Tokyo Hike: Mount Hiwadasan

Hidawasan, Oct 2013

One of the best things about living in Nishi Tokyo is just how easy it is to get OUT of Nishi Tokyo when the mood strikes. Sure, Monday to Friday R. and I have longish commutes by, say, Toronto standards: one and a half hours each way to our jobs in The Big Sushi core, if I take the more leisurely walking route from the station to school. Still, by Tokyo standards, that ain’t bad. Not good, maybe, but not the tsukin jigoku commuting hell some riders apparently face on a daily basis.

Still, on the weekends, we can choose between a trip to the cinemas and museums in the city centre or, for about the same amount of travel time, in under an hour in some cases, we can be in the hills outside of town, communing with deer, bear, monkeys, and — if you happen to believe in such things — tengu and kappa.

Last weekend, the first with decent, sub-30 temps we’ve been free since coming back to the Big Sushi, we turned our backs on the usual commute and went west instead of east and enjoyed a day in the hills of Chichibu, in neighbouring Saitama prefecture.

Let’s hope it’s the start of a great hiking season… Continue reading “Tokyo Hike: Mount Hiwadasan”