The Mountains of Central Japan Tour - August 2008
This tour was arranged for a group of ten friends and family from the Ukraine. This was of much interest to the Japanese we met along the way. Indeed it was the first visit by Ukrainians to Yarigatake Sanso mountain hut.
Logistically this was a challenging tour to organize, partly as there were four children aged 14 to 16. It meant mind-boggling complex room sharing arrangements in Japanese-style accommodation! It was all great fun, although the young ones kept looking for a magical door they could open that would take them straight back to San Francisco.
Although members did not have a lot of trekking experience, my concerns about the ability of group members on the ridges and peaks were soon laid to rest. They were all fine climbers, especially the young ones. Tom Takano, a professional mountain guide who often works with Hike Japan, helped guide for the first week in the mountains. Certain members were surprised at the simple accommodation offered by the smaller mountain huts, but I feel this was due to the lack of much else to compare them with based on their experience.
The cultural highlights of the tour clearly became a little wearisome for the children (“Not another temple!”), and I felt it would have been better to have discussed modifying the itinerary beforehand, knowing the particular interests of the kids. We could have done hours more shopping!
Oksana's birthday was celebrated in style with champagne, birthday cake … oh, and raw fish, sake, and karaoke !
We came across a great antiques shop in Yoshino. I am still trying to arrange shipment of all the old antiques purchased there as I write this report in October - armour, swords, hibachi etc.
I think the children had a memorable couple of weeks here and experiences that they'll talk about for a while.