The Mountains of Central Japan Tour - September 2008
Happy to report on another great Hike Japan adventure! There was talk again, however, of the need for an ‘alternative' Hike Japan website … where clients can tell others about what it's really like here …
I know that many come to Japan searching for the exotic. They certainly find it in the food; raw sea urchin reproductive organs ( uni ), devils tongue paste ( konnyaku ), sautéed bees ( hachi no ko ), lichenized rock-tripe ( iwatake ), jellyfish, cold noodles, raw eggs … just a few of the more challenging food we had on this tour. Mmm, oishii (delicious)! Then there is the sitting on the floor to eat, sharing baths with other people, and scrambling up peaks using ladders and chains at 5am in the half-light of dawn to see the sunrise. We challenge many stereotypical ideas. Japan is surprisingly different.
Typhoon 15 came and went out into the Pacific Ocean as we enjoyed four great days of trekking in the North Alps. It was a cold winter, and autumn is coming later than usual, but autumnal colours were appearing as we made our way off the mountain below Tsubakurodake.
Shochu and sake, that's the way
Before heading into the mountains we'd visited Kanazawa where, in the 21 st Century Museum of Contemporary Art we saw what must have been the largest table football set-up in the world (see photo). It was also in Kanazawa, visiting the local public bathhouse, when the group fell in love with Japanese baths. Everyone loves fish and Kanazawa is the place for excellent seafood.
The weather remained fine for our visits to Kyoto, Nara, and when we enjoyed some gentle cycling through the countryside around the ancient capital of Asuka.
No opportunities were missed when it came to karaoke . We even found a karaoke snack bar in a side street amongst the Buddhist temples on Mount Koya. Fortunately for them, the group didn't get to hear me sing Loch Lomond! One day guys …
There were many culinary delights, but it was good to find a restaurant serving delicious konomiyaki in Osaka this time. On the night before we said our farewells.
Surfeit of shochu
Footwear faux pas in the loo
Final gaijin gaff
Click to read
haiku poems from this tour.