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A kura storehouse completely covered in pure gold leaf in Kanazawa

Autumn colour in the North Alps

Autumn leaves starting to appear

Autumnal mountain grasses and shrubs

Climbing to Yari Peak for the sunrise

Clouds creeping up the valley towards Yarigatake at midday

Construction of a new minka in Shirakawago

Fine ridge walking in autumn in the North Japan Alps

Fuji on the skyline

Group at the start of the four day Alps hike in Kamikochi

Higashichaya in Kanazawa

Hiking the Omote Ginza between Nishidake and Tsubakurodake

Group below Yari Peak

On the trail to Otensho

Results of groups indigo dyeing activity

Summiteers on Yari Peak at 3,180m

The group at Enzanso lodge on Tsubakuro

The Omote Ginza heading for Nishidake

Trail descending from Tsubakuro

Excited schoolgirls on school trip in Nara Park

Mountains of Central Japan - September 2010


Click on any picture to see full size

This tour was for a relatively young and dynamic group of nine members organized by our adventure travel partner Wild Russia. Mostly clients from St Petersburg. The Wild Russia tour leader accompanied the group, facilitating communication, although most members spoke pretty good English.


This tour started in Osaka and ended in Tokyo, and was based on our usual MCJ itinerary. Four members opted to extend the tour and add a Mount Fuji climb at the end whilst the others headed for the bright lights of Tokyo.


We had great weather in the Alps after temperatures had come off their summer highs. Indeed, in late September there was a very thin crust of ice covering the rocks in the shadows until late in the mornings.


These were the first Russians we had had the pleasure of organizing a tour for and I found the whole adventure quite amazing. From the offbeat sense of humour to their toughness on the trail, I learned much. I guess this was probably one of the first times such a group had done a tour like this in the Alps in Japan. What with securing visas, it wasn't easy to get the whole thing off the ground, but it was all worth it and a really memorable event in many ways. I'll never forget them assembling ikura (salmon roe) sandwiches at the start of the Alps hike – the Japanese were most curious! Then there was the karaoke night when we were entertained to Russian folk songs along with the usual Frank Sinatra numbers. And then there was Igor and his eternal quest for a wireless connection wherever we were. He was deeply disappointed at the miserable state of free access and connection in Japan compared to Shanghai where he lives and works.


The Mount Fuji climb option - after the official ‘climbing season' - was led by our mountain guide Sam.


Take a look at the photographs from the tour here . Along with all their iPhones, clients' top of the range cameras produced some fine pictures.


Yegor had the following kind words to say about the tour -


“… we had a wonderful tour in Japan and frankly I believe it was the best design of any adventures we had so far.”

Iron pot on the fire in our farmhouse accommodation in Shirakawago
Japanese macaque monkey grooming each other beside the trail
Kamidana in the Shima tea house in Kanazawa
Karaoke night
Kaya thatched roof for a new minka farmhouse in Shirakawago
Kofukuji building in Nara work progressing
Kobayashi Kisaku  Memorial to the man who created the trail
Lattice house front in Higashichaya Kanazawa
Looking north from the trail
Looking up the Kamikochi Valley towards Jonendake
Lunch in the rain on Hakusan
Monkeys attracting great interest
Olga and Tatiana hiking below Yari
Olga on a Japanese via ferrata!
Tatiana sings Russian folksongs
Tachibana Temple in Asuka and Higanbana in bloom
Tachibanadera temple in Asuka
Thatched farmhouses in Shirakawago
View approaching Nishidake
View towards Hotaka from Yari at dawn
Walking through the mist at the end of the four day hike
Yari Peak shadow on the western horizon
Yarigatake Sanso lodge on the shoulder below the peak to the left
Matsumoto Castle
Wedding at Meiji Shrine

Construction of timber frame for Kofukuji in Nara

Construction work on Kofukuji in Nara

Cosmos in bloom in Shirakawago

Country bike ride in Asuka

Deer excitement in Nara Park

Dressed in yukata gowns ready for trip to the local hot spring baths

Mount Koya sightseeing The Garan

Hiking to Yoko Sanso

Ilya getting collecting blueberries

Indigo dyeing in Asuka

Inga feeding the deer in Nara Park

Interesting natural sculpture along the upper Azusa River

Harushika sake in Nara

Pond with carp in the samurai quarters in Kanazawa

Small shinto shrine atop Yarigatake Peak

Sunrise over Jonen

The Omote Ginza trail between Yari and Nishidake

The Philosophers Walk in Kyoto

Typical hiking country in the North Alps

Wild things in Tokyo


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