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Ascending fixed ladders to Yari peak

Bosozoku

Cycling day

Inspecting a pachinko parlour

Konpon Daito

Newly wed couple and Japanese couple getting married next day on the mountain

One too many whiskies boys

Sue and Oli

Mountains of Central Japan

September 2005

This Mountains of Central Japan tour group was game for everything; scaling the loftier peaks, karaoke, writing haiku poems, sampling saké, and eating tofu with chopsticks, as well as enduring a vehicle breakdown with patience and grace. Summiting Yari twice, the quality of the karaoke singing and haiku, and a pleasant day on two wheels, however, will linger in the memory.

The haiku poems paint a vivid picture of the journey. The most popular haiku, about an experience on the well-known path in the eastern suburbs of Kyoto, was

Philosophers Walk
Stringing beads of memory
Onto threads of thought

Sue Fraser

 

We walked this way after enjoying a delicious bowl of ramen noodles and strolling through the gardens of the austere Ginkakuji (Silver Pavilion)temple.

Of course we all shared a love of walking and good company. Eleanor, the most experienced walker in the group, was an inspiration to everyone. One of the great features of a holiday like this is how naturally the members get to know each other and enjoy the company. Sharing experiences in such a different and often mysterious culture seems to bring people closer together.

 

The Kamikochi Valley and surrounding mountains are remarkably beautiful. After walking the Omote Ginza, one member remarked that it had been ' … an awesome bit of walking' - feelings which make it all seem worthwhile.

Ruth hopping on a bike after twenty years of not having ridden one was the most unnerving moments as far as I, as leader, was concerned. It goes to show, however, that once learned, you never really forget. It was an electric motor assisted bike but that didn't faze her as she sailed off around the station car park on a gloriously warm autumn morning.

 

Sion entertaining us with an insatiable appetite for haiku, and freshening us up with fragrant wet wipes, kept us all going. Anyone on this tour next year - bring 'wipes' as there are no showers for three nights!

We all know about magic carpets, but futon, the mattresses Japanese traditionally sleep on on tatami mat floors, are designed to be lifted and stored away every day. I was perplexed when, however, on waking up on the first morning of the tour, to find that Tim and his futon - next to us when we had gone to sleep - had disappeared. He'd migrated and had a peaceful night on the other side of the sliding wood and paper fusuma doors.

 

A word of thanks to Meg for her interpreting and bright company. Running a haiku competition is quite tricky, especially the first time. Anyway it was great. Mieko is expecting a baby so couldn't join us this time - but maybe the family will one day?

 

Click to read haiku poems from this tour.

Group at Ginkakuji

Dinner at Kyoto ryokan

Happy people waiting for sunrise

Ishibutai.

Rest above Yarisawa

Omote Ginza team photo

Sion finds a big big bonsai on the Omote Ginza

We made it Yari Sanso

 


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