Mountains of Central Japan
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
Stringing beads of memory
Onto threads of thought
We walked this way after enjoying a delicious bowl of ramen noodles
and strolling through the gardens of the austere Ginkakuji (Silver
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
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
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
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