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Week Long Walks - Japan

Thu 31 Jan, 2019 9:30 pm

Tossing up some ideas for the next bigger walk - rather than Tassie or NZ maybe Japan. Has anyone got experience with longer walks in Japan? A temple here and there would be fine but overall looking for something that is predominantly wilderness - maybe up in the Alps.

Re: Week Long Walks - Japan

Fri 01 Feb, 2019 4:46 am

lonely planet put out a book on japan hikes, the place is riddled with them. go in autumn, summer is stinking hot, winter is freezing and it snows like hell ... ectations/

Re: Week Long Walks - Japan

Fri 01 Feb, 2019 9:08 am

If you want temples you could try part of the Shikoku 88 Temple Pilgrimage Trail. Several sections are in quite rugged mountains and Shikoku is one of the more undeveloped and less densely populated islands.

Re: Week Long Walks - Japan

Sat 30 Mar, 2019 12:01 am

There is also the Kumano Kodo pilgrimage walk in Wakayama prefecture two hours train east of Osaka.

Hokkaido has some Alaskan style wilderness hikes with grizzly bears.

See the Lonely Planet trekking in Japan book and some others.

The southern Japanese alps looks nice also with 3000m peaks and ridges and fancy lodges.

Re: Week Long Walks - Japan

Fri 03 May, 2019 7:36 pm

To my surprise yesterday I discovered that I've been rostered 2weeks RecLeave from late June! :D I too am also considering either a 1week walk in the Japan Alps or split into two sections/walks. Kumano Kodo seems to be totally awash with foreign tourists these days (I walked the pilgrimage back in the 1980s - quiet, serene and 100% tourist free back then) These days though JAL now runs 4 shuttle flights a day from Tokyo to near the Kumano Kodo trailhead for the throngs of foreigners! Are the serenity :shock:

Well my glossy new Mapple Japanese Alps hiking maps all arrived from Tokyo this morning for my consideration. Japanese maps and cartography are always a wondrous work of detailed art to me. Stunning. I'm pondering the Mt. Kitadake route (Japans 2nd highest mountain), a Tateyama traverse (was there last year and climbed Oyamadake) or the peaks high above Kamikochi (Yaridake etc.) Shirouma is also on the radar but that's a quick overnight up/back - with Japan's highest onsen (hotspring) clinging to the side of the mountain. Last year (July) I hiked (non-stop/solo) the full Mt. Fuji Route 3776 (Sea2Summit) - Pacific Ocean to the Fuji summit then down the northern side to the temple in Fujiyoshida- so although I'd do it again in the blink of an eye - I have to prioritise on this short trip. Possibly up Fuji from the Aokigahara route (AKA The suicide forest) for the seldom hiked Ochudo route to the Osawa Kusure (the massive Osawa volcanic collapse on the western flank of Fuji) It is still technically the rainy season at that time - so I'll have to pack accordingly and be prepared to change or cancel my plans at very short notice.

Hmmmmm.... what to do?

Note: After the 3rd or 4th temple I find I'm pretty well templed out - the novelty has worn off. No temples for me - although I always carry my Goshuinchou with me to be signed by the monks at any time.

Re: Week Long Walks - Japan

Sun 05 May, 2019 3:12 pm

nq111 - for a 7day hike I would definitely suggest the Northern Alps. From Tateyama to Kamikochi via Mt. Yarigatake and the infamous (scary) Daikirreto ridge. Most of the route is at about 10,000amsl. There are huts all along the mountain route with meals, beds, supplies although the accomodation is mostly shared and very basic. The huts are expensive about $90/night - with meals a bit more. All food and supplies at the huts are also expensive as it's all flown in by helicopter. Yes you can camp however you can only camp adjacent to the huts and they charge about AUD$13/night for a simple, rocky, very exposed campsite clinging to the side of the mountain. Best time to hike is from mid-July until September - preferably not on weekends or public holidays. Along the route on the very tiny summit area of Mt. Oyama (Mt. Tateyama/10,000ft) there is a tiny shrine with a monk that will pray/chant for you the purification chant - Mt. Oyama is one of of Japans 3 holy peaks. (Mt. Fuji, Oyama, (Tateyama) and Haku) You could do this in less than 7days but you could adjust the route to suit. Access cities to the Northern Alps: Toyama on the northern side and Matsumoto on the southern side - although Takayama is also an option too from the south.

Re: Week Long Walks - Japan

Sun 05 May, 2019 4:15 pm

Some random stuff about hiking/huts in Japan: When hiking in Japan the unwritten rule is to start the hiking day early and finish the hiking day early. It is generally accepted to arrive at the hut by 3~4pm - after this time it is considered very rude - if for some unforeseen reason you will be late contact the hut. After sunset you will probably not even be accepted at the hut at all. The hut meals are normally set and normally at fixed times - if you are late - too bad. Don't expect lashings of food or a 2nd serve! Lights generally go out at about 7 or 8pm. Lights on about 4:30am, breakfast at 5:00am. Many huts require reservations but some of the larger ones do not. Huts only accept cash. Water can be scarce up in the Alps - water management is important. Water is available to purchase at huts but expensive (has to be flown in by helicopter) - normally one bottle (600ml?) is included if you choose the meal/s option of accomodation. All trash has to be carried out - there are no bins at the huts.

Re: Week Long Walks - Japan

Thu 16 May, 2019 5:05 pm

This thread has sparked my interest - I see comments about hiking in summer - what about the middle of June - are there worthwhile routes - 5-12 days which are not overrun? Are the Northern Alps ok for June? Ideally I want to go somewhere that isn't too hot.
Thanks WT

Re: Week Long Walks - Japan

Tue 28 May, 2019 12:19 am

Watertank I can recommend the guide books 'Hiking and Trekking The Japan Alps and Mount Fuji' and 'Japan's Kumano Kudo Pilgrimage' both published by Cicerone. I'd probably try and avoid the Kumano Kudo in summer as it's stinking hot and humid.
Hiking maps in Japan: look up Mapples range of detailed hiking maps. (Mapple is a Japanese company)

Re: Week Long Walks - Japan

Sun 28 Jul, 2019 11:03 am

Hi all - I'll be in Japan for a few weeks in mid-late October.

I'm considering two separate trips:

The first trip is the Daisetsu-zan grand traverse in Hokkaido. I am wondering about conditions and route-finding in case of snow cover. I thought to ask here for advice as most of the information I can find on the internet is for not very experienced walkers. The Lonely Planet guide says walking is ok until the end of October. Has anyone here been there at that time of year? What are the chances of winter conditions?

I am very experienced in mountain conditions — mountaineering, winter walking in remote areas — and I am very fit and a good navigator in those conditions. For this walk I am prepared to take snow shoes and ice gear (crampons, walking axe) if necessary or prudent. I'm happy to carry the gear to give myself a safety barrier for varying conditions, but also happy not to carry too much if it's obviously overkill. But I can't really find any information of anyone doing the walk at that time of year, and how it might compare in route-finding and conditions to other walks (eg Overland in winter, or Athurs traverse in winter, etc).

The second trip is to do a 2-day or 3-day trail-run of the Tate-yama to Kamikochi walk in the Northern Alps. That is a fair bit further south, so it seems like a lower risk of snow cover, and the trail and route-finding seems fairly easy (apart from some minor scrambling). There are also a lot more huts and bail options if conditions change.

Again, can anyone give an idea of how this might go in 2 days running (trail running with a light pack)? How would it compare, for example, to running the Overland over two days with a Pelion stopover (similar distance and terrain, and I have done this in June conditions)? Two 35km days.

Re: Week Long Walks - Japan

Tue 05 Nov, 2019 2:49 pm

Updating my post for anyone interested in the future.

I completed the Daisetsuzan traverse in Hokkaido solo in 7 days with 2 bad-weather hut days in late October. There was snow/ice but conditions were generally quite good. Crampons were essential (ice on the steeper sections of the peaks) and snow shoes were helpful (very deep snow in some sections, particularly in the lower flatter areas). Route-finding was generally fine even with the track covered in snow, but I had good visibility apart from the 2 enforced rest days and the maps I had were very good and accurate.

In good visibility I found the going fairly straightforward. The most difficult walking is between Mt Tomuraushi and Tokachidake where there is some thick vegetation made more difficult with snow on top, and some steep narrow ridgelines where mountaineering/climbing experience was helpful (steep exposed ice with bad fall potential).

Because of the season and conditions I had the entire park to myself – I saw nobody between the Asahidake ropeway (day 1) and the Tokachidake onsen (day 7). I did come across fresh bear tracks in the snow but luckily I did not meet any bears (but I made a lot of noise singing to myself as I walked).

I certainly would not recommend the walk to someone without winter experience, but for an experienced winter walker or climber it is a fantastic time to enjoy the region.

Re: Week Long Walks - Japan

Fri 08 Nov, 2019 2:49 pm

Sounds fantastic. Thanks for the report.

Were all of the huts accessible, or did you need to camp?

Re: Week Long Walks - Japan

Fri 08 Nov, 2019 3:10 pm

The huts are accessible. Most are boarded up for the winter but have winter access through the second level upper window or door (the lower level would be buried in snow). Some needed the door to be dug out (I carried a snowclaw lightweight snow shovel which helped for this).

But in any case camping is essential for at least one night to link the northern and southern sections of the park -- for me, a 28km section between Chubetsudake hut and Bieifuji hut which is also the most difficult walking (you could cut 5km off that from Hisagonuma hut, but that hut was closed this year for renovations). And you would want a tent or shelter in any event in case of bad weather – it can be a brutal place if the weather turns.




Re: Week Long Walks - Japan

Fri 08 Nov, 2019 4:11 pm

I was going to ask for a couple of teaser pics, but you beat me to it. :wink:
Nice. 8)
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