Japan Travels, September 2014

Our focus was on climbing some of the big peaks starting in Hokkaido then by train south to the main island. We took some time out along the way for gardens, museums and shrines.

We fly on the new JAL 787 from San Diego to Tokyo. After a night in Tokyo we go north to the town of Asahikawa on Hokkadio. Our first climb is of Asahidake the high point of the island. After a bad weather day we go back and make it.

The cable car (called a ropeway in Japan) shortens the hike a lot! Amazing, noisy fumaroles on the mountain. We made it! It is an easy hike on a well-used trail. The peak is 7516 feet (2291 meters).
For more detail see my page on the mountain. Ashaidake.
Looking out at the start of the hike to Asahidake with beautiful fall colors.
Our next peak is Yotei zan shown here looming over the town of Kutchan. Part of the crater on Yotei. We hike up on the west side and walk around the rim to the high point on the east side.

Lots of people on the summit like most Japanese peaks we climbed. This hike has 5100 feet (1556 meters) of gain and is rocky and steep on the west side trail. It took us a little over 4 hours to reach the top.
City park in Morioka.
On our way south, now on the main island, we stop at Hirazymi Park.
If you can't figure out the Japanese menu then just point at a dish you want to order.
A floral clock that actually works in Morioka.
The famous cherry tree spliting a rock in Morioka. The tree is thought to be over 350 years old.
Looking west at the summit of Oku-shirani-san. The peak is
 8458 feet (2578 meters). We had a great hike in good
The Shinkansen (Bullet train) on our way south from Morioka. On one straight section I read 195 mph with my GPS. That's fast!
One of the rough sections of the trail to Oku-shirani-san.
Another temple in Nikko.
The famous Three Monkeys carved in wood on a temple in Nikko.
Amazing detail on the temple in Nikko.
A shopping street on the way to Nagano temple.
Main temple in Nagano.
Temple guardian.

On a rainy day in Nagano we take a bus out to the Jigokudani Monkey Park. Live camera of the hot pool. The macaques, called snow monkeys, live at the park and soak in a hot pool. You can get quite close.
Another tram ride. This one is the highest in Japan and takes you up 1000 meters for the hike to Kisokomaga-take.
Young monkeys in one of their quieter moments.
The last part of the trail to Kisokomaga-take. The photo shows one of several huts on the mountain.  The summit is 9698 feet, 2956 (meters).
View of Mount Fuji looking across Lake Kawaguchiko.
Another lovely garden in Tokyo. Boats on Lake Kawaguchiko.
Elaborate iron fence on Imperial Palace grounds in Tokyo. They make the food models in the Kappabashi area of Tokyo.
Asakusa Street in Tokyo.
Conveyor belt sushi shop in the Shinjuku area of Tokyo. Rikgien Garden in Tokyo.
Kabukicho area in Shinjuku. A Red Light district which is lively at night.
More scenes of the Imperial Gardens in Tokyo.