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Japan Kanazawa Hiking Tsurugi Shiritakayama

25 October 2016

Racing the rain that never was

The weather forecast was not good. Rain all day. I originally planned to climb Hakusan, Japan's third most sacred mountain after Fuji and Tate.
However, theres no buses. In recent years, the bus schedule has become 1/4 of what it once was, due to lack of demand. There are now only weekend services for one month of the year.
I really think this is due to an overall decline in Japan, people now play Pokemon Go, and wait for death. Everywhere seems to be closing down. I believe this transition is happening much faster than anyone expected, it is noticeable between my first visit and current visit to Japan.
There have been numerous stories about how secondary cities will not survive, and will need to be mothballed, largely due to declining population, but also due to servicing the massive debt, which really is set to get worse due to the Olympics.
The Olympics is being used as an excuse to build new infrastructure, and I think there is even a new subway line being built in Tokyo, but the country already has way too much infrastructure for a declining and very rapidly ageing population, coupled with a younger generation who refuse to leave their homes, they are called Hikikomori.

As a comparison, Korea is opening new national parks on a regular basis, and building bullet train stops in the park, and you need to book in advance to get a seat on these trains to visit these mountains. Their mountains are not as good as Japan's but their people still see being outdoors as a national past time. They are probably about 10 years behind Japan in experiencing the Pokemon influenced decline.

Anyway, rant over, today I went to Tsurugi, which is the last stop on a local rail line to nowhere. From there, you can climb a small mountain range which has an abandoned cable car up it (rant back on) to an abandoned ski field, which is according to a sign Japan's premier location for hang gliding and paragliding. I saw no one flying a death trap machine, and I saw exactly ZERO other people all day.

Japan-Kanazawa-Hiking-Tsurugi-Shiritakayama - The train line today starts from the middle of nowhere, about 2km from any main road in Kanazawa. So you can take a bus and experience Superlative Hap

The train line today starts from the middle of nowhere, about 2km from any main road in Kanazawa. So you can take a bus and experience Superlative Happiness, or you can walk. I walked.


Japan-Kanazawa-Hiking-Tsurugi-Shiritakayama - Another rail line that does not accept IC cards. When you plan your trip to Japan the internet will tell you everywhere now takes Suica and Icoca, tha

Another rail line that does not accept IC cards. When you plan your trip to Japan the internet will tell you everywhere now takes Suica and Icoca, thats a lie.


Japan-Kanazawa-Hiking-Tsurugi-Shiritakayama - Its an hours ride, so I had a coffee. I really included this picture to show off my legs.

Its an hours ride, so I had a coffee. I really included this picture to show off my legs.


Japan-Kanazawa-Hiking-Tsurugi-Shiritakayama - Once at Tsurugi, its about an hours walk to the mountain trail, a lot further than I realised. The houses here all have nice gardens.

Once at Tsurugi, its about an hours walk to the mountain trail, a lot further than I realised. The houses here all have nice gardens.


Japan-Kanazawa-Hiking-Tsurugi-Shiritakayama - As you would expect, there are shrines. As you might also expect, large parts of it are under construction and or refurbishment.

As you would expect, there are shrines. As you might also expect, large parts of it are under construction and or refurbishment.


Japan-Kanazawa-Hiking-Tsurugi-Shiritakayama - This is the greatest hearse you will see in your life (or death).

This is the greatest hearse you will see in your life (or death).


Japan-Kanazawa-Hiking-Tsurugi-Shiritakayama - Nice street, but these used to be shops, now they are houses or abandoned. Except that car poking out is a BMW M6. Probably the head of the shrine vis

Nice street, but these used to be shops, now they are houses or abandoned. Except that car poking out is a BMW M6. Probably the head of the shrine visiting his mistress.


Japan-Kanazawa-Hiking-Tsurugi-Shiritakayama - I am going up there, its very steep!

I am going up there, its very steep!


Japan-Kanazawa-Hiking-Tsurugi-Shiritakayama - This is a park, cable car station, restaurant, abandoned! Maybe it comes back to life in winter.

This is a park, cable car station, restaurant, abandoned! Maybe it comes back to life in winter.


Japan-Kanazawa-Hiking-Tsurugi-Shiritakayama - Someone is looking after the flowers here, but I think they are supposed to be in planter pots in the car park.

Someone is looking after the flowers here, but I think they are supposed to be in planter pots in the car park.


Japan-Kanazawa-Hiking-Tsurugi-Shiritakayama - Once on the path, it was actually excellent, about an hour and a quarter to the top, going as fast as I could. I was convinced it was going to start p

Once on the path, it was actually excellent, about an hour and a quarter to the top, going as fast as I could. I was convinced it was going to start pouring with rain.


Japan-Kanazawa-Hiking-Tsurugi-Shiritakayama - Half way up, looking back down the river towards Kanazawa. A very grey day. You can see the ocean and some ships, across the ocean is North Korea.

Half way up, looking back down the river towards Kanazawa. A very grey day. You can see the ocean and some ships, across the ocean is North Korea.


Japan-Kanazawa-Hiking-Tsurugi-Shiritakayama - Cabin in the woods.

Cabin in the woods.


Japan-Kanazawa-Hiking-Tsurugi-Shiritakayama - Gettting near the top. You can actually drive up another much longer way with your hang glider. About now it got really very windy.

Gettting near the top. You can actually drive up another much longer way with your hang glider. About now it got really very windy.


Japan-Kanazawa-Hiking-Tsurugi-Shiritakayama - I still have to get up here.

I still have to get up here.


Japan-Kanazawa-Hiking-Tsurugi-Shiritakayama - Very near the top it becomes a ski field. There are some big jumps to damage your knee on. Snow sports travel insurance costs a lot extra.

Very near the top it becomes a ski field. There are some big jumps to damage your knee on. Snow sports travel insurance costs a lot extra.


Japan-Kanazawa-Hiking-Tsurugi-Shiritakayama - Looking the other way, and it looks like rain, and I could feel rain coming sideways in the force 10 gale ever so briefly.

Looking the other way, and it looks like rain, and I could feel rain coming sideways in the force 10 gale ever so briefly.


Japan-Kanazawa-Hiking-Tsurugi-Shiritakayama - Hang gliding departure area. So very windy, so about to rain, I dont have time to spare to eat my calorie mate.

Hang gliding departure area. So very windy, so about to rain, I dont have time to spare to eat my calorie mate.


Japan-Kanazawa-Hiking-Tsurugi-Shiritakayama - I do have time to ride the lion in the creepy playground.

I do have time to ride the lion in the creepy playground.


Japan-Kanazawa-Hiking-Tsurugi-Shiritakayama - Also time for a creepy selfie. Note its so windy my camera blew off a park bench!

Also time for a creepy selfie. Note its so windy my camera blew off a park bench!


Japan-Kanazawa-Hiking-Tsurugi-Shiritakayama - I quickly decided to go and frighten children camping in the huts with stories of Indian (feather not dot) burial grounds. But of course, abandoned.

I quickly decided to go and frighten children camping in the huts with stories of Indian (feather not dot) burial grounds. But of course, abandoned.


Japan-Kanazawa-Hiking-Tsurugi-Shiritakayama - One last view shot, now I run down the hill, hopefully without sliding on my ass. It was so windy the huge cedars were blowing into each other, they m

One last view shot, now I run down the hill, hopefully without sliding on my ass. It was so windy the huge cedars were blowing into each other, they make a terrifying sound when they hit each other.
Also two trees that were not crossing the path on my way up, were now crossing my path on the way down! That was quite concerning. More so than bear warning signs.


Japan-Kanazawa-Hiking-Tsurugi-Shiritakayama - The storm passed with basically no rain! Hooray. The wind largely stopped. Time to look at another shrine.

The storm passed with basically no rain! Hooray. The wind largely stopped. Time to look at another shrine.


Japan-Kanazawa-Hiking-Tsurugi-Shiritakayama - This is the main shrine in the area, complete with tour buses in the parking lot, not sure where the people on them were though, maybe the buses stay

This is the main shrine in the area, complete with tour buses in the parking lot, not sure where the people on them were though, maybe the buses stay parked there until the weekend and belong to the shrine.
From where I am at this shrine, its possible to climb up the path I was just on, and continue along the ridge for over 100km to Hakusan. It takes at least 3 days.
There is a smaller off shoot of this shrine on the summit of Hakusan, and a priest lives in it year round, even during blizzard. I doubt it. I bet like the one on the top of Mount Tate its been abandoned.


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