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Japan Gunma Hiking Mount Myogi

2 November 2018

Forced into danger on Mount Myogi

Today is the last day of validity for my 3 day train pass. Last day of getting up at 5:30am for an epic journey. Well I am sure there will be more, and I am sure I will get another 3 day Tokyo wide pass when I am back in Tokyo in a couple of weeks time, but tomorrow I will not go on a long journey and I might have time to buy a coffee. I have not had a coffee for 3 days and I am ready to fight anyone, or I am constantly sleepy. Actually neither of those things, caffeine withdrawal is a myth, just like the flu vaccine and man going to the moon and the supposedly round earth. I digress.

For todays epic journey I headed into the heart of Gunma prefecture, to one of Gunma's 3 famous jagged mountains, Mount Myogi. They really do have a jagged mountain list.
This mountain is the most deadly in all of Japan, with over 50 deaths! As I was climbing I saw the rescue helicopter, but I suspect it was delivering building supplies, as you shall see.
Anyway, I planned a non dangerous route, but ended up having to do a more dangerous route, but not a super dangerous route. This is because the easy route path and fallen in a landslide, which was being rebuilt. That is probably where the helicopter was delivering supplies to.

There were probably signs explaining this, but I could not read them, so it meant doubling back for over an hour and selecting the more dangerous path, which means it was time for ropes and chains.
This will probably explain why I saw almost no one on my trail, they knew the path was impassable. While backtracking I did pass a couple of groups, and I told them in English while making a big x with my arms that the path is broken. One guy spoke English and told me he knew, I asked if there was another way, he said no. What if I walk back down and along the road I asked? He said yes, but not much interest, have low expectations. I found that amusing.
Anyway, there was another path up to one of the peaks, just no other path along the front of the peaks that takes you through rock archways etc.

So despite being thwarted in my plan, I still managed to climb to the top, and not die. Quite the achievement.

Japan-Gunma-Hiking-Mount Myogi - My journey was a 55 minute shinkansen to Takasaki, which is a large city of 1/2 a million people (who knew?), then the Shinetsu line for about 20 minu

My journey was a 55 minute shinkansen to Takasaki, which is a large city of 1/2 a million people (who knew?), then the Shinetsu line for about 20 minutes to Matsuida. A very short journey compared to the last couple of days despite being longer in distance. From Matsuida station its about a 4km walk up the road to Myogi shrine. The internet will show people complaining theres no bus and that taxis are expensive. I jogged, it took 30 minutes. Quit complaining, get jogging.


Japan-Gunma-Hiking-Mount Myogi - As I would later find out, landslides here are a real issue. I can see the entire mountain coming down in a decent earthquake. Signs informing residen

As I would later find out, landslides here are a real issue. I can see the entire mountain coming down in a decent earthquake. Signs informing residents if they are in the certain death, probably death or possible death zones are everywhere.


Japan-Gunma-Hiking-Mount Myogi - Lets start climbing. There are a couple of shops at the base, but I was too early for them to be open. I probably did not need to be so early today, a

Lets start climbing. There are a couple of shops at the base, but I was too early for them to be open. I probably did not need to be so early today, a 7am departure would have been fine.


Japan-Gunma-Hiking-Mount Myogi - The path up to the shrine is steep, but nice enough.

The path up to the shrine is steep, but nice enough.


Japan-Gunma-Hiking-Mount Myogi - Also quite colorful. Whats up with the strange colored blue sky? Is Japan seeding the sky with blue chemicals again?

Also quite colorful. Whats up with the strange colored blue sky? Is Japan seeding the sky with blue chemicals again?


Japan-Gunma-Hiking-Mount Myogi - The junior shrine below the main shrine. I was again wasting too much time shrining about in shrine land when I should have been climbing.

The junior shrine below the main shrine. I was again wasting too much time shrining about in shrine land when I should have been climbing.


Japan-Gunma-Hiking-Mount Myogi - The main shrine is small but colorful. Hard to photograph due to the dark shadows, blazing sunshine.

The main shrine is small but colorful. Hard to photograph due to the dark shadows, blazing sunshine.


Japan-Gunma-Hiking-Mount Myogi - Time to start the climb.

Time to start the climb.


Japan-Gunma-Hiking-Mount Myogi - The lower parts were quite colorful. I was high on momoji fever.

The lower parts were quite colorful. I was high on momoji fever.


Japan-Gunma-Hiking-Mount Myogi - If my path was not destroyed, I would have ended up all the way around there. Nice photo this one.

If my path was not destroyed, I would have ended up all the way around there. Nice photo this one.


Japan-Gunma-Hiking-Mount Myogi - Oh no! They are busy building a new path. Despite me not photographing them, there are 10 guys working on this, so it should be repaired soon enough.

Oh no! They are busy building a new path. Despite me not photographing them, there are 10 guys working on this, so it should be repaired soon enough. Amusingly, when I arrived, a guy in a helmet furiously blew his whistle at me, like I might just walk straight off a cliff. Anyway, out of 10 guys, none spoke English, so they lead me around to show where the path had collapsed. I kind of thought I could make it up and around where they were building / surveying the route for the new path, but there was no way they were going to let me try. Retreat!


Japan-Gunma-Hiking-Mount Myogi - I think this is just after I found my new path, it was ropes and chains so my camera was put away, not many photos of the climb to here.

I think this is just after I found my new path, it was ropes and chains so my camera was put away, not many photos of the climb to here.


Japan-Gunma-Hiking-Mount Myogi - Another nice photo, many layers of trees and mountains add depth.

Another nice photo, many layers of trees and mountains add depth.


Japan-Gunma-Hiking-Mount Myogi - Can I really get up there?

Can I really get up there?


Japan-Gunma-Hiking-Mount Myogi - Another point where I found a safe spot to rest briefly, whip the camera out.

Another point where I found a safe spot to rest briefly, whip the camera out.


Japan-Gunma-Hiking-Mount Myogi - Ahh, yes, heres some chains. Its very hard to make them look like you actually ascend a cliff using the chains.

Ahh, yes, heres some chains. Its very hard to make them look like you actually ascend a cliff using the chains.


Japan-Gunma-Hiking-Mount Myogi - A bit more chain. Obviously I couldnt photograph the longest rockiest bits, as I was hanging the hell on.

A bit more chain. Obviously I couldnt photograph the longest rockiest bits, as I was hanging the hell on.


Japan-Gunma-Hiking-Mount Myogi - Da! For whatever reason they have stuck the Chinese character for big on a big rock. Also a good spot to catch your breath. It was slow going up the c

Da! For whatever reason they have stuck the Chinese character for big on a big rock. Also a good spot to catch your breath. It was slow going up the chains.


Japan-Gunma-Hiking-Mount Myogi - Nearly there!

Nearly there!


Japan-Gunma-Hiking-Mount Myogi - Here I am, looking out on my kingdom, looking down my pig nose at everyone with disdain, DISDAIN.

Here I am, looking out on my kingdom, looking down my pig nose at everyone with disdain, DISDAIN.


Japan-Gunma-Hiking-Mount Myogi - I looked down. I dont believe in 'dont look down'.

I looked down. I dont believe in 'dont look down'.


Japan-Gunma-Hiking-Mount Myogi - And heres a view from the top, or at least the top of the peak I could actually get to today.

And heres a view from the top, or at least the top of the peak I could actually get to today.


Japan-Gunma-Hiking-Mount Myogi - It is not particularly high, just 1100 metres, but it is very challenging and the scenery is great.

It is not particularly high, just 1100 metres, but it is very challenging and the scenery is great.


Japan-Gunma-Hiking-Mount Myogi - On my jog back to the station I was compelled to stop and smell the flowers and take in the view.

On my jog back to the station I was compelled to stop and smell the flowers and take in the view.


Japan-Gunma-Hiking-Mount Myogi - I ran too fast back to the station and had 20 minutes to kill before the train came, so heres the station, Matsuida, another station that does not hav

I ran too fast back to the station and had 20 minutes to kill before the train came, so heres the station, Matsuida, another station that does not have a shop.


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