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Japan Tokyo Hiking Mount Kawanori

17 November 2018

Hiking with others

Today was a long day, a long day hiking near Tokyo on a Saturday, which meant there were other people. At times lots of other people, but at other times, surprisingly not so many other people. Allow me to explain how that eventuated.

I took the Chuo line rapid that split in half and became the Ome line holiday express, even though today is not a holiday. I stayed on this train all the way to the end up the amazing valley to Okutama, just past a place I went last year where I simply could not believe the scenery in the station area at Mitake.

Anyway, the train was packed to the rafters with hikers, and when the train arrived at the last station, they pushed towards the doors and SPRINTED out of the train past a scrum of police and security and strangely, firefighters, to the awaiting buses. Except there was already a line of people from the previous train who could not fit onto the previous buses. They will be waiting in line for at least an hour.

You see hiking in Japan is so popular on a Saturday that public transport cannot cope, they need to pay for crowd control and have every bus working to take people to the start of hiking trails.

I casually strolled out of the station and muscled my way through a scrum of tour operators waving signs and demanding I pay them to take me to one of the trails.
The thing is, I had never intended to take a bus, a taxi, a minivan or a ride on the back of a motorbike (that was genuinely on offer), I intended to walk. The trail starts 4km from the station! Its a 20km trail. 4 extra kilometres along a road should not cause this level of chaos, especially when the view along that road is superb.

Anyway, todays hike was SIMPLY STUNNING, I cant think of a more annoying adjective, oh I can, todays hike was AMAZEBALLS! Kill me now...
The trail to the top was long, steep, technical but safe, with great scenery, impossible to get lost.

Because I had walked the 4km to the start of the trail I was far enough behind everyone else to have it to myself until I got to the summit. The summit itself has a pretty ordinary view, today was all about the journey! I tried not to take a thousand photos of the rivers and leaves, but it was really BREATHTAKING. There were a lot of times I had to cross the river on wooden trestles, all quite sturdy, all worthy of a photo.

The journey back down was an easier longer winding path to a different station (Hatonosu). I did have to pass a lot of people, they were all making a lot of noise, laughing and even singing on the way down, presumably old hymns designed to scare the bears away.

Japan-Tokyo-Hiking-Mount Kawanori - Here is Okutama station. I survived the stamped off the train. The 5 or so stations prior to this one all have stupidly ridiculously amazingly good lo

Here is Okutama station. I survived the stamped off the train. The 5 or so stations prior to this one all have stupidly ridiculously amazingly good looking scenery. The map shows a lot of canyons running through the villages, and on the way back I saw kayaking and people with tents set up along the edge of the rivers.


Japan-Tokyo-Hiking-Mount Kawanori - Here is part of the bus line. It extends over the road. Cars were being held up by people in line on the actual road as police blew their whistles. It

Here is part of the bus line. It extends over the road. Cars were being held up by people in line on the actual road as police blew their whistles. It was a very easy decision for me to avoid this situation and just walk the 4km.


Japan-Tokyo-Hiking-Mount Kawanori - Before heading up the road to the trail I checked out the little town of Okutama. They had numerous hiking stores.

Before heading up the road to the trail I checked out the little town of Okutama. They had numerous hiking stores.


Japan-Tokyo-Hiking-Mount Kawanori - It really looks like this, this is not a computer generated render.

It really looks like this, this is not a computer generated render.


Japan-Tokyo-Hiking-Mount Kawanori - The road followed this river with the blue water running over rocks.

The road followed this river with the blue water running over rocks.


Japan-Tokyo-Hiking-Mount Kawanori - I think that mining train line with the little carts has not been used forever. They leave it like that to make for good photos, so I took one.

I think that mining train line with the little carts has not been used forever. They leave it like that to make for good photos, so I took one.


Japan-Tokyo-Hiking-Mount Kawanori - It was just that colorful. And bright. Check out the bright sun reflecting off the water.

It was just that colorful. And bright. Check out the bright sun reflecting off the water.


Japan-Tokyo-Hiking-Mount Kawanori - There were also sheer cliff faces as shown here, and a number of waterfalls.

There were also sheer cliff faces as shown here, and a number of waterfalls.


Japan-Tokyo-Hiking-Mount Kawanori - By this time I was on the trail, and going fast in the lower flatter sections, the scenery was still spectacular though! I resisted the temptation to

By this time I was on the trail, and going fast in the lower flatter sections, the scenery was still spectacular though! I resisted the temptation to take hundreds of photos.


Japan-Tokyo-Hiking-Mount Kawanori - The path to todays summit, which I should have mentioned earlier is called Mount Kawanori, loops around the back of what was about to become a very st

The path to todays summit, which I should have mentioned earlier is called Mount Kawanori, loops around the back of what was about to become a very steep mountain. I believe that bit sticking up in this photo is very near the summit. Lots of vertical photos today, I like to wear out your mouse scrolling wheel.


Japan-Tokyo-Hiking-Mount Kawanori - More color, more water, more view.

More color, more water, more view.


Japan-Tokyo-Hiking-Mount Kawanori - It started to get a bit mossy in the bits that get no sun, still looks great to me. Maybe I am easily impressed by leaves and rocks and streams and tr

It started to get a bit mossy in the bits that get no sun, still looks great to me. Maybe I am easily impressed by leaves and rocks and streams and trees and sun.


Japan-Tokyo-Hiking-Mount Kawanori - Last one before having to put my camera away properly to ascend the very steep path to the top. At times ropes were needed but I didnt really think it

Last one before having to put my camera away properly to ascend the very steep path to the top. At times ropes were needed but I didnt really think it was dangerous going up. I was however very glad to not have to descend that way, which would be treacherous. My heart rate stayed over 150 for a 90 minute stretch going up today, peaking at 172. I tried to push hard! Over 2000 calories burned in the 6 hours it took to complete the hike apparently.


Japan-Tokyo-Hiking-Mount Kawanori - The very last part to the summit is less strenuous, I bounded up to the hordes of fellow hikers, who all yelled KONINCHIWA at me for no good reason.

The very last part to the summit is less strenuous, I bounded up to the hordes of fellow hikers, who all yelled KONINCHIWA at me for no good reason.


Japan-Tokyo-Hiking-Mount Kawanori - As I warned, the view from the top is actually nothing to write home about, and theres trees on 3 sides. It was all about the journey. Actually for me

As I warned, the view from the top is actually nothing to write home about, and theres trees on 3 sides. It was all about the journey. Actually for me its always all about the journey, that just doesnt translate well to photos and meaningless ramblings too well.


Japan-Tokyo-Hiking-Mount Kawanori - Here I am, looking into the mid distance, pondering which way to go down (there were 3 choices).

Here I am, looking into the mid distance, pondering which way to go down (there were 3 choices).


Japan-Tokyo-Hiking-Mount Kawanori - One last one of the summit area, now lets go down fast. Also great weather again, shorts and t-shirt weather again!

One last one of the summit area, now lets go down fast. Also great weather again, shorts and t-shirt weather again!


Japan-Tokyo-Hiking-Mount Kawanori - The path down started smooth and full of dead leaves and naked trees.

The path down started smooth and full of dead leaves and naked trees.


Japan-Tokyo-Hiking-Mount Kawanori - Before too long it became pine plantations, which are a bit boring, especially compared to the trail on the way up. I enjoyed some of the moss covered

Before too long it became pine plantations, which are a bit boring, especially compared to the trail on the way up. I enjoyed some of the moss covered fallen trees.


Japan-Tokyo-Hiking-Mount Kawanori - Looking back, I think that was the peak, the middle one. But I cant be sure. It doesnt matter. Its on the map, google it.

Looking back, I think that was the peak, the middle one. But I cant be sure. It doesnt matter. Its on the map, google it.


Japan-Tokyo-Hiking-Mount Kawanori - 2/3 of the way down you come to a logging road, a tiny shrine, and a heap of people having their UMPTEENTH tea break for the day. I got mass Konichiwa

2/3 of the way down you come to a logging road, a tiny shrine, and a heap of people having their UMPTEENTH tea break for the day. I got mass Konichiwaaaad again. A lot of groups seemed to be on paid tours, matching hats, name tags etc. You really do not need to do that to climb this mountain.


Japan-Tokyo-Hiking-Mount Kawanori - The forest logging track and the peaks from earlier in the background. Compare that to the picture a few before this one and you can see its a long wa

The forest logging track and the peaks from earlier in the background. Compare that to the picture a few before this one and you can see its a long way through the forest to get to here, and still more to go!


Japan-Tokyo-Hiking-Mount Kawanori - Another 45 minutes or so and I finally arrived back at the town of Hatonosu. Also highly picturesque.

Another 45 minutes or so and I finally arrived back at the town of Hatonosu. Also highly picturesque.


Japan-Tokyo-Hiking-Mount Kawanori - The station was full of hikers who had compelted the same course as me today. The train runs often, I only had a ten minute wait, but the return journ

The station was full of hikers who had compelted the same course as me today. The train runs often, I only had a ten minute wait, but the return journey took longer as the first half stopped at all stations unlike this mornings holiday super express hiker special.
Hmm, probably the best hike of this holiday so far, probably in the top 5 best ever.


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