|After our previous short trip we thought we should fit another one in to the tail end of summer. I'd noticed Jounen-dake some time ago as a suitable goal for a long weekend, so we took our chance when the forecast looked good. With an open ended schedule there was the possibility of looping round to Yari-ga-take and then even along the Daikiretto ridge, but we had no definite plan. We've previously walked the Daikiretto from south to north, but the collapse of the Dakesawa hut makes that direction more difficult these days.|
set off on Thursday morning, hoping to avoid the worst of the weekend
crush. A painless trip got us to Kamikochi by about 12:40, so we had
plenty of time to take in the traditional views and traditional
Kamikochi korokku (croquette potato with a bit of meat) and some wasabi
We had an only an easy wander up the valley to do, so started with the nature trail path on the west of the Azusa river.
We met a troupe of monkeys but they weren't really close enough to photograph and my video was a bit rubbish so I wont inflict it on you.
|Back on the main path, there were expansive views up the broad valley in the sunny afternoon:|
We got to the Yoko sansou with plenty of time for a bath and beer before dinner. As we'd hoped, it wasn't very busy. It's a rare treat to have the luxury of a bath at a mountain hut, but I can't help but think it would be improved by some views of the hills rather than being fully enclosed.
met another monkey on the steep path up through the forest behind the
hut, and I managed to get a clearer picture this time.
The main feature of the walk was supposed to be the fine views over to the Hotaka-Yari ridge, including the Daikiretto. However, although it was a fairly bright day, the weather wasn't fully cooperative and cloud sat persistently on the high tops all day. Here's what we saw across the valley when we broke out of the forest:
|So we were left with flowers to amuse ourselves with as we wandered along the ridge over Chou-yari towards the peak of Jounen-dake. These were varied and colourful, so jules was a bit sad that she didn't have her D40 with 60mm macro lens, but my LX3 did a passable job (and was much mich lighter).|
the peak of Jounen-dake (on the left) broke through the cloud, but it
was covered when we arrived.
quiet ridge walk, the summit and descent to the hut was suddenly much
busier. There is a more direct approach from the east which is easier
route we took (but not possible from Kamakura in a single day with
The hut was celebrating its 90th anniversary. I'm surprised we haven't encountered more anniversaries if every decade is celebrated! It did us a nice snack of beer, yakitori and edamame while we were waiting for dinner (and endless free tea, which was probably better for us). It was located just at the edge of the haimatsu region, so there was fresh pine, flowers, and birds all around to brighten up the gloomy drizzle.
We had a pretty comfortable night with only 4 people in a 6 mat room.
|This is the point at which we had to make a decision. We could either continue round the ridge towards Yari-ga-take, for at least two more long days of walking, or else return roughly retracing our steps. Even this latter option meant a long day. The forecast was poor with rain promised for the afternoon, and it was already raining gently when we got up in the morning, so we decided to head home.|
It actually brightened up a bit during the morning, but stayed generally misty. So we have pictures of misty forests rather than expansive views of the Hotaka-Yari ridge.
than precisely retracing our steps, we stayed on the ridge all the way
to the Chou-ga-take hut where we had lunch (basic curry-rice,
but it went down very well after a fairly long morning's walk). We then
headed off along a spur to the south-west, through some more flower
meadows and down to the valley, thereby cutting off a chunk of the
slightly tedious walk along the valley floor that we've done many times.
By the time we got down, it was quite hot and sunny, and we were wondering what had happened to the promised rain. So we took the same traditional views that we'd photographed on the way up.
|Here's a map of where we walked and where we stayed (in blue). I believe the label for Chou-ga-take (蝶が岳) in this map is in slightly the wrong place, it is actually placed on the smaller peak of Chou-yari (蝶槍) which is its neighbour to the north. Just in case anyone is confused.|
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