We were following a similar route to the start of our long walk last summer - climbing up to and past the Dakesawa hut, over Hotakadake and north to Kitahodaka before dropping off the ridge and returning home. The Dakesawa hut is one of our favourites, it's in a wonderful spot nestled in the valley high above Kamikochi, and is relatively quiet and comfortable. But it always seems to be a bit cloudy when we are there so we don't have any good pictures of it! We got there in good time and enjoyed a beer on the balcony outside.
There was a film crew in residence, apparently it was the 50th anniversary of the hut and route, and they were making a TV program to be shown later this year. They interviewed us at 6am the next morning as we were about to head off. I hope they don't find anything usable...
It was drizzling gently as we set off, but soon cleared. The views were a bit mixed but the summit of Okuhodaka - Japan's 3rd highest mountain at 3195m - loomed impressively ahead. On our last trip in November, there had been enough snow to turn us back. It's not a very difficult climb but the drops are pretty severe!
On the way up we saw a kamoshika - a sort of deer/goat/sheep mix (capricornus crispus - I suppose that makes it a goat really, but it was big and woolly compared to the scrawny goats one sees in Europe). Suitably enough, we had stopped at a little promontory on the path called "kamoshika no tachiba" or "place where the kamoshika stand", although it was standing a short distance away on the hillside. We've not seen one before, but given the cloudiness, it wasn't possible to photograph it. Based on its appearance, I suspect it might have formed the basis of some of the mythical demons that appear in Japanese legend.
got over the summit and dropped down to the big Okuhodaka hut for
coffee. It had a comfortable-looking lounge area and the weather was
not brilliant so we decided to cut our day short and stop here rather
than push on along the ridge. Despite being a Saturday night in high
season, we had a whole futon each. Luxury!
being a 20 min walk from the next peak meant that everyone got up at
3:30 so as to see the sunrise before breakfast. But it was a fabulous
bright morning and almost worth waking up for (I didn't appreciate the
raw egg for breakfast though). This view is looking down to
the west towards the Karasawa hut, our planned descent route.
Looking back down to the Hotakadake hut after the first climb of the morning, with Okuhodaka looming over it.
the view to the north past Kitahodaka (right) and towards Yarigatake
(pyramid shape towards the left). The ridge just beyond Kitahodaka is
the famous Daikiretto with lots of chains and ladders. We didn't have
time to go that far in this trip, but we did do the section to Kitaho
which has some exciting bits too.
of the chains were a bit superfluous. Some were not but my hands were
too full to take photos at those spots! We reached the Kitahodaka hut
after about 2 hours and had a brief stop for coffee before the long
|The great views
continued for our descent. These are looking north and then west back
to the Karasawa valley as we descended back to the main valley and
Kamikochi. There is a long walk through the forest at the end -
pleasant enough but a bit wearing at the end of a long day with a bus
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