|Our first overnight trip with a mountain hut was to Tonotake
back in 2002. That time we followed the "Tanzawa traverse" route in the
Lonely Planet guide which goes straight up from Okura via a steep muddy
path wth lots of steps. Since then we have preferred to wander along
the ridge from Yabitsu-touge and use the steep steps as a quick descent.
The walk can be squeezed into to even a short winter day, but it's a bit of a rush to get down before dark. So this time we decided to take two days over it to give Helen an overnight stay in the mountains.
to a slightly delayed train we had a desperately quick change but still
got our bus up to the Yabitsu-touge pass, along with half of Tokyo it
seemed. However as usual, they were all heading off on a different
route (possibly Oyama) so the path along the ridge was as quiet as
Although it's mostly wooded, there are some gaps which gave good views.
Even on this fairly quiet path there are still areas of heavy erosion. Once the vegetation is damaged, water can do the rest.
|It was a bit cloud and occasionally even drizzly on the way up. We stopped for a coffee in this hut (Kinomata Goya) just short of the summit.
On remembering how busy and basic the hut on the summit was (curry-rice and oden for food), we decided we might as stay here. Although this small hut prefers reservations, they were happy enough to have us stay and there were only two other guests overnight so we had a relatively comfortable night.
|Before nightfall we wandered up to the summit to admire the views. Tonotake is probably best known as a viewing point for Fuji-san, but the cloudy evening wasn't really co-operating.|
Then back to the hut for dinner. No, not venison, but a very good sweet and sour chicken.
It cleared up later in the evening so we got up before dawn to see the sunrise on Fuji-san:
returning for a breakfast of sausage and egg - a real treat considering
the alternative of a bowl of oden that we'd have got on the summit.
Then after breakfast it was up to the summit for a third time:
to admire the view:
|take pictures of it:
again and again:
we'd had our fill of views we started the long descent. Being so far
above sea level we found it was cherry season again, and on a bright
warm day with occasional views the descent was a lot less tedious than
the drizzly slippery trudge we usually endure.
|I'd managed to locate an onsen
in the same town as the train station - not quite as convenient as it
might have been as it was a bit too far to walk, so we took a taxi. On
the way back we happened to time it just right to catch the hourly bus.
The onsen was an amazing place for a modest town in middle of nowhere really - several indoor and outdoor pools, two saunas of varying temperatures and a cold room that actually snowed every 30 minutes! Unfortunately I missed that experience as I didn't read the info carefully enough.
It also had a decent amount of food and drink to enjoy afterwards. I had a minor accident and ordered the fried chicken without spotting that it was actually fried chicken....cartilage. Yum. Fortunately there was plenty of other stuff to wash it down with.
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