More Mountain Madness
Sunday was an active day for me. Brandon, an American friend who lives in the neighboring town, Sam and I climbed the highest mountain in Ono, and one of the highest in the Prefecture - Mount Arashima. At 1523m it's higher than Ben Nevis, and it took us almost six hours to get to the top and back. The inspiration for the climb actually came from a book I came across entitled "Snow Mountain Fukui". Although all in Japanese, the book shows some tantalising photos of winter climbs in the mountains of Fukui and it got me thinking about doing some backcountry hiking and snowboarding this winter. I'm already looking into snow shoes and poles and we thought we'd scope out some potential terrain before the snows come, which won't be too long now.
The climb actually started off in the small ski area that is at the base of the mountain. The majority of the trail passes through beech forest before opening out into bamboo groves towards the summit. It was quite tough going, with some steep sections, and some slippery muddy parts too, but after about three hours we hit the peak. It was very windy and hence cold at the top, and unfortunately it was a hazy/cloudy day so there was no view, but we got chatting to some Japanese guys who gave us food and some amusing conversation.
Arashima is listed (in true Japanese style) as one of the top one hundred best mountains in Japan. Apparently some Japanese people make it their mission to conquer all 100 peaks during their life time. I've already bagged two, so just 98 to go.
The descent was tiring, and we were glad to be down after nearly 6 hours. With weary legs we headed home, which is only a 15 minute drive so I can see the peak from my apartment. We thought Arashima had potential for backcountry snowboarding, but I've have since found an account by some Japanese guys who claim it is unsuitable for off piste riding. Oh well there's plenty more mountains in Japan. I'll be back to check out the official ski area in a couple of months time.