Chashu Ramen (焼き豚らーめん).
In May, I went back once more to Nikko. This time, I climbed Mount Nyoho (女峰山), the sister peak to the better-known (and barely higher) Mount Nantai (男体山). At 2483m, it was the highest point during my year in Japan.
In the morning, I had to wake up very early in order to catch the first JR train to Nikko. Tobu trains are faster but they also start later. In Nikko, I took the bus to the start of the trail: It is located near Futarasan Shrine, in the World Heritage area. It was a hard and long climb (1900m of elevation gain) through forests and fields of stones and I crossed path with surprisingly few people for a Saturday. The view at the summit was awesome. For the way down, I first walked on the ridge until Mount Taishaku (帝釈山) then I headed down in the general direction of Mount Nantai. There was still a lot of snow left on that trail so I had to go very slowly. I then followed a road for a bit then turned left on a trail towards Nikko. I walked until I reached a shrine and the Jakko-no-taki waterfall (寂光ノ滝). I then hitchhiked my way back to the World Heritage area in order to catch a bus to the train station.
Above, Nikko JR station.
Above, at the Nishi-Sando (西参道) bus stop.
Above, torii of Futarasan shrine. The path is on the left of the torii.
Above, at the beginning, the path goes along Futarasan Shrine.
Above, shrine at the start of the forest trail.
Above, there was an area with many azalea trees.
Above, Mount Nantai.
Above, looking back towards Nikko.
Above, Mount Nantai (left) and Mount Omanago (right).
Above, statue of Fudo near the hut on the way up.
Above, shrine near the summit.
Above, view from the summit of Mount Nyoho: Mount Komanago, Mount Omanago and Mount Nantai, now covered with some clouds.
Above, ridge towards Mount Taishaku.
Above, Mount Oku-Shirane (奥白根山).
Above, on the way to Mount Taishaku.
Above, looking back at the summit of Mount Nyohou.
Above, view from the summit of Mount Taishaku.
Above, snow on the way down.
Above, this road also leads to the start of a trail to Mount Nantai.
Above, Mount Nyoho and Mount Taishaku.
Above, on the trail back to Nikko.
Above, more azalea.
Above, Jakko waterfall at the end of the trail.
In May, I went on a hike to Mount Takahata (高畑山) and Mount Kuratake (倉岳山), in Yamanashi prefecture. I started at Torisawa station (鳥沢駅) in Otsuki, on the Chuo Main Line. The 2 mountains are on the other side of the valley from Mount Ougi and Mount Momokura. In better weather, the summits would have offered a great view on Mount Fuji. I still got a glimpse though. After Mount Kuratake, I followed the ridge until I reached Mount Daimaru (大丸). I then followed the trail down the mountain until Shiotsu station (四方津駅), in Uenohara. When I came in the morning, I was intrigued by a large tunnel-like inclined structure next to that station: It turns out is is called the Commore Bridge and is a 200m elevator/escalator combination leading to an area called Commore Shiotsu. I went up there while waiting for the train back to Tokyo.
This page can serve as a reference to reach the trailhead (at the end, it goes a bit further after Mount Daimaru than what I did).
Above, Torisawa station in the morning.
Above, the tunnel to cross the tracks.
Above, on the other side of the rail tracks.
Above, the start of the trail. It looks closed but the door on the right is actually open.
Above, view of Mount Ogi on the other side of the valley.
Above, summit of Mount Takahata.
Above, Mount Fuji with a few clouds.
Above, summit of Mount Kuratake.
Above, Mount Momokura.
Above, Mount Ougi.
Above, Mount Takatsukayama (高柄山).
Above, Commore Bridge at Shiotsu.
Above, inside the Commore Bridge. The escalator is only open during rush hours so I took the elevator.
Meiji Shrine (明治神宮; Meiji Jingu) is a shrine dedicated to Emperor Meiji and his consort, Empress Shoken. It is located near Yoyogi Park. I visited it in January, on the same day as the Coming of Age day (成人の日; Seijin-no-Hi).
Above, north entrance, coming from Yoyogi station.
Above, 2014 is the year of the horse in the Chinese zodiac.
Coming of Age Day is a Japanese holiday held annually on the second Monday of January. It is held in order to congratulate and encourage all those who have reached the age of majority over the past year.
Above, ice sculpture exhibition.
Above, inside the Meiji Shrine Inner Garden.
Above, a tanuki inside the garden.
Above, those people are lining up for access to the Kiyomasa Well.
Above, torii at the main entrance, near Harajuku station.