Kan Toge Mountain Hut
It’s amazing what unexpectedly catches your attention exploring remote mountain trails. For me it was last week hiking down from Karisaka Toge on the Yamanashi / Saitama prefectural border. After taking a short breather at a grassy open mountain pass I spotted what appeared to be an incongruously looking old homestead. On closer inspection it was actually the abandoned and timeworn Kan Toge Mountain Hut 雁峠小屋. My map certainly did allude to its presence and apart from a small nearby sign it appeared for the most part to be largely forgotten.
As with most superannuated structures in Japan this one like others was completely devoid of vandalism and graffiti and sat gracefully in a grove of trees. My inquisitiveness got the better of me so decided to take a bit of a closer look via a beguiling pathway meandering through the bamboo grass. From the outside it appeared to contain two levels, a top floor intended for sleeping with a still neatly stacked pile of withering futons. Looking through the ground level window, the lower floor comprised of an earthen floor and some simple makeshift benches. Behind the hut the remnants of an outdoor restroom and water hole remained the last vestiges to bygone days.
Scouring the internet for any further morsels of information to glean the hut’s age came up with very little. Though based on the proximate and similar looking former Mt. Kumotori hut built in Showa 19 (1944) I would hazard a guess they are of a comparable vintage. The nearby Kasatori-goya hut has an old photograph of some folk riding horses on the grassy plain intimating the area was once a popular destination.
I find it incredible that such structures still exist particularly in a climate that is not only overtly harsh but moreover that human interference has largely left it in its wake.