Longitudinal Traverse of the Okuchichibu Mountains
Last month, I achieved a long-term goal by completing what I consider to be the best multi-day hike in the Greater Tokyo Area, which I have coined the ‘Okuchichibu Grand Traverse’. The journey commenced at Mizugaki-sansou in Yamanashi Prefecture, traversed most of the main peaks of the Okuchichibu Mountains in the Chichibu-Tama-Kai National Park, and concluded at Okutama Station on the outskirts of Tokyo. It was an incredible hike, perfect for anyone seeking a long and challenging thru-hike adventure. As a point of reference, even a full traverse of the entire Yatsugatake mountain chain from Mt. Amigasa to Mt. Tateshina is only a little over 35 km, which is half the length of this longitudinal traverse. Over the coming days, I will be sharing a comprehensive report of the trip. This will also include daily diary entries, recounting both the adventures and the occasional mishap along the way. As I did with the Southern Alps Traverse, I will provide my Patreon supporters with an advanced preview before it is publicly posted on the blog.
The other thing I’m really excited about is the custom badge specially designed for this hike. I was particularly drawn to the eye-catching design that Hokkaido Wilds used for their Daisetsuzan Grand Traverse a couple of years ago, created by UK-based designer and illustrator Joe Scott. I reached out to Joe, hoping to bring him on board for the project. Luckily, he was more than pleased to help out. I gave him some background information about the hike and the design concept I had in mind, which focused on the Gojo-iwa – a 15-metre-high granite obelisk that sits atop Mt. Kinpu with Mt. Fuji in the backdrop. To provide inspiration for the badge, I also sent him a photo (included below). The final design bears an uncanny resemblance to the real thing and should be instantly recognisable by those familiar with the hike and the area. I’m thrilled with what Joe has come up with, and I’m sure most would agree that it makes a strong impression.
The Gojo-iwa on Mt. Kinpu and Mt. Fuji. Yama-Kei Publishers
The custom badge specially commissioned for this hike. Badge by @joekkaido