On the Trail: Japan Hiking Guidebooks

5 Guidebooks to Help Inspire Your Next Hike Hiking is one of the most popular pastimes in Japan and is accompanied by a near limitless array of Japanese-language guidebooks to savour the demand. Travel guides however catering to foreign hiking...

Tokyo Hiking: Mountain Grading Guide

Choose Your Next Hike with Confidence With so many hiking trails around Tokyo to choose from it can be tough to know where to begin especially if you’re a novice hiker or new to the prefecture. Over the years probably the single most sought out...

Reading “Yama to Kogen Chizu” Topographic Maps

The Low-Down on Japanese Hiking Maps Writing about topographic maps i.e. a map which uses elevation contours may not be the most riveting topic yet it’s a must have item for both route-finding and safely enjoying mountain climbing. Other useful...

Hiking Kanji Cheat Sheet

Navigating the Japanese Wilds with Ease Way back when I first started this blog one of the first topics I tackled was Japanese hiking maps with the emphasise on reading common kanji found out on the trail. This post remains one of the most popular...

A Snowy Climb to the Top of Takaosan

Enjoying the First Snow for Winter 2020 While the snow which fell last Saturday may not have been Tokyo’s first official first snow or hatsuyuki for 2020 (there were a few snowflakes the week earlier) it was this year’s first sizeable dumping...

Gosha Mountain Shrine: Hinohara Village

A Unique Shrine Surrounded by Nature Hatsumode or the first shrine visit of the year is a big deal in Japan with literally millions rocking up to their local shrine to pray for good fortune in the year ahead. In recent years I haven’t bothered much...

Falconry at the Hamarikyu Gardens

Day of the Falcon Japanese falconry or takagari was a ‘sport’ widely practiced by the noble and samurai class from the fourth century to underscore their status and authority. It flourished until the Edo period but with modernisation during the...

Montbell Plasma 1000 Down Jacket Review

The World’s Lightest Down Jacket When it comes to lightweight down jackets, they don’t come much lighter than the Montbell Plasma 1000 Down Jacket weighing in at a miserly 130 grams (medium size). In fact, according to this Reddit user’s data sheet...

Balcony View: Capturing Mt. Fuji from Tokyo

My Favourite Spot to Photograph Mt.Fuji Over the past seven years I have regularly snapped Fujisan from my balcony in Kodaira City in west Tokyo. As the crow flies it’s 79 km (49 mi) to the centre of Fuji’s main crater but often seems deceptively...

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