Outdoor Japan TRAVELER - Issue 48 - Summer 2013
The 2013 Summer Issue of Outdoor Japan TRAVELER Summer travel and festivals in Japan, traditional white water rafting, alpine climbing, trail running, Asia adventures, Summer Spotlights, Guam Diving, Salary Men Adventures and much more! Every season is a new adventure in Japan!
SUMM E I S S U ER 2 0 1 3 48 R E T A W E R I F & Hot Festivals Paddling Okinawa’s Last Frontier Kitakama Down Under in Guam IS NATURE a m a y a k a W n i g n i t f a R l o o C d an GO OUT S E ID Summer Spotlights ACTION ■ ADVENTURE ■ TRAVEL ■ OUTDOORS ISSUE 48 - SUMMER 2013 CONTENTS 10 14 16 18 FEATURES Summer Spotlights Cover photo by Lee Dobson Ultra Trail Mt. Fuji 2013 By Pauline Kitamura OUTDOOR JAPAN TRAVELER Published Seasonally Publisher Outdoor Japan Inc. Editor-in-Chief Gardner Robinson Editor William Ross Business Development Director Luke McDonald Go Deep into Nepal at the Mustang Trail Race By Richard Bull Q&A: Team East Wind's Masato Tanaka 26 34 42 48 56 COLUMNS Kitakama By CJW Art Director Yuki Masuko Contributing Editors Wayne Graczyk, Shigeo Morishita, Eri Nishikawa Administration & Distribution Rika Cook Illustration Eureka! Translation Kumiko Kurosaki, Junco Mitsui, Tomoko Okazaki Contact Information: Outdoor Japan Inc. 6-6-55 Higashi Kaigan Minami, Chigasaki-shi, Kanagawa 253-0054 253-0054 6-6-55 Fire & Water By Lee Dobson The Mad Men of Tenpukutai By Bill Ross Down Under in Guam Story & photos by Tim Rock Tel: (0467) 81-3212 Fax: (0467) 81-3213 Editorial: firstname.lastname@example.org Advertising: email@example.com Subscriptions: firstname.lastname@example.org Comments: email@example.com OJ Creative: firstname.lastname@example.org Paddling Okinawa’s Last Frontier By Tomoko Okazaki 6 22 23 Inside Out Hiro & Jiro By Craig Yamashita 24 25 Japan Angler Dorado Dreaming By Abdel Ibrahim www.facebook/japantraveler www.twitter.com/outdoorjapan www.youtube.com/outdoorjapan On the Run Surviving the Summer Funk By Robert Self The Local Brew Loco Beer By Bryan Harrell ©2013 OUTDOOR JAPAN INC. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED. REPRODUCTION IN WHOLE OR IN PART WITHOUT WRITTEN PERMISSION IS PROHIBITED. VIEWS EXPRESSED HEREIN ARE NOT NECESSARILY THOSE OF OUTDOOR JAPAN. Printed in Japan. Cycling Japan Hokkaido Summer Touring By Takashi Niwa 4 From the Editor Contributors, Columnists & Cohorts 8 Upcoming Events Summer Spotlights, Market Watch 62 OJ Classifieds Lifestyle Directory Travel. Make deep turns. Ride your bike.Take a bath. Ride a wave.Take a walk. Climb something. Explore. SUMMER 2 0 1 3 3 FROM THE EDITOR Gardner Robinson, Editor-in-Chief Contributors, Columnists and Cohorts A ction and adventure travel has always been a focus of Outdoor Japan and our Summer Issue is jampacked with it. We start on one of Japan’s most classic mountains, Yarigatake. Tens of thousands of people climb to the peak each year, but only a handful take on Kitakama Ridge. The danger on this route is real. People die there. This level of risk and the fortitude it takes to overcome physical and mental challenges is what attracts some climbers to these climbs. Our contributor CJW takes us along for a first-hand look. There are rivers in Japan from Hokkaido to Shikoku that are great for white water sports; if you have not gone rafting in Japan, you are missing out on some refreshing fun. Many flow strongest in spring, but there’s no better way to beat the summer heat than floating on a lazy river or through some exciting rapids. There are also some traditionally Japanese ways to navigate the white water, which you’ll discover in Lee Dobson’s story, “Fire & Water.” Ocean athlete Tomoko Okazaki has spent her life chasing waves. The Kanagawa native now calls Maui home, but she returns to Japan often for various ocean adventures. Okinawa’s Iriomote Island is usually on her itinerary, and she tells us what spell the place has on her, and why a stand-up paddleboard is her tool of choice for exploring the untamed island. Japanese salary men do not have a reputation as great adventurers, unless you count marathon working hours and extreme drinking sessions. The 15 members of Tenpukutai proudly claim to be part of the “least-skilled, yet most extreme” outdoor club in Japan. These big boys spend their days like their gray-suited brethren. Yet on weekends, the “Mad Men of Tenpukutai” go on some seriously whacky adventures. Trail running and, to a lesser extent, adventure racing, have spread around the world with participants always on the lookout for new challenges and exciting destinations where they can enjoy their sport. Pauline Kitamura reports from the Ultra-Trail Mt. Fuji, and then we follow some Japanese adventurers as they go to two of the most naturally stunning places on earth: the untouched and diverse Chilean Patagonia and the dry, extreme beauty of the Mustang Region of Nepal. I was in Kathmandu a number of years back and was introduced to David Allardice by our mutual friend Pat O’Keeffe. A few minutes later, we were talking over beers, and David had a short adventure planned for rafting the Bhote Kosi and a bungy/bridge swing combo at The Last Resort. It didn’t take long to get a contact buzz off his infatigable spirit. It was with sadness to hear of his passing (In Memorium, Page 17). The world lost another adventurer and all-around great guy named David recently. My childhood friend, Dave Reinhart, died while climbing Mt. Aconcagua in Argentina. Both men shared a contagious passion for living and will be missed. Every season is a new adventure in Japan — and there are some great adventures awaiting you this summer. Get out there! Pauline Kitamura ポーリーン 北村 リチャード・ブル Richard Bull CJW リー・ドブソン Lee Dobson ビル・ロス Bill Ross ティム・ロック Tim Rock Tomoko Okazaki 岡崎 友子 Craig Yamashita クレイグ・山下 CJW Fire & Water ロバート・セルフ Robert Self Takashi Niwa 丹羽 隆志 email@example.com 4 アブデル・イブラヒム Abdel Ibrahim ブライアン・ハレル Bryan Harrell SUMMER 2 0 1 3 By Craig Yamashita Illustration by Eureka! IN: BOARD TO TEARS THE BOYS TRY OUT THE LATEST THING describe to me again the wonderful feeling of freedom and solitude that I'll experience.... no, i said that's what our wives feel while we're out here... GET 짜1,995 www.surfersjournal.jp 6 SUMMER 2 0 1 3 SUMMER 2 0 1 3 7 01 3 2 R ME E 48 M SU SSU I RACES & EVENTS SUMMER BEER GARDENS TOKYO Mt. Takao Beer Mount Open: June 22 – Oct. 6, Weekdays: 15:00 – 21:00; Weekends: 14:30 – 21:00 Price: ¥3,500 / ¥3,300 for 2 hours all you can eat and drink Note: Enjoy the cool breezes and great views of Tokyo and Yokohama. Time can be extended and group booking for parties available. Location: 5 minutes by foot from Keio Takaozan-guchi Tel: 042-665-9943 Web: www.takaotozan.co.jp/takaotozan_eng1/ beermnt/ NAGOYA Beer Garden Miami Open: May 17 – Sept 22, Weekdays: 16:00 – 23:00, Weekends and public holidays: 11:00 – 23:00 Price: Adult - ¥3,900 for 2.5 hours all you can eat and drink. Location: Dainagoya Building, in front of JR Nagoya Station Tel: 052-238-0051 Web: www.mai-ami.jp KOBE Seaside Beer Terrace Open: June 27 – Sept. 10 (except Aug. 3), Weekdays: 18:00 – 21:30, Weekends and public holidays: 17:00 – 20:30 Price: All you can drink (advance ticket) ¥2,000 Location: Kobe Meriken Park Oriental Hotel 3F Sea Side Terrace; 15 minutes from JR Hankyu Motomachi Station, 8 minutes from Minato Motomachi Station. Tel: 078-325-8119 Web: www.kobe-orientalhotel.co.jp/beerterrace/ OSAKA Pool Side Beer Garden 2013 GARNIVAL REZORT Open: June 1 – Sept. 30, Monday – Friday: 17:30 – 21:00, Saturday: 17:00 – 21:00, Sunday and public holiday: 17:00 – 20:30 Price: ¥3,900 for 2 hours all you can eat and drink. Location: Senri Chuo Station South Exit, Senri Hankyu Hotel. Tel: 06-6871-2416 Web: www.hankyu-hotel.com/hotel/senrihh/other/beer/ index.html FUKUOKA Beer Garden TENKU Open: May 13 – Sept. 30; Hours: 17:30 – 22:00 Price: ¥3,800 / ¥3,500 all you can eat and drink. Location: Tenjin, Chuo-ku, Fukuoka Tel: 092-712-4650 Web: www.fukuoka-kokusaihall.co.jp/tenku.shtml YOKOHAMA Aloha Table Hawaiian Beer Garden Open: May 21 – Sept. 25, 16:00 – 23:00 Price: Hawaiian BBQ set ¥2,600, all you can drink (90 minutes) for ¥1,400～. Tel: 045-412-3339 Location: West Exit of Yokohama Station on the More’s Department Store rooftop. Web: www.yokohama-mores-beergarden.com/ MARKET WATCH By Joan Bailey Sapporo Farmer's Market apan may be small, but it's big on flavor. Farmers make the most of limited growing space by cultivating fruits and vegetables perfectly suited to local climates and tastes to then craft regional specialties such as Akita's iburigakko (smoked daikon pickle) or Nagano's nozawana (pickled turnip leaf). Asaichi (morning markets) or western-style farmers markets, literally, give visitors a taste of a place. Perhaps most importantly, the markets are an opportunity to meet the producer and share the pleasure of their handiwork. Whether you've been in Japan for 20 minutes or 20 years, it's an adventure that shouldn't be missed. J Japan Farmer's Markets A Taste for Adventure: Hokkaido Shrine, Maruyama Park, Sapporo Every second Sunday, June to September 6:30 a.m. to 11 a.m. A small but comprehensive market, the Sapporo Farmer’s Market is located inside the grounds of Hokkaido Shrine. Nearly 30 regional vendors offer organically and conventionally grown vegetables and fruits, while purveyors of pickles, jams and honey set out a tantalizing spread of their own. Fiber and ceramic artists add their creations to the mix, so the market's nearly 1,000 monthly visitors always find something wonderful to take home. fruits, pickles, jams, soaps, tea, handmade goods, fresh flowers, rice, pastries and juice can all be found under the signature white awnings. Food trucks ring the market, and live music is a regular feature. A monthly Night Market centers around a particular food theme, with plenty of scrumptious samples and more live music. After the foody fun, bicycle enthusiasts can suit up for Night Pedal Cruise around the city. Nara Organic Farmer's Market Nara Station, Nara Last Sunday of each month 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. United Nations University Farmer's Market Shibuya, Tokyo Every Saturday and Sunday 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. One of Tokyo's best markets, the United Nations University Farmer's Market, boasts 60 regular vendors who greet roughly 10,000 daily visitors during peak seasons with the best from their fields and kitchens. Vegetables, Set in the plaza in front of Nara Station, this monthly market's 40 vendors offer an excellent selection of teas, rice, baked goods, pickles, traditional and modern varieties of vegetables and fruits, along with honey, jam and handcrafted items. (One honey vendor fashions a meringue-like candy that requires a double purchase: one to keep and one to give away.) Dig into a spicy curry or flavorful noodle dish, concocted by one of the food vendors, while settled on a bench listening to an excellent local band. 8 SUMMER 2 0 1 3 SPOTLIGHTS FIREWORKS July 27 Sumida River Fireworks Dating back to the Edo Period, this is Tokyo’s largest (in number) hanabi with more than 20,000 fireworks. Nearly 100,000 people come to enjoy the grand display. Location: Along the Sumida River near Asakusa Station MUSIC FESTIVALS July 27-29 Fuji Rock Festival ‘12 This three-day music festival in Niigata’s lush mountains is simply Asia’s top music festival. Dedicated Fujirockers make the pilgrimage rain or shine so see top international and homegrown artists. Location: Naeba, Niigata Details: www.fujirockfestival.com Inakadate Tanbo Art Each summer villagers in the small village of Inakadate, Aomori Prefecture, create artistic images in the tanbo (rice fields). The use of different kinds and colors of rice create a threedimensional affect and the dramatic scenes attracting scores of visitors each summer. The best viewing is in July and August. From Hirosaki, take the Konan Tetsudo Line to Inakadate Station (24 minutes). There are no places to stay in Inakadate, so visitors are advised to book accommodation in Hirosaki or other nearby areas. Aug. 10 Tokyo Bay Fireworks The Tokyo Bay Fireworks feature about 12,000 fireworks launched from barges in the bay. Harumi Park, a 15-minute walk from Toyosu Station, is a great place to watch as well as the Odaiba area. Note the Rainbow Bridge is closed to pedestrians during the festivities. Location: Toyosu Station and Odaiba Aug. 23-25 Earth Celebration Each summer, the sleepy Sado Island awakens to the rhythmic sounds of the Earth Celebration. Kodo, Sado Island’s internationally acclaimed percussion group, hosts this world music festival. Location: Sado Island, Niigata Details: www.kodo.or.jp RACE & EVENTS CALENDAR Summer is loaded with music festivals, exciting fireworks, festive beer gardens and outdoor events. Visit our Race & Event Calendar for more information at www.outdoorjapan.com/race OUTDOOR JAPAN ONLINE’S Mountain Music Festival & Adventure Weekend September 7, 2013 FEATURING At Minakami at Canyons Alpine Lodge CH SHAP ECK OUT ES NEW HIFTER’S ALBU M SHAPESHIFTER SOUND SYSTEM (NZ) < FUN TOURS & ACTIVITIES> Music, Entertainment, Bus Tours and Ticket Information at “DELT A” White Water Rafting, Canyoning, Bungy Jumping, Paragliding, Mountain Biking, Hiking, Hot Springs and more! WWW.OUTDOORJAPAN.COM/SUMMERSPLASH SUMMER 2 0 1 3 9 SUMMER SURF GUIDE Ibaraki Just north of Chiba, Ibaraki faces the open ocean, thus receiving good swell and boasting many year-round surf spots. The warm water current stops in the South Chiba area, meaning the water temperature in Ibaraki is generally much colder than the rest of Kanto. As a result, winter waves are reasonably uncrowded despite easy highway access from Tokyo. The exposed location does mean the area cops a lot of wind and, for best conditions, you want to be out there early morning or late afternoon, although the winds die down in winter. By Kuni Takanami NORTH IBARAKI Futatsujima Takahagi Kawajiri Kawarago Aigaura Oarai Onuki Topsanteshita Kashima Hasaki IBARAKI orth Ibaraki’s long, straight stretch of coastline from Futatsujima to the powerful breaks at Oarai is cold in winter, requiring even the keenest surfer to wear a spring suit through summer. If you don’t mind the chill, you are in for a real treat, with consistent sand and reef breaks although, because it is so open, it is easily affected by wind. Northerly and northeasterly swells are best, but be careful, as the area is known to have strong currents. Locals demand respect, especially at Kawarago, so take care, and everyone can enjoy the waves. 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 N Futatsujima 1 461 Takahagi 6 2 3 4 5 349 Kawajiri 6 Hitachi Kawarago 7 8 9 Point Name Futatsujima Takahagi Ibuki Beach Ishi Beach Kawajiri Haka-shita Hotel-shita Hitachi Station Kawarago Hitachi Lighthouse Hitachinaka Beach Ajigaura Oarai Onuki Tsurukame Resort Hotel-mae Umi-no-ko Offshore Winds Level B NW A W / NW B W B W A W / NW I A W I A W / NW B W / NW B W / SW A W B W B SW I A W B W / SW B W / NW B W / NW B W / NW Wave Consistency 1 2 3 4 5 1 2 3 4 5 1 2 3 4 5 1 2 3 4 5 1 2 3 4 5 1 2 3 4 5 1 2 3 4 5 1 2 3 4 5 1 2 3 4 5 1 2 3 4 5 1 2 3 4 5 1 2 3 4 5 1 2 3 4 5 1 2 3 4 5 1 2 3 4 5 1 2 3 4 5 1 2 3 4 5 Bottom Peak Season AUG – NOV OCT – NOV OCT – DEC ALL YEAR OCT – DEC OCT – NOV OCT – NOV OCT – NOV OCT – NOV OCT – NOV SEP – NOV SEP – NOV FEB – APR FEB – NOV ALL YEAR ALL YEAR ALL YEAR Facilities 10 Hitachinaka 11 6 245 Ajigaura 12 Oarai 13 17 14 15 16 Wetsuit DEC – MAY: JAN – FEB: MAY – NOV: KASHIMA AND HASAKI he breaks stretching along the coastline from Kashima to Hasaki are consistent and pack a good punch when the swell hits. The big windmills along the coast indicate the area gets a lot of wind, so be sure to check the weather before you go so you can time your surf just right. With the right wind and northeasterly or southeasterly swells, you are in for some great waves. T 1 2 Kashima 51 3 4 5 356 6 124 7 8 9 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 Point Name Cosmo Tosante-shita Akashi Haka-shita Hirai Hasaki Seaside Park Shari Beach Hasaki Kanekyu Hasaki Main Beach Offshore Winds Level B W / SW B W / SW B SW B SW B SW B W / SW B W / SW B SW B SW Wave Consistency 1 2 3 4 5 1 2 3 4 5 1 2 3 4 5 1 2 3 4 5 1 2 3 4 5 1 2 3 4 5 1 2 3 4 5 1 2 3 4 5 1 2 3 4 5 Bottom Peak Season JUN – SEP JUN – SEP JUN – SEP JUN – SEP JUN – SEP MAY – OCT MAY – OCT MAY – OCT MAY – OCT Facilities DEC – MAY: JAN – FEB: JUN – NOV: Wetsuit 10 SUMMER 2 0 1 3 SUMMER SPOTLIGHTS The Hokkaido Powder Belt is the New Summer Destination! The Hokkaido Powder Belt lies in the heart of beautiful central Hokkaido. The region is home to the spectacular mountains of Furano, Tomamu and Daisetsuzan National Park. You can enjoy cycling through beautiful flowered fields and lavender farms, or trekking in Daisetsuzan National Park, with its active volcano Mt. Asahidake (the highest mountain in Hokkaido). Mt. Tokachidake is one of Japan’s hyakumeizan (100 famous mountains) and is a beautiful hike. Soak in natural hot springs or try a variety of outdoor activities such as white water rafting, fly fishing, trail running and mountain biking, and be sure to sample fresh local Hokkaido cuisine. The Hokkaido Powder Belt has something for everyone in summer; find out more on the Web site or Facebook page. Furano Tourism Association Tel: (0167) 23-3388 Web: www.furanotourism.com Facebook: www.facebook.com/HokkaidoPowderBelt Bag Jump Free Drop and Niseko Hanazono Hill Climb Are you scared of heights? This summer is the time to overcome your fear with Japan’s first Free Drop Bag Jump at Hanazono in Niseko. Experience a few seconds of free-fall, as you throw yourself from the eight- or 12-meter platforms and land softly in the massive air-filled bag jump. Have a blast as you face your fear head on. From Aug. 3 to 5, more than 600 riders are expected to compete in one of Hokkaido’s fastest growing road cycling events. Nihon Harmony Resorts K.K. and Pacific Century Premium Developments are once again the main sponsors of the 4th Niseko Hanazono Hill Climb. The 15.5-kilometer event will be held in conjunction with Kutchan’s Potato Festival (jagamatsuri) with a parade-start from the center of town. For more information and entry details, visit www.nisekohillclimb.com. Hanazono Niseko Tel: (0136) 21-6655 Web: www.hanazononiseko.com/en/ Alpine Charm Awaits at Kimamaya This summer Kimamaya will open its doors for the second time. Niseko may be famed for its deep powder snow, but the summer months offer a tempting alternative. With the snow melted, Hokkaido’s agricultural reputation shines through with rolling green fields generating mountains of fresh produce to be enjoyed in local restaurants or even on a BBQ in the Kimamaya garden. The variety of summer activities certainly gives skiing a run for its money. Mountain biking, golf, hiking, rafting and fishing are just some of the activities on offer. A summer stay promises to open your eyes to a whole different side to the mountain and Kimamaya’s famous hospitality. Contact us for exclusive summer packages and reservations. Kimamaya Boutique Hotel Tel: (0136) 23-2603 E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org Web: www.kimamaya.com Amazing Hokkaido with Akazora's ‘First Summer Sale’ The weather is cooler, the landscape is breathtaking and the food is renowned for its quality. This summer Akazora Apartments in Niseko are having a special “First Summer Sale” so you can come up and see what the locals have known for a years – Hokkaido’s summer is unbeatable. Akazora Apartments have studio units almost as cheap as a hostel and two-bedroom apartments with stunning views of Mt. Yotei for the price of a business hotel. With this great summer savings you’ll be able to explore the region, enjoy all the fun holiday activities and not worry about spending too much on accommodation. Contact Akazora (Midori no Ki) to plan your next summer stay in Niseko. Midori no Ki Tel: (0136) 55-5122 E-mail: email@example.com Web: www.akazora.com SUMMER 2 0 1 3 11 Ura-Bandai is cool! Visit Japan’s Lake District Come stay, explore and trek around beautiful Grandeco Resort. Surrounded by majestic mountains and lakes, this region is a perfect retreat for summer. Ride the gondola that takes you to 1,390 meters; from the summit there is a 6-km. hiking trail all the way down to scenic Lake Hibara. The trails pass through marshlands, and it and takes about two and a half hours. You can refresh yourself in natural springs and even enjoy picturesque waterfalls along different trails. There are many outdoor activities for the whole family; enjoy cruising in a canoe on Lake Onogawa, relax in the outdoor natural onsen baths or swim some laps in the hotel pool. Grandeco Hotel is the only holiday resort in the region and the ideal place to experience Japan’s beautiful outdoor environment. Tokyu Resort Service Grandeco Resort Tel: (0241) 32-2530 E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org Web: www.grandeco.com Beat the heat in the Northern Japan Alps Hakuba is the gateway to the Northern Alps. The area in northern Nagano features massive alpine peaks, a multitude of crystal clear lakes and rivers and lush, cool forests, perfect for a summer escape. Since 2000, Evergreen Outdoor Center has been instrumental in developing outdoor recreation activities, ecology tours and mountain-safety courses in Japan. Programs run year-’round, and Evergreen’s staff and internationally licensed guides are passionate about their work. They are committed to providing safe, satisfying and sustainable tours and can lead you along a path of adventure, personal challenge, teamwork and love for the outdoors. Talk to them about creating a memorable Japan Alps getaway for you, your family or group this summer. Evergreen Outdoor Center Tel: (0261) 72-5150 E-mail: email@example.com Web: www.evergreen-hakuba.com Northern Nagano is Heaven for Cyclists There is some great news for cycling enthusiasts in Japan. The folks at Nozawa Hospitality have invested in a fleet of good quality road bikes, perfect for exploring the mountains in the Shinshu Region. Throw your helmet and pedals into a weekend bag (or send up your bike) and hop on the train (or plane) and head to Nozawa. It’s an easy and beautiful train ride from Tokyo to Nozawa Onsen. The traditional village is nestled in the mountains with plenty of fresh air and nice views. Your hosts can help with cycling itineraries and even provide a “sag wagon.” Itineraries range from laid-back spins through the valley to multi-day rides with 2,000 meters of climbing. Accommodation packages available at Address Nozawa, a Japanese-Western hotel, or Kawamotoya, a traditional ryokan with its stunning views and a great restaurant. Both have onsen. K.K. Nozawa Hospitality Tel: Japan: (0269) 67-0360 | Singapore: +65-6412-0128 E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org Web: www.cyclingnozawa.com As Japan Swelters, Escape to Tenjin Lodge Tenjin Lodge is a family run mountain lodge situated at altitude, in the Joetsu National Park, just 170 kilometers from Tokyo and about two hours by train. Dozens of hiking trails start at the front door and you can see crystal clear swimming holes from the balcony of your room as the Yubiso River bubbles past below. Guests receive discounted rafting, canyoning, bungy jumping, canoeing and mountain biking tours, just a few of the organized activities available in Minakami, Japan’s premier summer adventure and outdoor destination. As the day draws to a close enjoy one of Tenjin’s famous BBQs, complete with salads, exotic beers and excellent wines, while taking in the beauty of the surrounding mountains. TENJIN LODGE Tel: (0278) 25-3540 E-mail: email@example.com Web: www.tenjinlodge.com 12 SUMMER 2 0 1 3 SUMMER SPOTLIGHTS Free Fall into Summer at Bungy Japan’s New Location In addition to its long-running Minakami location, Bungy Japan will open a second bungy site this summer in the Sarugakyo Gorge in Gunma. The bungy bridge sits high above the blue waters of the Yujimi River surrounded by a lush forest. It’s the perfect setting for some refreshing outdoor adventure. At 62 meters, this will be Japan’s highest bungy jump. The new site will also introduce Japan’s first winch recovery system where jumpers are whizzed back up to the platform immediately after jumping. Spaces are limited and reservations are a must; priority is given to jumpers going for the Daily Double (Minakami + Sarugakyo Package). If bungy jumping is on your bucket list, Bungy Japan is the place to do it. Visit the Web site for details. Bungy Japan Tel: (0278) 72-8133 E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org Web: www.bungyjapan.com Refreshing Summer Canyoning Canyoning is the dynamic sport of negotiating your way down a canyon. It involves a variety of techniques, including sliding, jumping and rappelling down waterfalls, swimming through pools, walking and sometimes a bit of basic climbing. About 80 percent of the time is spent in the water. Japan, with its mountainous geography and abundance of water, has a large number of worldclass canyons. It’s an amazing natural playground for canyoners with courses ranging from easy kids- courses to full-on, hardcore canyoning for repeaters. There’s truly something for everyone. Canyons runs more than 16 canyoning courses around Japan, with the majority located less than two hours from Tokyo. If you are in need of a break from your daily slog and want to escape the heat, you can’t beat this refreshing adventure. Canyons Tel: (0278) 72-2815 E-mail: email@example.com Web: www.canyons.jp White Water & MTB Tours in the Mt. Fuji Region Natural Action is located at the foot of Mt. Fuji, where they have been conducting outdoor tours in harmony with nature since 1998. Come get your feet wet and enjoy an exciting white water rafting tour on the Fuji River. This river has some of the best rapids in Japan. Bring your kids along too; they will love the kids’ rafting tours. They also specialize in half-day or full-day MTB tours. Cool off while riding through Asagiri Park, with beautiful summer views of Mt. Fuji, listed as a World Heritage site, in the background. After your tour, relax in the Natural Action Café, browse through their general store where they carefully select environmentally aware outdoor brands such as Patagonia and other cool gear. Visit their Web site or contact Natural Action directly for further information. NATURAL ACTION Tel: (0544) 65-1123 E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org Web: www.naturalaction.co.jp Summer Diving Adventures in Okinawa Whether you are a diving newbie or an experienced dive master, Okinawa is the place to be this summer to enjoy Japan’s best underwater beauty. Seasir has packages and courses for everyone as well. The Leisure Diving Package is for certified divers and includes full equipment and two tank dives. We explore the beautiful Kerama Islands each day where divers can choose one of the three dive sites to try. A three-dive package is also available. If you are not certified, the Introductory Diving Package is a great way to get a taste for diving and experience Kerama Islands’ underwater scenery. The packages includes on Introductory Dive (also called a Discovery Dive), as well as snorkeling gear to enjoy at your leisure. If you get the diving bug you can then jump on one of Seasir’s PADI Open Water Diver Courses and get licensed. Marine House SEASIR Tel: 090-8668-6554 E-mail: email@example.com Web: www.seasir.com/en/ SUMMER 2 0 1 3 13 ULTRA TRAIL MT. FUJI 2013 By Pauline Kitamura Men's winner Yoshikazu Hara. Photo by Yosuke Kashiwakura Photo by Yosuke Kashiwakura Photo by Sho Fujimaki 14 SUMMER 2 0 1 3 RACE REPORT: JAPAN Photo by Sho Fujimaki Photo by Sho Fujimaki n April 26, trail runners from around the globe gathered at Japan’s most iconic mountain to take part in Japan’s largest trail running race, the Ultra Trail Run Mt. Fuji (UTMF). The race featured the 161-km. UTMF, and the 85-km. Shizuoka-to-Yamanashi (STY) race. The courses were a grueling mix of mountain and road, requiring racers to negotiate technical mountainous terrain as well as quickly run across long stretches of asphalt and gravel road. Night running high in the mountains was also a useful skill during this extremely challenging race. “Brutal. Tough. Painful. But absolutely beautiful.” These were some of the words chosen by racers to describe the course. “I couldn’t believe just how steep the trails were in Japan. There were some sections that were so steep, I literally had to use both my arms and legs to pull myself up the mountain,” exclaimed one Australian participant. “Next year I’ll train by throwing in some climbing to my running schedule,” she laughed. The UTMF race pamphlet forewarned athletes the weather could be unpredictable in April, with cold temperatures and even snow a possibility. The temperatures on the mountain were cold indeed. However, UTMF was once again blessed with good, relatively warm weather over the two days, and 73 percent of the UTMF starters and 92 percent of the STY starters were able to successfully cross the finish line. According to the race committee though, they consider themselves lucky this year and are keenly aware the statistics may not be so great if the weather gods don’t cooperate in the future. Although many trail races in Japan are locally O organized and mainly attended by Japanese runners, the UTMF is one of the first races in Japan to earn a strong following among the international ultra-running community. So much so, that some racers traveled halfway around the world to reach the start line at Lake Kawaguchi. This year, 269 racers from 40 countries (almost 13 percent of the total number of participants) signed up for the race. The UTMF also attracted some of the best racers from around the world, including Sebastien Chaigneau and Julien Chorier of France, and Gary Robbins (Canada). They placed second, third and fourth respectively in the men’s UTMF category. On the women’s side, international runners Krissy Moehl (USA) and Shona Stephenson (Australia) placed first and second in the women’s UTMF. This is the top race for many of Japan’s top trail runners – the one they say really matters. Despite the home-turf advantage, the world-class competition proved to be humbling. There was one very big surprise however in the form of Yoshikazu Hara. A relatively new, unknown roadrunner, he beat out an elite group of international runners to take first place overall. The 2014 race dates have not been announced yet but, as soon as the dates are official, race details and registration information will be posted on the ULTRATRAIL Mt. FUJI official race Web site. Web: www. ultratrailmtfuji.com Racers coming from abroad may also want to check out Avid Adventures Japan about travel and race support packages in English. Web: www.avid-adventures. com ✤ 2013 RESULTS 1 YOSHIKAZU HARA Japan France France Canada Australia USA Australia Japan Japan Japan Japan Japan Japan Brazil Hong Kong Japan 19:39:48 19:48:28 19:50:13 20:20:39 20:38:17 24:35:45 25:56:53 26:15:25 27:26:33 27:52:06 9:54:14 10:07:05 10:39:09 11:36:18 12:41:41 13:52:14 2 JULIEN CHORIER 3 SEBASTIEN CHAIGNEAU 4 GARY ROBBINS 5 BRENDAN DAVIES 1 KRISTIN MOEHL Photo by Sho Fujimaki Photo by Sho Fujimaki UTMF Men’s Category UTMF Women’s Category 2 SHONA STEPHENSON 3 HITOMI OGAWA 4 KUMIKO AMIKURA 5 HIROKO SUZUKI 1 OSAMU MISAITSU 2 YUUTA SATOU 3 TAKUROU OOSHIMA 1 MANUELA VILASECA 2 NORA SENN 3 AKIKO MICHIDA STY Men’s Category STY Women’s Category SUMMER 2 0 1 3 15 Mustang By Richard Bull Go deep into Nepal at the Trail Race 16 SUMMER 2 0 1 3 RACE REPORT: NEPAL ush green foothills dotted with quaint villages set against the backdrop of soaring, breathlessly high mountains. This is the image most people conjure in their minds when they think of Nepal. However, hidden behind the giant 8,000-meter peaks of Annapurna and Dhaulagiri, lies the Mustang Region. It’s a mysterious, arid-looking place of cliffs and canyons. Rainfall is rare, and the fields surrounding the compact, earth-toned villages here are irrigated by snowmelt from the nearby mountains. This sunburned landscape is the canvas for the first Mustang Trail race, an eight-day multi-stage trail race along inter-village trails of the former “Forbidden Kingdom.” Mustang is reached in a small Dornier plane, via the deepest valley in the world, which follows the Kali Gandaki River and cuts a five-kilometer deep V-shape between the two 8,000-meter mountains. Against this massive scale, the plane feels like a mosquito flying between two houses. Experienced Japanese ultra runner Ryoichi Sato (51) L from Kanagawa Prefecture was one of the 12 participants in the inaugural race. He came to Mustang to follow in the footsteps of two legendary Japanese runners: Ekai Kawaguchi, the Tibetexploring Buddhist monk who was the first Japanese visitor to Mustang and Nepal, and Toru Kondo, the exJICA worker who dedicated more than 15 years of his life to Mustang development. “The trails were safe; they were trails used by the people living in Mustang. It was very changeable scenery and a feast for the eyes that was a lot of fun,” said Sato. Each stage was between 15 and 32 kilometers with up to 2,000 meters of climbing. This may not sound overly challenging to some trail runners, but at an altitude of 3,500-meters, there is only 66 percent oxygen available and even a slow jog can feel like a sprint. The natural scenery features the fiery red cliffs above Dhakmar village and the Grand Canyon-like badlands of Konchok Ling. The dramatic color changes from place to place and according to the position of the sun and clouds. The area's rich culture includes numerous monasteries and sacred caves, sometimes far from the nearest habitation. Competitors were able to sign in and out of certain checkpoints, so they could take as much time as they needed to visit cultural sites such as the 800-year-old Lo Gekar Monastery, with its exquisite carved and painted stone images. Famous British trail runner Lizzy Hawker, who came in second overall, says, “Multi-day races are excellent training for ultras. Back-to-back days really build endurance.” Sato, a Team Otori Ultra Runners club member, will need all the endurance he can muster in his next challenge. He’ll be back in the Himalayas in July, this time in Ladakh, India, where he’ll take on the 222K La Ultra high-altitude race. The next Mustang Trail Race will take place Nov. 23 to Dec. 6. Sign up on the Web site at www.mustangtrailrace. com. Check out more Nepal trail running events at www. trailrunningnepal.org/events ✤ IN MEMORIAM: DAVID ALLARDICE New Zealander David Allardice spent most of his life traveling away from his homeland, taking on challenges throughout Asia and the rest of the world. He ran several first descents of rivers such as the Indus, Maykha and Yalung Tsangpo. He pioneered the booming rafting industry in Nepal and started commercial multi-day river expeditions on many of the world’s great rivers. David trained a generation of international and Nepalese river guides, some of whom now work in Japan. The devoted husband and father recently died after a battle with cancer. David and Patrick O’Keeffe, founder of Hokkaido Outdoor Adventures, have been friends since the early ’90s when both were working in Nepal. They became business partners in The Last Resort in Nepal and another enterprise in northern Burma. They were instrumental in getting the first Nepali rafting guides working visas in Japan. Nowadays most of the top rafting companies in Japan have Nepali-trained guides. “After a lifetime of adventure, and all the things that should have killed him, he was sadly taken away from us by cancer,” said Patrick. “He was a friend, a business partner, a sensei who showed us how to live life to the fullest. David was an inspiration. Adventures we dreamed up over a few drinks would become a reality, through his eternal optimism and the magic he would weave that would make us believe we could do almost anything, and we usually did.” SUMMER 2 0 1 3 17 Q&A Team East Wind was on the cover of Outdoor Japan Traveler after you competed in the grueling 2011 Patagonian Expedition Race (PER). You returned in 2012 and 2013. What keeps you going back for more? There’s no other race like PER. The Patagonia wilderness is really special (ice fields, fjords, glaciers and pristine wilderness), and PER is the wildest and toughest adventure race on the planet. It beats you up every time and, no matter how many times we come back, there are always new challenges. It showed us what it takes to be one of the top teams in the world. That’s why the other top adventure teams such as Adidas TERREX Prunesco (UK) and Yogaslackers/GearJunky.com (USA) also keep coming back. With Team East Wind Captain Masato Tanaka Can you compare the terrain in Chilean Patagonia with anything in Japan? Chilean Patagonia has a variety of terrain, such as fjords, ice fields, glaciers, swamps and primeval forest. There’s really no place in Japan that has this diverse landscape. However, the weather and the scenery in Yakushima reminds you a bit of Chilean Patagonia; it rains a lot in both places, so the forests are really thick and harsh and everything is covered with moss. What's most challenging about the terrain there? Crossing swamps, never-ending bushwhacking, swimming in glacier-fed rivers and the beaver dams. Team East Wind finished seventh in 2010, fifth in 2011 and finished second in the last two races. What has been the key to the team’s improvement? There are many reasons. For one, the team participated with the same four members in three consecutive international races; PER 2011, the adventure racing world championship in Tasmania, and PER 2012, and all of the members were committed to winning PER. After finishing fifth in 2011, it was natural for us to aim for the top three in 2012. We also changed tactics. In 2011, we slept only an hour and a half each day during the race. It was physically very difficult. We got very sleepy during the day, which made us move slowly, and we started making a lot of navigation mistakes which was inefficient. Also, it was really hard to make much progress in the dark, and we ended up getting lost a lot. 18 SUMMER 2 0 1 3 ADVENTURE RACING: CHILE We had a real good and positive energy going on in 2012, and that really helped all of us mentally – which is super important – to keep moving fast, enjoy the race and finish in the top three. So we learned the lesson and decided to sleep three hours at night in 2012. Surprisingly, when we got three hours of sleep our bodies felt quite rested, and we were able to keep moving fast during the day. In Patagonia, it gets dark at 10 p.m. As soon as it got dark, we started looking for a good spot to pitch our tents. We would make camp by midnight, sleep for three hours, wake and pack up. We were moving again by 4 a.m., and the sun would rise an hour and a half later. We didn’t waste much daylight. Another thing we did was push ourselves physically, going as fast as we could from the start. We hardly ever stopped to rest until we camped at night and spent minimum time in the transit areas. We never stopped focusing on catching up to the team ahead of us. All four of us kept motivating each other with positive comments and by telling jokes the whole time. We had a real good and positive energy going on in 2012, and that really helped all of us mentally – which is super important – to keep moving fast, enjoy the race and finish in the top three. How close were you to catching the leaders the past two years? In 2012, we finished 12 hours behind the winners, and we were more than a day behind them this year. Last year, our goal was to finish in the top three, so we were very happy with the result. When we learned we were just 12 hours behind, it felt as if we should have tried harder to catch them. All the teams were fairly close together during the race, and we learned what it would take. But this year was different. Our focus was to win the race, and we gave it our all, yet we were more than a day behind the winners. We did our best but learned what we still needed to work on to win next year’s PER. What is most important to become a successful adventure race team? Each team member has to completely get their ego out of the way, and be humble toward other team members and nature. Has the adventure race scene changed much in the past few years? Many of the big adventure races around the world, such as Primal Quest and Raid Gauloises, disappeared after they lost big sponsors because of the recession. In Japan, the adventure race community is not really growing; the sport is not as popular as other sports such as marathons or soccer. But races will never disappear completely, because there are enough devoted racers who will support adventure races. SUMMER 2 0 1 3 19 Are there any races or events with which you are involved in Japan? Former Team East Wind and PER member Kay Sato organized a two-day event called Nokogiri Yama Adventure Weekend; it is a training camp for beginners. The event includes a presentation by Team East Wind, navigation, rope activities, sea kayak training and miniadventure race. I organize the Adventure Racing Japan Series (ARJS), X-Adventure (four-day adventure race), Satoyama Adventure, training camps, navigation and trail running lessons and Snow Country Trail. Does Team East Wind team have any international races coming up? The team will participate in the world championship in Costa Rica in November and plans to participate in PER 2014 in Chile. Was there anything that made Chile a particularly interesting or memorable travel destination outside the race itself? We always stay at Hostel Keoken because the owner is very helpful and takes great care of us from the moment we arrive at the Punta Arenas Airport until we leave. There are a lot of great restaurants, but we ate at a local hamburger restaurant called Lomit’s almost every day. You can select anything you like in your burger – chicken, pork, beef steak or hamburger, cheese, avocado, tomatoes…and the size of their burgers is perfect for endurance athletes. We looked forward to eating at Lomit’s after finishing the race. Chilean people are very friendly, and they seemed to take a liking to our Japanese team. PER 2013 ended in the middle of Punta Arenas town, so there were thousands of people welcoming the racers at the finish line. Many people asked us for photographs, and a local TV crew was filming us when we crossed the finish line. We were eating at Lomit’s when they aired us on the evening news, and everyone in the restaurant applauded. What would you say to people thinking about entering an adventure race? I wish more people would try adventure racing. Some people seem to think adventure racing is too extreme or too tough a sport to join, but it’s really not like that. Adventure racing is a wonderful experience; for some, it can be a life-changing experience. Once you participate in your first race, you’ll realize it’s more than just a sport, it goes deeper than that. ✤ Patagonian Expedition Race: www.patagonianexpeditionrace.com Team East Wind: www.east-wind.jp/team/ X Adventure Series: www.x-adventure.jp 20 SUMMER 2 0 1 3 ADVENTURE RACING: CHILE Q&A With Team East Wind Captain Masato Tanaka Patagonian International Marathon tjepan Pavicic, the founder of the Patagonian Expedition Race (PER), created the Patagonian International Marathon (PIM). After 10 successful Expedition Races, he decided to branch out to make more of an impact for sustainable tourism. This year will mark the second year for the marathon. The race features four distances: the 63K ultra-marathon, 42K marathon, 21K half-marathon and a 10K fun run. The marathon helps raise awareness about the fragility of the landscape, sustainable development and responsible ways to enjoy nature while helping the local community. Only 10 or 15 teams compete in PER, but the exposure for the Patagonia area is tremendous. PIM attracted 375 runners from multiple countries in its first year, and organizers are aiming for 600 runners this year. You do not have to be an elite adventure racer to participate in the marathon. Recreational runners can take part in the 10K or half-marathon, but there is also the ultra distance for serious runners. The 2013 race will be held on Sept. 28, the low season for tourism, to help support local businesses, and 2,000 Chilean pesos is taken from every entry and used to purchase a tree which is planted after the race through Reforesemos Patagonia. Web: www.patagonianinternationalmarathon.com S SUMMER 2 0 1 3 21 ON THE RUN By Robert Self Surviving the Summer Funk ith the steamy summer air pressing down like a hot wet blanket, one more lap around Tokyo’s Imperial Palace or Osaka Castle can be hard to face. Yet there are solutions beyond your air-conditioned gym’s “dreadmill.” Some quite wonderful running experiences in Japan’s outdoors during the summer hot season. First of all, let me say the rainy season (roughly mid-June to mid-July) gets a bum rap. The first several weeks are often pleasantly cool and, on most days, the weather ranges from cloudy to drizzly. It rarely rains hard enough to interfere with a good run. For those willing to hit the low forest trails near Tokyo or Osaka, the scenery takes on a misty and beautiful aspect, which can be as lovely as a Chinese screen painting. Ajisai (hydrangea) bloom, temples look inviting and mysterious, and the air is cool and fresh. A run through a pine forest on a mountain road or trail could remind you of everything you love about Japan. No denying most runners will find late July and all of August in Japan rather unlovable, but there are ways to make your run something to look forward to rather than just a training slog for which you must psyche up yourself. Here are 10 tips for making it at the very least tolerable, and often downright enjoyable. 1. Put ice in your running pack’s hydration system bladder. Drinking the refreshing water will cool you down, as will the ice turning to cold water against your back, which usually lasts about 45 minutes. 2. Run along a fast moving stream. Running water produces a surprising amount of natural air conditioning. No, the Imperial Palace moat or the Dotonbori River are not going to help much. Find a quickmoving mountain stream. W 3. Dip your hat in cold water. A wet hat definitely cools you down a bit. Somehow sweat doesn’t quite do the trick quite as well. Up to 70 percent of the body’s heat is dissipated through the head, so cold water really seems to help the process. or take a waterfall shower. Your body’s core temperature will thank you for hours. 9. For trail runners, learn to run at night with a headlamp. Running at night in summer is an obvious choice for city runners as well. 10. Give in and run in the sweltering heat in order to increase your fitness and performance. According to a University of Oregon study published in The Journal of Applied Physiology, “As a result of our getting used to the heat, the volume of plasma in the blood increases, sweating begins earlier and is much heavier, and the heart adapts, pumping blood to the skin’s surface faster, thereby releasing heat through convection cooling.” Test results showed performance benefits. So all that muggy, funky air could actually help you be a better runner. The Run Down: Cool Summer Spots The Okumusashi Green Line: Beloved of ultra runners in Kanto, the Okumusashi Green Line is just 50 minutes from downtown Tokyo and near most stations on the Seibu Ikebukuro Line after Musashi Yokote Station. Elevations range from 300 meters to near 1,000 meters as this forest road winds some 25 kilometers toward Maruyama. It’s a good place to meet some of Japan’s most motivated runners. Stop for lunch at one of the teashops at Kafuri Toge for good food and great views, even during rainy season. Tamagawa Josui: Another convenient place to run from central Tokyo is Tamagawa Josui. This cool, forested canal has supplied water to central Tokyo for hundreds of years. Running alongside it provides a relatively cool corridor along a shaded mix of road and trail. Good for shorter runs. 4. Travel light. Don’t carry much gear, or water if you are running in town. Running in the city, you will pass by countless hanbaiki (vending machines), so it’s easy to find something cold to drink. If you carry more than a liter of water, you may actually sweat more from the exertion. In the mountains, plan your run around places with a fresh water supply. 5. Run in the forest. Trees and plants are naturally coolers. 6. Run in the morning or late afternoon. 7. Run high. Dry air temperature drops one degree centigrade per 100 meters. Wet air drops at a rate about half of that. This means, at an elevation of 1,000 meters, the air temperature will be five to 10 degrees lower than the average sweltering Japanese city. Generally speaking, the hot, wet and heavy air in the Kanto and Kansai plains relents higher than about 600 meters or so. 8. Jump into a cold stream at the end of a run Robert Self came to Japan from northern California's redwood country. He has been running in Japan's mountains for 20 years and has coached runners from beginners to international champions. He is the director of Hanno Trail School which specializes in running tours and trail running lessons. Web: www.tokyotrailrunning.com / Facebook: www.facebook.com/tokyotrailrunning 22 SUMMER 2 0 1 3 Cycling Japan: A JOURNEY TO EXPERIENCE THE LOCAL LIFE ROUTE By Takashi Niwa Translated by Sakae Sugahara サイ ク リ ング—それは 土地の暮らしを感じる旅 # 19 Bihoro Toge Lake Akan Lake Mashu Nakashibetsu Summer Touring through Doto Dreamland 北海道 道東で一か所を拠点にサイク リング三昧 Mashu Kushiro Shitsugen A wide variation of scenery is the largest attraction of Doto. C ycling enthusiasts in Japan dream of summer cycle touring in Hokkaido. This is Japan’s big sky country; the open fields, relatively cooler crisp air, good food and many hot springs and cycling-friendly accommodations make it ideal for cycle touring. The best of the best is the Doto area in eastern Hokkaido. What sets it apart is the abundance of attractive destinations, a wide variation of scenery, a well developed travel infrastructure and easy access from Honshu, with multiple airports in Kushiro, Memanbetsu, Nakashibetsu and Obihiro. You can do the grand tour of Doto, which covers about 600 km., or you can stay in one place and ride different loops each day. Teshikaga Town near Mashu Station makes an ideal base for such excursions with Akan’s tracts of virgin forest to the west, Lake Kusharo and the rolling hills of Memanbetsu to the north, pastures on the Konsen Plateau and Nemuro Straits facing the Northern Territories to the east and Kushiro Shitsugen marshland to the south. Pedal in any direction from Teshikaga for a memorable day of riding and, if you want to venture farther, train and bike trips to the Shiretoko or Nemuro peninsulas are doable day-trips. Cranking away from a hub each day gives you more agility with less luggage to carry. It makes your planning easier and gives you more flexibility, depending on weather, physical conditions and other factors. 4 1. 2. 3. 4. 600 Hotel Mashu is a cyclist-friendly hotel in Teshikaga. 3-22 Yunoshima 2-chome, Teshikaga-cho, Kawakami-gun, Hokkaido 088-3203 088-3203 2 3-22 Web: www.hotel-masyu.com Tel: (015) 482-2141 Takashi Niwa’s Yamamichi Adventure company has been renamed Niwa Cycling Tours (www.ncycling.com). He offers many bike tours, both domestic and overseas. For other routes in Japan, please pick up a copy of “CYCLING JAPAN: 10 of the Best Rides, Vol. 1”by Takashi Niwa, at bookshops around Japan and various online stores. 2011 1 www.ncycling.com 10 vol.1 SUMMER 2 0 1 3 23 Dorado Dreaming A long the coast of Kanagawa’s Sagami Bay, there is about a month-and-a-half stretch between July and August when every capable fishing vessel books up with eager anglers aiming to catch a big dorado. Shira, as they are called in Japanese, swim to within a stone’s throw of the shoreline, follow the Kuroshio (black current) and chase migratory baitfish from the beginning of June and then hang out in the bay until late October. The bite is generally consistent but prone to sudden slumps when the weather mucks up the clarity at the ocean surface or drives the water temperature down. For folks just starting out, it may seem a little tricky reading the conditions and learning what kind of plug to snap on, but anyone can pick up the basics of this type of game fishing quickly. Due to several factors, including Japan’s warm coastal currents, an abundance of plankton and baitfish and their super-fast growth rate, it’s possible to encounter hundreds of dorado near oceanic tide lines feeding on whatever type of baitfish is present. The sight of dozens of dorado screaming across the surface, changing colors as they switch on and start frenzying is simply amazing. When conditions are right, anglers can sight cast and slay them until their arms get tired. Unlike in most other countries, dorado are targeted on lures in Japan. A standard outfit is a 6.5-to-7.5-foot medium-action 40-gram max cast weight-spinning rod, coupled with either a 3,500-to-4,000-size Daiwa, or a 5,000-to-6,000size Shimano reel. Line-wise we’re talking PE2to-3 and a 50-to-60 pound fluorocarbon leader. This tackle is remarkably light, weighing less than a kilogram. A mind-boggling variety of lures are available, but anglers can get a feel for what model is working well by checking with tackle shop staff and captains. Generally speaking, both floating and sinking pencils and poppers in the 11-14 cm. range do the job, but in some instances the bait fish won’t be that big so something around nine cm. is more likely to get bit. Most years the first bite happens in early June when schools of pelagic baitfish are nearing the coastline. At this point the water temperature is warming, but the weather topside doesn’t quite yet feel like summer. For about a three-week stretch, there’s a lot of action to be had, so long as the wind direction stays consistent and it doesn’t rain too heavily. In late June the rainy season starts and puts a damper on the conditions to catch dorado and other pelagics as the water temperature may be a little too low for predators to hang near the surface. However, once the rainy season weather dissipates and the dead of summer sets in, it’s no-holds-barred action for the rest of the season. Dorado is a great top water target into which anyone can jump and do well. If you’re thinking of doing some fishing this summer, be sure to give it a whirl. You won’t regret it. Readers living in or visiting the Shonan area can get into dorado and other great saltwater ﬁshing with KazutoshiMaru, a full-service ﬁshing guide based at Chigasaki Port. Web: http://kazutoshimaru.net/ 24 SUMMER 2 0 1 3 By Bryan Harrell Loco Beer ロコビア Sakura, Chiba 千葉県佐倉市 oco Beer is a small brewery in suburban Chiba. It’s near Yukarigaoka Station on the main Keisei Line, not far from Narita Airport. The brewery was founded in 1998 by liquor discount retailer Shimor and has won quite a few medals in beer contests throughout Japan. Momoyo Kagitani, one of Japan’s few female brewmasters, was originally hired to brew their beers which are primarily available at Shimor’s stores and outlets. Early last year, an opportunity arose for Kagitani to take over the management and business operations of Loco Beer. She and her husband, Koichi Nittoh (a materials scientist in Tsukuba and a craft beer enthusiast), took the reins of Loco Beer in April of 2012 and embarked on a mission to begin brewing a greater variety of beers. Presently, Kagitani is continuing to brew their highly regarded Kölsch (a light German ale from the city of Köln) along with a California common beer (also known as “steam beer” because it resembles the A nchor Steam L original), with occasional specialties and seasonal beers. As of this writing, Loco Beer is shipping these two beers, along with a “Winter Old” ale, an India Pale Ale and a Märzen beer. Coming soon is a Baltic Porter. Last year, Loco released a Coconut Porter (a dark ale with toasted coconut) that had a remarkable depth and complexity. Prices range between ¥450 and ¥550 per 330-ml. bottle. This year, expect an interesting and diverse variety of brews from the Loco crew. Those who read Japanese can follow developments on their Web site’s blog and Facebook page. You can also find details there on ordering beer fo r h o m e d e l i v e r y. Tokyo residents can often find Loco Beer at Tanakaya (http:// tanakaya.cognacfan. com), about a minute from Mejiro Station on the JR Yamanote Line. 1998 330ml 550 2012 4 JR 1 450 Loco Beer (within the Shimor store) ロコビア 119 3 Jouza, Sakura-shi, Chiba 285-0854 285-0854 119 3 Phone: (043) 487-6914 Web: www.locobeer.jp (Japanese only) Hours: 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. (No pub or restaurant) SUMMER 2 0 1 3 25 Kitakama キタカマ By CJW — 槍ヶ岳北鎌尾根ルート登頂記 — 26 SUMMER 2 0 1 3 The old man and I sat on the peak of the Gendarme, that towering granite spire, watching the early evening clouds boil around the summits of the North Alps. From our lofty seat, the world below appeared as a sea of white foam dotted with an archipelago of dark mountaintops. The pyramid of Yari stood tallest of all those islands, an unmistakable black spear thrusting toward the heavens. The old man pointed slowly toward that distant peak. “There’s another route up Yari, you know. You won’t find it on any of the maps. There aren’t any old women or children up there, either. It’s a hard route. I’d reckon not one in a hundred thousand climb Yari from that side. They call it the Kitakama Ridge,” he said. From that moment, Kitakama consumed me. その老人と私は高くそびえた花崗岩の山頂にすわり、薄暮の北アルプスに渦巻く雲を眺めていた。 山々をおおう白い雲は海のようでもあり、雲間から頂きをあらわす山々はまるで点在する小島だった。 そのなかでも、ひときわ高く黒い矢のようにこの荘厳な世界を突き破っているのは槍ヶ岳のピラミッドだ。 老人は静かにその山を指差した。 「槍ヶ岳にはどの地図にも載っていない、過酷なルートが存在する。 年輩の女性や子どもにとって難しいという意味ではないよ。 私がもし十万回槍ヶ岳に登ったとしても、そのルートは選ばない」と老人は続けた。 「北鎌尾根と、そのルートは呼ばれている」 。 その瞬間から私の心にキタカマという言葉が刻まれた。 SUMMER 2 0 1 3 27 year later, I started climbing up the steep wooden slope from Nakabusa Onsen to Enzanso Lodge. Fair weather had drawn weekend crowds, now making their descent after taking in morning views from the summit of Mt. Yari. It’s not for nothing this mountain is known as the Ginza of the Alps. By midday I’m at the top of the slope. The weather is fine, but at the ridge a sharp north wind cuts up from the valley on the other side. I pull on a jacket and start the walk to tonight’s destination, the hut at Otensho. Yari is shrouded in billowing clouds until they part for an instant revealing Kitakama Ridge and the enormity of the mission ahead. It was the first time I had glimpsed Yari from this side. As impressive as it was from the other direction, nothing could match this view. A defiant middle finger of rock thrust skyward, making the roundabout peaks seem dwarfish and dull. There, spilling off the northern side of the mountain, lay the Kitakama Ridge, all broken black teeth and dismal spires. As quickly as it revealed itself, the clouds took it back, leaving only a terrible, faded image burned into my retinas. I turned my back and hurried along the ridge as the wind tugged. The hut lies in a saddle between Mt. Otensho and Ushikubi Peak and, according to my map book, boasts “wonderful views of Yari and a 360-degree panorama.” It was already late afternoon, and I was considering dropping down to the valley where I might bivy for the night, when the hut owner emerged. He glanced at the ironmongery on my pack, the helmet and the rope, and simply asked, "Kitakama?" I nodded. He had a friendly smile and relaxed air, quite unlike that of many of the hut owners of the Alps, not a few of whom had gone mildly insane. “You look well kitted out for it, and seem strong enough. I get a few through here each year, and I try to check ’em out. Once in a while you get a 'bumbly' who thinks the Kitakama might be a pleasant stroll. I try to tell them to turn back. Sometimes they do, sometimes they don't. Sometimes they get halfway and make it back here in a terrible state. Sometimes they never come back, and I read about them in the newspaper later. So, where to tonight?” he inquires. I tell him I’m looking for a place to bivy. “There are bears in the valley, “ he says, “and they're hungry this time of year.” It seems more than an idle sales ploy. There’s no one else at the hut tonight, and he offers to let me stay for the cut rate of ¥1,000. “As long as you make your own food. Oh, and if you can do me just one favor…” he adds. Apparently he'd recently had trouble explaining the workings of the chemical toilet to a group of foreign hikers. Now the toilet features English instructions, courtesy of yours truly. The next morning, the hut owner and I climbed Ushikubi Peak to watch the sunrise. A wan disc struggled above the horizon, but was soon swallowed by iron gray clouds. There, he pointed out the route up the Kitakama. “Go down the Bimbozawa gully and cut left up the river to the Kitakama couloir. Careful on the Bimbozawa; it might be frozen this early in the morning. Follow the Kitakama col up to where it forks and make sure you A take the right-hand fork. The left is a death trap, people have died in there,” he warns. Black clouds now roll in from the north. The metallic tang of snow is sharp on the wind, as we are peppered with flakes. For a brief moment I consider calling off the climb. The hut owner tells me not to worry, the forecast is good for the next couple of days, and this will pass shortly. I thank him and make my way to the notch in the next saddle where a small sign proclaims the entrance to Bimbozawa. Literally "Poor Gully,” it lives up to its name. The top is a mess of creeping haimatsu pine, followed by a boulder-chocked 750-vertical-meter descent. It’s dry until the bottom section, where a sulfurous waterfall spills from the cliffs above. At one point, a crumbling rope leads down a steep, slippery slope. I don’t trust it, so I use my own. It’s a grueling two hours of work before I reach the river of the valley floor, bruised and cut. I slap a bloody handprint on a nearby rock, a primeval marker, before plunging my torn hand into the icy waters. The clouds swiftly depart as I reach the entrance to the Kitakama col. It’s a short climb to the fork, where I stop to fill my water bottle. This may be the last place to take on water until I reach the Yari hut on the other side. I can only take three liters with me, which is not going to be enough. I climb into the right-hand gully, up over boulders. In places, house-sized blocks of rock bar the way, so I take off my pack and haul it behind me while I boulder up. It’s strenuous work, especially after using so much energy descending Bimbozawa, and made no easier by the pack’s maddening tendency to get stuck halfway up. The head of the col hovers in constant sight but never seems to draw nearer. The oppressive walls open out into a grassy slope just below the top of the gully. A warm slab of rock makes a welcome seat to take in the views across this lonely valley. Too quickly, long-fingered shadows creep toward my sunny perch as mid-day passes. Shouldering the pack once more I travel the last few meters to the ridge proper where, for the first time, I gaze out over the soft contours of Mt. Washiba and Mt. Suisho to the north, and the yellow sand ridge that stands between us. The wind blows colder here. Icicles hang from the cliffs, and the remains of the morning’s snow dot the ground. A little farther on, a rope of reasonably modern vintage snakes down a cliff face. I clip into the end of it, SUMMER 28 2 0 1 3 Kitakama “Go down the Bimbozawa gully and cut left up the river to the Kitakama couloir. Careful on the Bimbozawa; it might be frozen this early in the morning. Follow the Kitakama col up to where it forks and make sure you take the right-hand fork. The left is a death trap, people have died in there,” he warns. 「貧乏沢を下り、 北鎌沢の左を登る。 貧乏沢は注意したほうがいい、 早朝は凍っているからね。 北鎌コルで支流がふたつに別れるから右手を行くんだ。 左には死の罠が待ち受けている。 そこで多くの人が死んでいる」 と彼は注意してくれた。 は雪が混じり、 鋭い金属片のように感じられた。 悪天 候のために私は登山の中止を宣言しようとしたが、 山 小屋の主人は大丈夫だと言った。 天気図によれば、 こ れからの２日間は晴天が続くという。 だからこの悪天 候は長くは続かない。 彼にお礼をいうと私は貧乏沢の 入り口を示す切り込みの入った標識に向かった。 この 渓谷はその名のとおりで上部には這松が群生し、 そこ からは750メートルの断崖となっていた。 崖の底部は 乾燥しているが、 その上部からは硫黄の滝が噴出して いた。 急峻で滑りやすい斜面にクライミング用のロー プが垂れ下がっていたが、 私は自分のロープしか使わ 彼はほかの山小屋によくいる偏屈な主人とは異な り、 親しげな笑顔とリラックスした空気を醸し出して いた。 「あなたは装備もしっかりしているし、 体力も あるようだね。 わたしは毎年ここで北鎌に向かう人の 年後、 私は中房温泉から急峻な森を抜けて燕山荘 へと向かった。 好天により山は週末を利用した 装備をチェックするのだが、 北鎌をハイキングかなに かだと勘違いしている人が少なからずいる。 出直すよ うに勧めて、 その意見に従う人もいるがそうじゃない 人もいる。 そういう人は半分も登らないうちに悲惨な 状況にあうんだ、 戻ってこない人もいて、 あとから新 聞でそのことを知るんだよ。 さて今夜はどこへ？」 。 私は、 ツェルトを張れる場所がないかと聞いた。 「この谷には熊がいて、 この季節は腹を空かせてい るんだよ」 。 子どもだましのようなセリフのようにも聞こえた が、 主人によると今夜はだれも小屋に泊まらないから 一泊1,000円でいいという。 「食事は自分で作ってくれ、 わたしの分まで作ってくれれば歓迎だけどね」 と彼は 言った。 最近は外国人の登山者が多く、 主人は浄化槽トイレ の使用方法の説明に困っていた。 しかしやっと英語に よる使用方法がトイレに貼られたそうだ。 次の朝、 主人と私は日の出を拝むために牛首の山 頂に登った。 円盤のような光が、 青ざめた地平線に映 りだしたが、 すぐに灰色の雲がそれをかき消してし まった。 「あそこだ」 と主人は北鎌のルートを指し示した。 「貧乏沢を下り、 北鎌沢の左を登る。 貧乏沢は注意 したほうがいい、 早朝は凍っているからね。 北鎌コル で支流がふたつに別れるから右手を行くんだ。 左には 死の罠が待ち受けている。 そこで多くの人が死んでい る」 と彼は注意してくれた。 黒い雲が北から迫ってきた。 私たちに吹きつける風 なかった。 その結果、 川にたどり着くまでに2時間も 費やし疲労だけでなく軽傷も負ってしまい、 凍てつく ような水で傷を洗い流すまでに、 太古の痕跡のような 血染めの指紋を岩肌へつけることになってしまった。 北鎌のコルへ向かう私の気持ちのように上空の雲 はすばやく移動していた。 水をボトルに詰める予定の川の分岐まではそれほ ど時間はかからなかった。 だがそこから槍ヶ岳の山小 屋まで水を補給できるところはない。 3リットルの水 を詰めたが、 それでは十分とは言えなかった。 小さな渓谷を右手に見て登る。 この辺りでは家ほ どもある大岩が私の行くさきを阻む。 そのために私 はザックを下ろしてその大岩を越えなければならな かった。 これは非常に労力を必要とした。 ましてや、 あの貧乏沢で体力を使い果たしたあとだったからな おさらだし、 しかもザックを引っぱり上げなくてはな らない。 目的地のコルは視界に捉えているものの近づいて くる気配はまったくない。 圧倒的な岩壁は開かれ、 そ こに平らなスロープがありコルへと続いている。 日を 浴びた暖かい岩はこの辺ぴな渓谷の景色を眺める特 等席だ。 だが山の影が長い指のように急速にこの日な たに忍び寄り、 一日の半分がもう過ぎてしまったこと を示していた。 尾根にたどり着く数メートル手前のと ころでザックを担いだとき、 ふと気づくと穏やかな輪 郭の鷲羽岳とその北側に水晶岳の姿が広がった。 私た ちのあいだを隔てているものは茶色の砂で刻まれた 山肌の分水嶺だけだった。 吹きつける風はさらに冷たく、 崖には氷柱があっ た。 積雪が辺りに点在し、 その先にモダンアートのよ うにロープが垂れ下がっているところがあった。 私 はその末端をつかみクリップし、 何度かショックを 1 登山客でにぎわっていた。 彼らは槍ヶ岳で日の出を拝 み、 下山中であった。 ここがアルプスの銀座とも呼ば れているのも過言ではない。 正午には、 稜線の上にたどり着くことができた。 天 候はよいが、 渓谷から吹き抜ける北風は冷たい。 私は ジャケットを重ねて、 今夜の目的地である大天井岳の 山小屋を目指した。 槍ヶ岳の北鎌尾根側は、 そのルートを選んだ者たち が愚行を悟るまでは、 いつも雲に覆われているとい う。 だが私は、 その日一瞬だけだが北鎌尾根を見るこ とができた。 それは別のルートとはかけ離れた光景で あった。 まるで砕けた黒い歯のような陰鬱な山頂、 中 指を空に向かって突き立てたような挑戦的な岩、 周囲 の山々はまるで萎縮してしまっているかのように見 えた。 北壁の厳しさが北鎌尾根には存在した。 だがそ の凄惨なイメージが私の脳裏に焼きつくや否や、 北鎌 尾根はふたたび深い雲に覆われてしまった。 私は踵を 返し、 風の吹きすさぶ尾根をつたい、 先を急いだ。 その山小屋は大天井岳と牛首のあいだのコルに あった。 私のガイドブックによれば、 すばらしい槍ヶ 岳と360度の眺望とある。 すでに午後も遅くなってい たので、私はこの渓谷を下り、一夜を過ごそうと決 めた。 すると山小屋の主人が姿をあらわし、 私の装具やヘ ルメットそしてロープをちらりと見て言った。 「キタ カマ？」 。 私は頷いた。 SUMMER 2 0 1 3 29 give it a few bounces. I mantle up to where the terrain becomes a little easier. The ridgeline leads due north for a few hundred meters before gratefully swinging around to the west. The afternoon sun heats up the north side of the ridge even as the chill wind whisks it away. There’s no path here of which to speak. The scant accounts I’d read of the climb suggested "route-finding was paramount" and you may find faint, sporadic traces of a track. The recent typhoon, however, seemed to have scoured the mountain clean of any human activity, so I’d have to rely on intuition. After traversing several sections, I spot a shiny brasscolored piton sticking out of the rock. I anchor my rope to it and move out across a thin ledge; I sling a solid rock flake on the other side before traversing back to undo the far anchor. Soloing like this is a slow game. I come upon a short chimney marked by a tattered piece of knotted rope and a rusting piton that moved horrifically in its crack as I tugged on it. I ignored it, took off my pack again and shimmied backwards up the crack. Once at the top it occurred to me I should have cut off the old rope or kicked out the piton, but now I was out of reach of either. By mid-afternoon I’d reached a spire with a small, flat top with pleasing views of Yari and the surrounding mountains. I decided to call this home for the night. I built a small wall from rocks to keep the bitter wind at bay, huddled behind it and watched the sun dip into the clouds that cloaked the horizon. Yari seemed to fill the sky, demanding my attention. I gazed out along the ridge, trying to make out the lines of the peaks and spires, imagining tomorrow’s route. Finally, the sun disappeared into the Sea of Japan, and a pale half moon rose to throw its light over Yari's flanks. I noticed with alarm frost had already settled on my sleeping bag so I hurriedly tucked it into my bivy sack. I had a notion to make a small fire to warm up with before heading to sleep, but after half an hour of scrabbling around in the dark for firewood, I realized I was getting colder. The mercury hit minus eight as I burrowed into my bag, looking up at stars shooting across the planetarium overhead. Sleep came in dark, dreamless fits. The biting wind made a mockery of my wall, seeping into the small breathing hole in the bivy bag and chilling my cheeks and nose. Around midnight, nature called. I clambered out, shaking like a loon on this little peak. The thermometer read minus 12, and I was more grateful than ever I’d brought the winter sleeping bag. Abruptly, a red line across the horizon signaled morning, and with it a cloudless sky. I drank a liter of Earl Grey tea, the last of my water, as the sun creeped above distant mountains, throwing beams of copper light over Yari's austere face. The first hour was over easy ground and solid rocks. Next came the first serious down climb, a crumbling tower with loose shale, simple enough but a tiring fight against constantly shifting ground and occasional unnerving rock falls. The thermometer still showed minus 10 on the shaded north side, and the wind ripped in fearsome gusts. Back on the ridge, I traversed to the sunward side and basked there for a few minutes, letting the heat come back to my hands. An easy crack led down to a short traverse and then to a chimney topped with aging slings and rope loops. I added one of my own to the collection before rappelling down into a chimney on the other side. The rock here was smooth, white limestone, loose and riddled with cracks. My rope ran out five or so meters from the bottom, and a rising sense of panic started to grip my chest. I forced myself to take slow, deep breaths and considered my options. Climbing down without a rope was out of the question. I laboriously climbed back up to the anchor, traversed over and found a shorter, safer route to the scree below. Across the talus the going was easier, but the windward side of the ridge was like another world, dark and bitterly cold. The far-off peaks of Mt. Tsurugi and Mt. Tateyama lay to the north, already cloaked in snow, glorious in the bright, late autumn sunshine. An icy rime covered much of this side of the mountain. Time and again I had to melt the next foothold with my bare hands, which were now swollen and red with altitude and exertion. The pads of several fingers had split on the cold granite and every sharp edge now seemed to seek out these wounds. Yari was close now, oppressively towering above. At this moment I realized that as much as I love the mountains, they don’t think one iota of me. The last gully led me wearily out of the darkness and cold and onto the ridge for the final time. A flat section of ground marked Kitakama-daira where camp remnants lay scattered around. With the end in sight, I moved rapidly over the broken blocks that mark the base of Yari's summit pyramid. A quick traverse to the south side followed by 50 meters of easy climbing up the face led to the base of two chimneys, studded with ancient pitons, rusting, useless and mostly unnecessary. 30 SUMMER 2 0 1 3 Kitakama は零下1２度、 私はこのときほど冬用のスリーピング バックを購入した喜びを感じたことはなかった。 突然、 雲ひとつない地平線に赤いラインが浮かび上 がった。 私は最後の１リットルの水でアールグレイの 紅茶を入れて飲んだ。 太陽が山並みの上に姿を現す と、 赤銅色のビームのような光が厳格な表情の槍ヶ岳 を照らした。 最初の1時間は平坦な岩を越えていくだけで楽だっ た。 その後にやっかいな下りが始まった。 崩れ落ちた 塔のような堆積岩の地表は平凡のように見えるが、 そ こを越えるとなると絶え間なく変化し、 また落石の危 険もあった。 北側の日陰では、 温度計が零下10度を示し、 ぞっと するほどの風が吹き抜けた。 日の当たる場所へトラ バースし、 そこで数分のあいだ太陽の光を浴び、 両手 に感覚が戻ってきた。 易しいクラックを短いトラバー スで抜け、 しなびたスリングとロープが残置してあっ たチムニーの上部に向かった。 そこで私は手持ちの 装備を利用して登ってきたところとは反対側へと懸 与えてみた。 ここを越えれば登高が少しは楽になる だろう。 尾根は大きく西に回り込み、 そこからは北に数百 メートル続いた。 午後の日差しが北側の斜面に当たり、 冷たい風を押しのけたかのように気温が上昇した。 だが進むべき道が判らない。 私の乏しい登山語録 によれば、 「ルートの発見こそが最重要」 。 だがいつも ならばルートの手がかりを見つけられるのだが、 最近 台風が通過してあらゆる痕跡を吹き飛ばしてしまっ たようだ。 どうやら直感に頼って進むしかない。 いくつかのセクションをトラバースしたあと、 私は 岩肌に黄銅色に光るピトンが打ち込まれてあるのを 見つけた。 私はそれをアンカーにしロープで狭い岩棚 を抜けることができた。 そのアンカーを緩めるために は、 硬いフレークにスリングを掛けてアンカーにし、 ふたたび戻らなければならない。 ここが単独行の時間 を食いやすいところだ。 短いチムニーに近づくと、 そこにくたびれたロープ と錆びたピトンがあった。 私がそれをぐいと引っ張る と恐ろしいほどに弛んだので、 私はそれを無視して自 力でクラックを登ることにした。 あの古びたロープと 錆びたピトンを処理するべきだったと気づいたのは しばらくしてからであった。 午後も遅くなってから私は尖頂の平らなところへ とたどり着くことができた。 そこからは槍ヶ岳と、 そ れに連なる山々のすばらしい景色を見ることができ た。 ここを今夜の寝床にしようと決めた私は、 石を積 み上げて風よけを作りそこに身を屈め、 地平線の雲に 消えていく太陽を眺めた。 槍ヶ岳は空を覆うがごとく巨大で、 私の注意をいや おうもなく引きつけた。 私はその山の尾根を注視し、 明日の頂上までのルートをイメージした。 太陽はつい に日本海へと沈み、 ぼんやりとした半月が槍ヶ岳の山 裾から現れた。 スリーピングバックの中にいても急激な気温の低 下を感じた私は大急ぎでツェル���を張った。 小さな焚 き火をして暖をとったほうがよいと思い、 暗闇の中、 薪を捜したがすでに身体は凍えだしていた。 温度計の水銀は零下8度を示した。スリーピング バックから見上げる夜空はまさにプラネタリウム だった。 やがて睡魔に襲われ深い眠りに落ちた。 意地 の悪い風が積み石の間を抜けてツェルトの空気穴か ら侵入し、 頬や鼻先にちょっかいを仕掛けてきた。 深 夜になりついに尿意をもよおす。 私は外に這い出ると 尖頭に立つ愚か者のように身体を震わせた。 温度計 垂下降を試みた。 その岩はスムースな表面の石灰岩で いたるところにクラックがあった。 だが、 下降すると ロープが地上に５メートルばかり足りないではない か。 私はパニックに襲われそうになった。 深呼吸をし、 気持ちを立て直すと最善の方法を考えた。 ロープなし でこれ以上下降することはもちろん選択外だ。 私は苦 心してなんとかそのロープを登りアンカーのところ に戻った。 そしてトラバースしながら、 もっと短く安 全にガレ場に降りられるルートを捜した。 ガレ場を横切るのがもっとも簡単そうだが、 そこは風 上側で、 いうなれば別世界。 しかも暗く、 凍りつくよ うに寒い。 遥か遠くに剣岳と館山の頂上が見える、 北 側はすでに雪に覆われ晩秋の美しい光に照らされて いた。 槍ヶ岳のこの側は氷のような霜で覆われていたの で、 私は足がかりの霜を素手で溶かさなければなら ず、 標高の影響と酷使によって手は赤く腫れ上がっ た。 指先は裂け、 冷たく鋭い花崗岩がその傷口をもて あそんだ。 今、 槍ヶ岳はさらに私に迫り圧倒的なまでに頭上 に立ちはだかった。 そのとき、 私はこの山をいかに私 が愛しているかを悟った。 それと同時に、 この山はこ れっぽっちも私のことを気にかけていないことをも 悟ったのだった。 最後の谷は暗さと寒さ、 そして疲労困憊のなかでむ かえることとなった。 北鎌平というキャンプの跡が残 るフラットな地形に着く。 遠くに槍ヶ岳のピラミッド を示す壊れたブロックを発見し、 急いでそこに向かっ た。 南側にトラバースし、 そこから50メートルの簡単 なクライミングをおこなう。 そこに続いてふたつチム ニーがあった。 そこには錆びて使用できない時代物の ピトンが打ち込まれてあった。 南のチムニーは太陽の 光に照らされていた。 だが重装備で単独行の私がそこ をぶら下がって通過しなければならない。 しぶしぶ私 は日陰の北側のチムニーに向かった。 そこには錆びた ピトンにくたびれたロープが垂れ下がっていた。 それはどうも怪しかったが、 私が排除するわけには いかない。 とにかくもっと簡単に頂上の尾根へと向か えるラインを探った。 ここだと、 私はオーバーハング している岩のクラックにナッツを挿んだ。 「確信はな いけど」 と私は思った。 尾根を右に回り込むと傾斜したクラックがあった。 拳をそこへ深く挿入し、 左足で青い岩の後方にある確 実な位置へと飛びついた。 左手を高く伸ばして三本の 指でわずかな手がかりを掴んだ。 敏捷に、 かつ的確に SUMMER 2 0 1 3 31 Kitakama The southern chimney gleamed in the sun, but with my pack on and climbing solo, I couldn’t wedge my way up without perilously overhanging the valley below. Reluctantly, I returned to the sunless north chimney, noting the rotting rope that draped down from a rusting piton at the top. The pack again proved problematic, but I was loathed to remove it. I spied a better line to the right and quickly squeezed my way up to the ledge at the top. Here, though, the rock rose again to a severe overhang. A single metal nut was wedged into a crack just above head height. “Surely not this way,” I thought. I rounded a corner of the ledge to the right and found a series of diagonally sloping cracks. My fist dug deep and tight into the first, my left foot hopping to a solid placement behind a blue fin of rock. Reaching high, my left hand found a thin hold for the pads of three fingers. A quick, coordinated pull and my right foot was neatly jammed high in the crack. With one more push I was there, clambering onto the summit, much to the surprise of the two old ladies who reposed there. Too dehydrated and exhausted to speak, I could only motion in the general direction of the ridge when they asked where I had come from. They shrieked and jabbered while peering over the edge, then quickly pulling back and gripping their fists. At the little shrine on the summit, I pulled off my helmet and thanked the gods. The mountains were arrayed in every direction, crystal clear in the cold air, from Fuji in the south to Tsurugi north. I’d survived Kitakama. ✤ C M Y CM MY CY CMY 引き寄せた右足を高い位置のクラックへ押し込む。 頂 上へ這うように、 確実にゆっくりと自分自身を押し上 げる。 頂上に着くと、 そこで休んでいた年輩の女性ふたり が驚いたように私を見つめた。 脱水症状で話すのも やっとだった私は、 彼女たちの問いには答えずに黙っ て登ってきた尾根を指し示した。 彼女たちはその尾根 を見下ろすと悲鳴を上げ、 なにか口走り両手を強く握 りしめた。 頂上に据えられた小さな祠の前で私はヘルメット を脱ぎ、 神に感謝した。 四方から連なる山々の景色と冷たく清涼な空気、 南 には富士山、 そして北にそびえる剣岳を望むことがで きた。 私はついにキタカマを完登した。 ✤ K 32 SUMMER 2 0 1 3 Exotissimo o ers a wide range of adventure options that explore the brilliant landscapes and rich cultures of Asia. Take in the sights, interact with the locals, and gain a deeper appreciation for these amazing destinations. A few inspirations..... Cycle through the lush rice elds of Bali....or explore Myanmar’s countryside on a ride from Mandalay to Bagan Trek through the emerald hills of Vietnam’s Sapa region and visit local markets Hike through the dense jungles around Thailand’s Chiang Mai, and sail down the Taeng River on a bamboo raft VIETNAM – THAILAND – CAMBODIA – LAOS – MYANMAR – INDONESIA – JAPAN – CHINA www.exotissimo.com SUMMER 2 0 1 3 33 Fire & Water By Lee Dobson When locals in Kansai head to the beaches and the mountains for a little summer respite, many find themselves in Wakayama Prefecture. With mild weather year-round, a long coastline providing ample fishing and diving spots, and mountains galore, Osakaâ€™s southern neighbor offers ways-a-plenty to hit the outdoors and soak up some culture. Rafting spots and hot springs also dot the landscape. 34 SUMMER 2 0 1 3 SUMMER 2 0 1 3 35 36 SUMMER 2 0 1 3 Fire & Water T oday’s journey takes us to the Kii mountain range, which makes up for a major part of Wakayama’s mass, and is home to some of Japan’s most significant shrines and pilgrimage routes. Their importance was recognized in July of 2004, when UNESCO designated the sites of Mt. Koya (Koya-san) and Kumano (Kumano Sanzen – Three Grand Shrines Kumano), along with the connecting trails (Koyasan Choishimichi and Kumano Kodo pilgrimage routes) as World Heritage sites. Kumano Nachi-Taisha (shrine) located in NachiKatsuura-cho is one of the three grand shrines of Kumano; the others being Kumano Hongu-Taisha and Kumano Hayatama-Taisha. Kumano Nachi-Taisha includes the 133-meter high Nachi Falls (Nachi-no-Otaki), home to the spirit Hiryū Gongen who is worshipped at the shrine. An interesting aside; Wakayama produces more fruit such as Japanese apricots, persimmons and mandarins, than anywhere else in Japan. In July, when summer temperatures begin to soar and the heat becomes unbearable, the falls and the surrounding evergreens offer a place to cool your heels. One of the scenes to greet your eyes is that of the granite steps, plunging down among the tall pines that line both sides of the path. As your eyes adjust to the dimness of the forest, you will also appreciate the silence and, for just a moment, you’ll lose yourself in time. Make your way farther down the path, and silence gives way to the sound of water spiraling down the tall rock face at a rate of one ton per second. The silence becomes a roar. 2004 7 133 7 1 1 7 14 12 12 50kg Nachi no Himatsuri Each year on July 14, spectators and worshipers flock from all over Japan to watch the spectacle of the Nachi Fire Festival. Twelve vermilion mikoshi (portable shrines), six meters tall and decorated with Japanese fans and mirrors, start the day at the shrine before being brought down to the falls in the afternoon. A large pine torch, weighing 50 kilograms, accompanies each shrine. The torches represent the 12 deities living in the Kumano area. In the early afternoon a great cry goes up and echoes throughout the forest. The torches are lit, and the bearers begin carrying them up the stairs and down again in ever broadening circles. With each loop, they make their way farther up the path before running back down again. As the procession continues, the pace and the frenzy increase, and the bearers begin to move the torches around in wild circles. Finally the procession of mikoshi meets the torches and the flames are used to purify them. At this point the pace is frantic, and the torches are waved over the heads of the onlookers as the motion begins to concentrate in a small area in front of the falls. Finally things come to a standstill. A ritualistic dance is performed in front of the falls, prayers are offered to the gods, and it is over just as quickly as it began. It is a dynamic festival and well worth seeing. SUMMER 2 0 1 3 37 Fire & Water Traditional Log Rafting Another way to beat the heat in Wakayama is to enjoy the 600-year-old tradition of log rafting on the Kumano River. This is a one-of-a-kind experience in Japan and is unique to Kitayama Village. Logging was once prevalent here and, after being felled from nearby forests, the lumber was assembled into long log rafts and ridden down to the mouth of the river to Shingu on the coast. Rafts are piloted by three oarsmen, two at the front and one at the rear, who use their long, narrow-bladed oars to prevent the logs from hitting rocks while staying on track. The logs are ridden standing up and, while it looks a little hairy, it is suitable for kids as well. There are plenty of stretches where you are invited to sit down and dip your feet in calm and cool waters. To hit both requires at least a two-day trip, and I recommend staying at the Okutoro Park resort which has bungalows and space for camping. You can book tickets for the log rafting there, and a bus will pick you up and drop you off after the river journey. There is a hot spring there along with a store to pick up local goodies such as honey and local lemon specialties. The prices are reasonable, and the park also serves as the local stop for buses running from JR Kumano Station to Komatsu. The park is right on the river, so you can fish if you feel inclined or just enjoy the view. âœ¤ 600 2 JR âœ¤ 38 SUMMER 2 0 1 3 SUMMER 2 0 1 3 39 Fire & Water GETTING THERE A regular bus runs from Katsuura Station and Nachi Station, directly to Nachisan. From here you can walk to the falls in about 10 minutes. For details on bus timetables for both locations please refer to the Web site: www.tb-kumanao.jp/ en/transport/bus/#localtimetables WEB CONNECTION Nachi Fire Festival: www.jnto.go.jp/eng/location/spot/festival/nachinohi.html Kumano: www.tb-kumano.jp/en/ Kitayama and Okutoro Park: www.vill.kitayama.wakayama.jp 10 www.tb-kumano.jp/access/ Kumano: www.tb-kumano.jp Kitayama and Okutoro Park: www.vill.kitayama.wakayama.jp 40 SUMMER 2 0 1 3 SUMMER 2 0 1 3 41 THE KUTAI U P N E T By Bill R oss OF 、 いう名の ラリーマンたち と 隊 覆 転 ゃないサ じ ー ツ フ n, yet d brethre e gray-suit like their rs rder. u a o h h n s e lay ev tireles p rk d o n a w y rd e ha Th rld work larymen. ising wo erage sa rt v e a v r d u a o y ’s ot an utai are n en of Jap f Tenpuk e mad m o s e rs h e T b . s m d e en 15 The 15 m tereotype ere the s h w s t’ a th 42 SUMMER 2 0 1 3 T ake a moment to consider the plight of the Japanese salaryman. Long hours in soulless offices; the surrender of self to a commitment to the company; a slow progression up the corporate escalator; accepting golf as the amusement of choice (especially if it’s a smooth ride up the escalator), which inevitably leads to phantom clubswinging on train platforms — or even while still riding the train. After decades of toiling for the greater good, retirement earns him a return to a house he hardly knows and no particular hobbies or interests on which to fall back. This is, of course, a stereotype, but if you spend any time in Japan’s major cities, you have known this creature well, or perhaps you have become one yourself. Then there is Tenpukutai™. The name roughly translates to “Capsizing Crew,” an alliterative to the original, and tells what they like to do — get outside and paddle and flip over some boats. All 15 members are salarymen. “It was just me and a few friends at Dentsu when I started it 25 years ago,” says Tenpukutai taicho (leader) Ryo Honda. “We didn’t know a thing about paddling, but we thought it sounded like fun, so we decided to give it a try. “We started paddling in jeans,” he laughs, “and carried our stuff in garbage bags. Later, we found out about dry bags, we got more experienced, and we started to get more ambitious.” Ambitious, and also — for a bunch of salarymen — unexpectedly quirky. Over the past 25 years, Honda says, the group has run some 50 rivers in Japan and abroad. Tenpukutai has ventured to Alaska, Canada, the Amazon, Kamchatka, Mongolia, New Zealand and Madagascar. “We’ve done some of the same rivers in Japan, but it’s a Tenpukutai rule that we never go down the same river twice the same way,” he explains. “Groups usually go to a river with which they are familiar, but we always try to go somewhere new. If it’s a place we’ve been before, we’ll start from a different place or do it in a different style. I doubt if there’s any other group quite like us in Japan.” Yuzo “Mario” Nishihashi, one of the founding members, agrees. “We have got to be one of the craziest, worst kayaking groups in Japan,” he says with what can only be called a giggle. “We’ve done a lot of stuff that should have gotten somebody killed. We didn’t really know about ocean currents until we tried to cross the 45 kilometers or so from Honshu to Sado Island, but we learned quickly. “We like bakanakoto (stupid things),” he continues, “like playing too much, drinking too much, eating too much, night boating. We’re trying to do something to make an un-genki Japan a lot more genki. Nothing as big as Yuichiro Miura climbing Everest; we just want to do 15 25 45km 25 50 < un-genki? Maybe its unto-gennki> Capsizing Crew SUMMER 2 0 1 3 43 what most people won’t.” They do take a lot of pride in their crashes, but more about that later. The group’s rules, available at their Web site (www.tenpukutai.com) are likewise a bit eccentric. • The group size is limited to 15 people. • Women are not allowed. • Golfers will be excommunicated. • Seconds on ramen are strictly forbidden. Although many people have tried to enter the Tenpukutai ranks, it’s no easy task since the number of members doesn’t change. “Lots of people want to join, but 15 is the best on a river,” Honda says. “More than that and it just gets too stressful. As far as women…yes, we’re a discriminatory organization,” he says with a laugh. “Ninety percent of the members are married, and we’re all kind of like those awkward, un-sporty kids who happened to grow up.” They hint that most women probably wouldn’t want to hang out with these big boys anyway. “Golf is an unnatural way to have fun,” he says. “Several of the members are salespeople, so of course they get invited to play golf. They used to say, ‘I’m in Tenpukutai, so I can’t,’ but now, at least at Dentsu, the others have just given up, and say, ‘Oh, yeah, he’s Tenpukutai, so shoganai!’” It’s not clear how the ramen restriction came about, but they do seem to eat well otherwise on their forays into the wild. The adventures aren’t only on rivers. “We’re a sogo autodoa group,” Honda says. That translates roughly to “a comprehensive outdoor organization.” “Basically we go out about five times a year; it's pretty much wherever I feel like going,” he laughs. The group climbs up mountains and canyons, and on bicycles. The common theme seems to be finding ways to do things the hard way. “I was in the mountain climbing club in college,” Honda says, “but in Tenpukutai we don’t do normal climbing.” Instead they might carry their bikes with them, as they did to the top of Mt. Fuji, before riding down. “We’ve done that on lots of peaks,” Honda says with some delight. They also have taken on several challenges on the humble mamachari — the simple bicycles used by urban women to deliver kids and pick up groceries. One such multiple-stage trip followed the sacred Buddhist pilgrimage route on Shikoku Island. The quirky adventure took one year covering 1,200 kilometers, on these onespeed bikes, while wearing the conical straw hats and (www.tenpukutai.com) • • • • 15 1 15 comprehensive outdoor organization 9 5 a 1,200km 44 SUMMER 2 0 1 3 THE TENPUK UTA I 転覆隊と フツーじ いう名の、 ゃないサ ラリーマ OF ンたち white vests of devoted pilgrims. They also bicycled in costume and on mamachari, in the heat of summer from Tokyo to the famous Nebuta Matsuri in Aomori. This year has seen the start of a threeyear mamachari adventure, again in stages, on the Oku no Hosomichi, the route made famous by the celebrated poet Matsuo Basho in the “Narrow Road to the Deep North.” We’re all salarymen, so time is limited,” says Nishihashi, also a Dentsu man. “We can only go out for a few nights at a time, so we can cover about 300 kilometers on each trip. Three years might be a bit overly ambitious,” he jokes. Honda no longer works at Dentsu, Japan’s largest ad agency, having gone full-time freelance a few years ago. About half the current members are from Dentsu, half from elsewhere, although there still is an advertising connection for most. Honda has recently been doing more work on photography, manga and books, such as his “Mamachari wo Henro 1,200 km.” (1,200-Kilometer Pilgrimage by Mamachari), chronicling the Shikoku expedition. With outdoor magazine Be-Pal (Shogakukan), he has also produced an outdoor cookbook, “Tenpukutai Takibi Ryori” (Tenpukutai Campfire Cooking). The book gives some insight into the group. The recipes are excellent and perfect for anyone who enjoys outdoor cooking, but while there are beautiful photos of the finished dishes, the main photos are always of a boat in some form of distress — overturned, with the paddler in the water; kayaks wrapped around rocks, broken, never to float down the river again. The faces are smiling in defeat — wet, shivering, holding battered bits of boat, and loving it. A DVD of the group, also produced with Be-Pal, shows it even more vividly. These guys are far from the best paddlers in the world. They take inordinate pleasure in recalling tales of being attacked by hordes of mosquitoes, packs of half-wild South American dogs or just barely getting up the rocks of a backwater canyon. Maybe that’s the whole idea. The group’s enthusiasm is contagious and inviting, even though no one has much chance at becoming a Tenpukutai member. Their books and videos are fun to watch and clever (they are ad men, after all). It doesn’t feel exclusionary — if anything, it makes you think, “Hey, I could do that too.” Hopefully people pick up on the message, and more salarymen might get out of the city, into the wild and gleefully throw themselves into some crazy adventure. ✤ 300km 3 DVD Be-Pal 1,200km Be-Pal ✤ SUMMER 2 0 1 3 45 THE TENPUK UTA I 転覆隊と フツーじ いう名の、 ゃないサ ラリーマ OF ンたち Tenpukutai Timeline 1988 1989 1990 1991 1992 1993 1994 1995 1996 1997 1998 1999 2000 2001 2002 2003 2004 2005 2006 2007 2008 2009 2010 2011 2012 2013 Tenpukutai is born on the Shinano River in Nagano yukon River canoe in Canada Nagara River canoe in Gifu Shimanto River canoe in Kochi yoshino River (Oboke & Koboke canyons) canoe in Shikoku Kitayama River canoe in Wakayama (accident occurred) Attempted to cross the straight to Sado Island in Niigata Canoed around Shiretoko Peninsula in Hokkaido Mountain-biked down Mt. Fuji Bistraya River in Kamchatka Furen River canoe in Hokkaido Teslin River canoe in Canada Circumnavigation by canoe of Iriomote Island in Okinawa while a typhoon was approaching Shotover River and Clarence River canoe in New Zealand Canoe upper reaches of the Amazon River Mt. Myogi rock climbing in Gunma Eg River canoe in Mongolia Taba River gorge and shower climbing in yamanashi Shikoku Pilgrimage on mamachari Joined the Tokyo Bay Fireworks Festival guerilla-style by canoe Climbed Mt. Roraima in Guiana Shield, South America Lily River canoe in Madagascar Akan River canoe in Hokkaido Crossing Iriomote Jungle and a half circumnavigation by canoe Crossed New Zealand by foot, bicycle and canoe Traveled across yakushima on foot 46 SUMMER 2 0 1 3 H S A D R O I R Y R R E A L W L A ) G O anagawa (K T O esort R H P 15-16 at Sagamiko NEXT IOR DASH! RR 3 June WA u o Doits rmation at y k o T t o A jp and inf Tickets rdash. o i r r a www.w 201 iba) , 8 2 7 July 2 Mura (Ch Story & Rock photos by Tim Down Unde Whether you enjoy a leisurely afternoon snorkel with the family or go deep into one of the famous dive sites, there’s plenty to explore beneath Micronesia’s ‘Big Island.’ 48 SUMMER 2 0 1 3 Island Beat Japan Islandsâ€“Micronesia er in Guam SUMMER 2 0 1 3 49 lear, blue and deep, Blue Hole, located off central Guam, is the island’s most popular dive site. Divers float down a buoy line to a depth of 60 feet where a giant hole in the upper reef appears. Drop into the hole and an eerie blue light glows beneath you as you float in a vertical shaft to a depth of more than 100 feet. Suddenly a huge natural window appears. Divers dip under this archway, and there it is, the open reef. Whale sharks and sailfish often cruise by, along with big dogtooth tuna. The wall is full of golden and square spot anthias. It is quite a thrill to come to the edge of narcosis and then swim back up the wall into the shallows again. One can easily see why this dive is one of the western Pacific’s top novelty dives. Guam has the richest coral reef marine environment of any United States territory or state. More than 700 fish species and nearly 400 kinds of corals thrive, creating great biodiversity. The island, located in western Microsia, has a historic past that includes shipwrecks and other remnants of WWI, WWII and even the gold bearing Manila Galleon trading days. Guam’s topography features volcanic regions in the south and limestone forest to the north. This geologic C combination extends undersea providing steep, dramatic dropoffs and even a barrier reef island in the south called Cocos Island. The coastal areas are pocked with protected bays and coves divers don’t even need a boat to enjoy. The north provides coral reef flats, caves and swim-throughs. Spoiled with consistently warm and clear water, Guam divers enjoy easy year-round diving. Easily the largest island in Micronesia, Guam is also the most developed, and it offers something for everyone. Major hotels, great restaurants, trendy beach bars and beautiful natural attractions such as waterfalls and secluded beaches all make it a great destination for everyone, whether you are a diver or just looking for a beach holiday. Guam is by far one of the safest dive destinations in the world as well. It has U.S. Coast Guard and Navy-patrolled waters, and dive boats are all certified through the Coast Guard. The boats carry oxygen and safety equipment and there are Navy and civilian recompression chambers for treatment of any possible diving accident on island. Orote Peninsula and Agat Bay The Orote Peninsula is one of the most popular dive SUMMER regions on Guam, as it offers a protected bay accessible to divers most of the year. In addition, the area is known for its water clarity. Facing the open Philippine Sea, the reefs here drop off abruptly to great depths. The dive site is great for all levels. The variety of fish and healthy coral gardens make it a popular place to do photography and marine observation. There are also good reefs for night diving. The Blue Hole, also in this area, has flashlight fish that light up the walls at night like fireflies. Just down the peninsula from the Blue Hole is the Shark Pit. This is the site of WWII military dumping. The dive site is actually a big natural stone coral-covered pinnacle that comes to within 10 to 15 feet of the surface. Divers enter at the top of the pinnacle and descend along its sides. Many war artifacts, such as tracked vehicles, can be found here. But the fish life is also prolific with pyramid butterfly schools and even the occasional ornate ghost pipefish in the sea fans. The military debris is still recognizable and not too overgrown. The remnants of vehicles have become home to fish and invertebrates. Below the large rock, in deeper water, are current-fed sea whips that are bright red when lit by a light. 50 2 0 1 3 Island Beat BEyOND TUMON Visitors spend most of their time in the Tumon area, but Guam features limestone forests in the north and rolling low mountains in the south. Spend a day exploring the lush jungles, waterfalls and secluded bays away from the tourist epicenter. People are generally friendly and each village is unique. Here are five places you won t want to miss. 1. Two Lover s Point: Although quite touristy, the view of Tumon from the lofty platform of this legendary Guam cliff is well worth the short drive. Look straight down on Guam s beautiful spur-and-groove reefs. 2. Ritidian Nature Preserve: Jungle hikes, sandy beaches and a great little nature center make this federal preserve well worth a day trip. On a clear day, you can see Rota from the overlook. 3. Cocos Island: Guam has its own barrier reef island in the south covered in coconut trees and swarming with birds and flowers. Enjoy a day on the island and see a koko, an endemic Guam bird. 4. Tarzan Falls: Get out your hiking shoes and be sure to wear a swimsuit underneath your shorts. Located in the center of the island, the hike through the hills ends at a river and a nice, cooling falls. Look for wild shrimp in the stream. 5. Sella Bay/Cetti Bay: Park at the Sella Bay overlook and follow the trail down through the hills to a historic Spanish bridge. When it is calm, one can snorkel on the reefs and walk along the beach to the next bay, which is Cetti Bay. Bring plenty of water for both Tarzan Falls and the bays, as these aren t short hikes and they are in the tropical sun. Any time you are driving around Guam s east coast, there are two landmarks you don t want to miss. Jeff s Pirate s Cove in Ipan is famous for its burgers and beachside setting. It has a great museum that is free and documents Guam s lost war Japanese straggler Shoichi Yokoi. McKraut s in Malojloj is owned by a long-time Guam resident originally from Germany. The vast beer selection of imports (bottles and on draft) is legendary, and the authentic German food is reasonably priced, delicious and filling (try the ham hocks and kraut). Japan Islandsâ€“Micronesia 1. Two Lover s Point 60 100 2. 3. 4. 5. / 700 400 Malojloj SUMMER 2 0 1 3 51 At the top of the Pit it is shallow enough to decompress. Look for hawkfish in the small table corals that thrive here. Then there’s Hap’s Reef. Hap’s has long been the favored reef of Guam fish watchers. Just right for a third dive, this 25-to-50-foot deep, loaf-shaped reef supports a large variety of Micronesian fish species. Sea anemones can be found on the top of the reef, and there are different clownfish species in the various anemones. Look for stonefish and some cryptic feeders to be camouflaged on the reeftop and in its many cracks. There are some very large lionfish at Hap’s that also make good photo subjects. Investigating the sand and reef flats can also turn up nudibranchs, anemone crabs and lots of other colorful subjects. Whitetip reef sharks sometimes sleep on the west side. There are sometimes spinner dolphins in the vicinity as well. Snorkelers’ Delight Very few islands can boast a marine preserve right off a main tourist beach. Yet the Fish Eye Marine Park in Piti Village is incredibly accessible and offers guided snorkeling tours. This walk-in site is one of Guam’s marine preserves and has more than 200 fish species as it is an incubator for fish and invertebrates. Divers can see the healthy reef on the south side of the undersea observatory, feed the fish and even snorkel around the observatory itself. There are also intro dives here, and it is great for experienced photographers who want to “shoot” fish. Another marine preserve with lots of fish is at Ypao Beach, one of Guam’s favorite beach parks, at the south end of Tumon Bay. The walk-in snorkel spot features clear waters, brilliant white sand and many corals and fishes found in shallow water. It is set next to one of Guam’s nicest public parks where you can enjoy a beachside lunch before or after snorkeling. There is an inshore current here and, if the current is strong, snorkelers can do a drift along the reeftop and then just walk back up the beach when finished with this free ride from nature. Further adrift, Guam also has war shipwrecks in the harbor, cascading reefs on the outer slopes and even some offshore deep reefs for adventurous divers. It is one of the Pacific’s best dive holiday destinations and is just a few hours from Japan so reasonable packages are easy to find. SUMMER Diving Practicalities Diving on Guam is super easy. There are many walk-in reef dives, a wide choice of boat dive sites and virtually no swells except after storms. The seas are perfect about 95 percent of the time for diving. Most dive sites are a 10-to-20-minute ride by boat. The calmer months are May through October as trade winds normally start in November or early December and run through April. Divers can travel light, since Guam has everything a diver needs for rental. There are also some very good scuba equipment deals to be had at various Guam dive shops. Guam also offers all levels of instruction, from beginning Open Water and one-day Resort Experience courses through advanced instructor training. Technical diving is also taught on Guam with deep wreck venues for in-water training on scuba and rebreather. Guam is tropical and almost always sunny, so bring protective clothing and brimmed hat and lots of sunscreen. ✤ 52 2 0 1 3 Island Beat Japan Islandsâ€“Micronesia SUNSET SPOTS At the end of a diving or exploration day on Guam, where are the best places to have a drink and watch the tropical sunset? Some local favorites: Jan Z s is located at the harbor in southern Agat; enjoy some of the famous fresh sashimi as the sun goes down over Agat Bay. The name says it all. The Sunset Bar & Grill, on the beach in Asan Village, has great smoked meat sandwiches and Guam s best pizza. The bar and al fresco restaurant at the Santa Fe Hotel looks out at Alupang Island and upon the western sky. This may be the best sunset spot on Guam. The Beach is located at the secluded north end of Tumon Bay s Gun Beach. The lively beach bar is also a popular beach volleyball venue, and the happy hour features the incredible voice of singer Brandi and other local talents. Two Lover s Point only serves sodas, but if you visit during the day, your ticket is good all day, even for sunset. Watch the sun go down 300+ feet above sea level and wait after the sunset as the western sky turns shades of orange and fuscia. 10 15 3 25 50 Jan Z s Sunset Bar & Grill 95 10 20 11 12 5 4 10 The Beach 1 Two Lover s Point 300 200 SUMMER âœ¤ 2 0 1 3 53 Island Beat Japan Islandsâ€“Micronesia GUAM ESSENTIALS GETTING THERE: Guam is served daily by major carriers from Japan, major cities in the Asian region and from the U.S. through Honolulu. Guam's main carrier is United. Other carriers include Japan Air Lines, Delta Airlines, Korean Air and Philippine Airlines. Domestic airlines also serve the neighboring islands. GETTING AROUND: Taxis can be quite pricy on Guam. It is best to rent a car. All of the major rental agencies are here. A valid U.S. or international license is required. THE DOLPHINS There are many daily iruka tours to Guam s bays to see dolphins. Guam's coastal waters are the home of pods of dolphins called spinners who use the island's shallow bays for a number of reasons. Lucky locals have even established a rapore with the animals and have had regular snorkeling sessions with them in the southern end of the island. The spinner dolphins cruise at speeds between five-to-seven miles an hour, with a maximum speed of up to 22 mph. So, if the dolphins slow down long enough to play with you, it is because they want to. It is this fact, among others, that makes a dolphin encounter on Guam a special experience. Unlike some Caribbean destinations, there are no trained dolphins on Guam with which to swim. All dolphin encounters are in-the-wild happenings. VISAS & ENTRy: U.S. citizens with a valid passport can stay as long as they want, but non-U.S. citizens need a visa to enter. There is a liberal visa waiver program that allows for up to 15day stays. Check the Guam Visitor s Bureau s Web site to see if your country participates. Web: www.visitguam.org CURRENCy: Guam uses the U.S. dollar, and major credit cards are accepted nearly everywhere. Banks exchange currency at a better rate than hotels. TIME: Guam is 10 hours ahead of GMT/UTC. When it is 7 p.m. in Japan, it is 8 p.m. in Guam. ELECTRICITy: Electricity is 110/120 volts, 60-cycle and the flat, two-pronged plug is used as in the USA. WEIGHTS & MEASURES: The imperial system of measurement is used. Air on scuba gauges is read in pounds and underwater depth is read in feet. JAL 15 Web http://www.visitguam.jp US 5 7 22 2 GMT/UTC 8 110/120 10 60Hz 7 54 SUMMER 2 0 1 3 Hafa Adai from the Hotel Santa Fe Guam our Try ous fam orro m “Charger” Bu Call +1-671-647-8855 for reservations www.hotelsantafeguam.com SUMMER 2 0 1 3 55 Paddling Okinawa’s Last Frontier Photos by Kiyotaka Kitajima Ocean athlete Tomoko Okazaki discovers the perfect way to explore Okinawa’s last frontier. 56 SUMMER 2 0 1 3 JAPAN TRAVELER: IRIOMOTE have been around the world in search of waves and wind, but the nature and beauty of Iriomote always fascinates me. When I return to Japan from my home in Maui, I usually visit the pristine island. In early spring, when snow is still falling on Honshu and Hokkaido, it’s the start of the beach season in the Yaeyama Islands, Japan’s southernmost inhabited islands. Check a map, and you’ll see just how close they are to Taiwan. The peak season for tourists here is July and August, yet it stays warm through November, and even in winter the temperature is pleasant. Iriomote is the largest of the Yaeyama islands, yet it has the fewest roads. It’s also the rainiest, so the semi-tropical vegetation is dense and largely untouched, making it one of Japan’s last true frontiers. In fact, nearly 90 percent of the island is wild jungle, home to many unusual plants and animals, including endemic species such as the Iriomote wildcat. The mangrove forests are the largest in Japan and it has the largest coral reef in Japan, stretching 20 km. long and 15 km. wide. When the tide goes down, groups of older women forage in the ocean. If you call out to them, these friendly oba-san will show you what they are gathering and share how it is used, such as the medicinal value of some plants, even those that look like simple weeds. Iriomote’s wild interior and beautiful sea are a playground for outdoor lovers. Diving, fishing, sea kayaking, snorkeling, trekking, waterfall climbing…it’s all here. The diving and snorkeling in the spectacular reefs surrounding the island are particularly special. If you swim just 30 meters from the port, you enter the rich underwater world of Ryugu-jo, the legendary Palace of the Dragon King. I 3 7 8 11 90 20km 15km 30 SUP Get Up, Stand Up! Stand-up paddle boarding (SUP), has become increasingly popular. If you’ve never tried it, you stand on what looks like a large surfboard using a long paddle to maneuver. I first tried SUP back home in Maui. A bunch of my friends started doing it after watching big-wave surfer Laird Hamilton, who really brought it to the sporting world. The boards still needed a lot of improvement in their designs; they were heavy and hard to move, but they allowed you to escape crowded surf breaks and sneak out and play in more distant waves even in a light wind when the surf was down. A paddleboard gives you access to inlets you otherwise couldn’t get to. You can even paddle up a river like a salmon returning to its home. The beauty of SUP is that it’s a sport anyone can enjoy, especially if you find a board that fits you. Hardcore surfers might go out after big waves, while children can enjoy cruising little ones with their parents, maybe even with the family dog on board. Hollywood celebrities are apparently turning to SUP for exercise, while others have used them on serious adventures from island-to-island paddles, even crossing the Atlantic. Visitors to Iriomote who try SUP quickly realize it’s a paddleboard paradise. If you have an adventurous spirit, there are many otherwise inaccessible beaches and rivers to explore. You can even go fishing or snorkeling from your SUP. SUMMER SUP 2 0 1 3 57 Mangrove Cruising Japan’s largest mangrove forest is impressive to see from a boat in the distance, but you get a much different perspective when paddling up close. Gliding up a mangrove-lined river, you’ll find the trees block the wind, making the water surface flat and smooth. Paddling here in the light of the early morning is also a magical sensation. The scenery is exotic and always changing. It’s also great exercise, using your core abdominals and legs. Paddling up Iriomote’s long, winding Urauchi River is a great way to practice your SUP technique, and it’s a good training ground for athletes. Snorkeling Snorkeling is easier and more fun when you have an SUP to get to a good spot. The standing position provides a great vantage point for seeing into the water so the colorful corals—like fields of flowers—and fish can easily be seen while paddling along. With snorkeling gear ready, you can jump in anytime and use the SUP as a floating platform and leisurely enjoy a day in the ocean. It's a moment-by-moment, dynamic change and one that, no matter how many times you see it, makes you stop and give thanks. The winds usually quiet down the moment twilight arrives and, paddling alone on a calm sea, you feel completely at peace. It’s nice to see more locals enjoying these special times of the day on the SUPs, before or after work. Surfing To be honest, Iriomote is not blessed with great surfing except when a typhoon passes by or a strong north wind blows. This is when local surfers get on boats and head out to the outer reef and find a good spot. The reef protects the area closer to the shore, so the waves don't break — even if they do, they’re quite small. The SUP has an advantage here because, although you can’t choose the wave quality, if you look off into the distance and the waves look like fun, you can paddle out to get them. A stand-up board can also be used to tow out a normal surfboard, anchor at a good spot and go surfing. Paddling Downwind Paddling in strong winds can be difficult as the surface of the water grows rough and the chance of being swept off your board increases. Yet, if you go with the flow, you can head from a leeward island to an island downwind quite easily. It’s a dynamic, open-ocean experience that can take you quite a distance. The Yaeyama Islands are scattered around at distances from three to 50 kilometers apart, meaning there are many different courses available depending on your skill, experience and the conditions. Iriomote Island has a particularly simple downwind course and, if there’s a north wind, an easy long-distance course is from the tiny coral-sand island of Barasu to Uehara Island. For a bit more of a challenge, start at Hatoma Island. If you are looking for a real adventure, wait for the kachiba, a wind from the south, and paddle the 50 kilometers from Hateruma Island to Iriomote, something many ocean athletes try. ✤ Fishing & Harvesting Mozuku Spring is the season for mozuku in the Yaeyama Islands. I love this slightly stringy, crunchy seaweed. I once dove down to gather some from the ocean floor, and I was surprised at how delicious it is compared to what you buy in stores. It’s common to see older women out gathering mozuku and, if you are on an SUP, you can paddle a little farther out to where sandbars — natural mozuku fields — appear during low tide. There’s usually no one else out there, so you can take your time. When gathering mozuku, it is important to pull up the plant and leave the roots. Keep your fingers above the roots when you pick mozuku; if the roots remain, there will be a new growth the following year. Locals prefer the slender, more delicate mozuku to larger plants, which are then lightly pickled in salt at room temperature for a few days, before being eaten. You’ll also find many other kinds of seaweed as well as shellfish. You can also put a fishing rod on your back while paddling and try a bit of trolling. The world-class coral reefs here attract countless fish. Sunrise and Sunset Cruises Iriomote is the westernmost point of Japan, so the sunrise comes later than the rest of the nation. As the sky begins to grow brighter, you slip into the ocean on your SUP and begin paddling out to the open sea; to the east, the giant red ball rises from the horizon, and the ocean begins to reflect a gradation of reds, oranges and yellows. 58 SUMMER 2 0 1 3 JAPAN TRAVELER: IRIOMOTE SUP GT 3km 50km 50 km ✤ SUMMER 2 0 1 3 59 JAPAN TRAVELER: IRIOMOTE TRAVELER TIPS SUP GUIDE: To get the most out of standup paddling in the fantastic natural world of Iriomote, particularly in the changing day-to-day conditions, a local guide is the way to go. Motoyuki Tokuoka at Waterman is an experienced guide who can create a fun, safe course depending on the weather and ocean conditions, and the guests abilities. Waterman is a comprehensive guide service that can also provide guided diving, stand-up paddling lessons and guided paddling and more. Web: http://i-waterman.com LAUGH LA GARDEN: This restaurant is operated by a surfer couple and is located just across from Uehara Port. Enjoy big, hearty servings of delicious dishes such as miso katsu teishoku and Okinawa favorite champuru . A wide selection of beverages are available and plenty of snacks to enjoy with a post-paddle cocktail. GETTING THERE: Regular ferries run from Ishigaki Island to Iriomote Island and take 35 to 40 minutes. There are direct flights to Ishigaki from some major cities in Japan or, if you are on a budget, jump on a low-cost carrier to Naha and then changes planes from Naha to Ishigaki. 40 SUP http://i-waterman.com 35 60 SUMMER 2 0 1 3 SUMMER 2 0 1 3 61 OJ CLASSIFIEDS ■ HOKKAIDO ■ HOKKAIDO ■ TOHOKU ■ SHINETSU • HOKURIKU ■ CHUBU • TOKAI ■ KANTO ■ KANSAI ■ HOKKAIDO ■ HOKKAIDO ■ HOKKAIDO Amazingly Dry Powder Snow ■ Fukushima Head to Hokkaido's last frontier ' ' www.facebook.com/HokkaidoPowderBelt ■ HOKKAIDO GRANDECO RESORT Aizu UraBandai HOTEL GRANDECO 0241-32-3200 www.grandeco.com 62 SUMMER 2 0 1 3 ■ CHUGOKU • SHIKOKU ■ KYUSHU • OKINAWA ■ OUTSIDE JAPAN ■ GEAR & SERVICES Lifestyle Directory ■ nagano ■ HOKKAIDO ■ NAGANO ■ nagano ■ nagano Summer HAKUBA IN - Exclusive range of luxury cabins, chalets and apartments - Great range of summer activitives - Car and bike rentals arranged y Heat Escape the Cit www.hakubaresort.com Hakuba Office : TEL (81) 0261 72 6663 firstname.lastname@example.org ■ nagano ■ NAGANO SKI JAPAN Season runs from December 3rd to May 6th (With Mother Natures Blessing) Come in December, March or April and beat the crowds and save some money! tel. 050 5532 6026 www.nozawaholidays.com SUMMER 2 0 1 3 63 OJ CLASSIFIEDS ■ nagano ■ HOKKAIDO ■ TOHOKU ■ SHINETSU • HOKURIKU ■ CHUBU • TOKAI ■ KANTO ■ KANSAI ■ GUNMA 360° Virtual tour! YOUR SKI-IN SKI-OUT GETAWAY • En-suite apartments by Nagasaka Gondola, Nozawa Onsen • Full kitchen, Wi-Fi, iPod dock, flat screen TV ` • Spectacular views from all apartments • Special rates for long www.nozawahospitality.com Brought to you by: ■ GUNMA ■ NIIGATA Refresh your Mind, Body & Soul Refreshing outdoor adventure experiences under 2 hours from Tokyo! 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KU res. ntu ve Ad SNOWBOARD WITH THE LOCALS Nagano ◊ Niseko Alaska ◊ USA ◊ Canada www.cloudlinetours.com 2 0 1 3 65 OJ CLASSIFIEDS ■ MICRONESIA ■ HOKKAIDO ■ TOHOKU ■ SHINETSU • HOKURIKU ■ CHUBU • TOKAI ■ KANTO ■ KANSAI ■ CHUGOKU • SHIKOKU ■ KYUSHU • OKINAWA ■ OUTSIDE JAPAN ■ GEAR & SERVICES ■ MICRONESIA ■ MICRONESIA ■ THAILAND KOH LANTA KRABI THAILAND email: email@example.com www.pimalai.com Discover Nature, Discover Yourself. ■ NEPAL ■ BALI 癒しの空間で... 波を心いく まで満喫... サーフィンガイド サーフィンコーチ ラグジャリーな宿泊施設 Feel at home... Enjoy the ride... ■ TAIWAN ■ GEAR & SERVICES Surf Guiding Surf Coaching Luxury Accommodation www.thechillhouse.com ■ GEAR & SERVICES Office Network & Computer Support Database Development Website Development VoIP Telephone Systems Online Marketing www.showcase-central.info www.emissary.co.jp | 03-3365-1978 66 SUMMER 2 0 1 3 Denver lnternational Airport Fly to Denver the gateway to your adventures in the Rocky Mountains. Effective April 1, 2013, United will launch nonstop service between Tokyo and Denver with Boeing 787 Dreamliner*. United is serving to 7 US Mainland cities from Japan, with convenient connections to 370 cities in six continents. *Subject to government approval.