Page 1

ISSUE 65

AUTUMN 2017

TRAVELER

EVERY SEASON IS A NEW ADVENTURE

MY TOHOKU JOURNEY Walking the Michinoku Coastal Trail

ZAN

Protecting Japan’s Last Dugongs

HIKING HEARTH TO HEARTH Nepal’s Gurung Heritage Trek

SPOTLIGHT ON KAMIKOCHI CHIBA SURFER HIROKA YOSHIKAWA CYCLING THE MACKEREL HIGHWAY FUJI INSPIRATION

FREE | ¥0


INSIDE ISSUE 65

AUTUMN 2017

26

FEATURES

My Tohoku Journey Walking the Michinoku Coastal Trail

12 Spotlight: Kamikochi 14 Following Fuji 22 Faces in the Crowd: Hiroka Yoshikawa 34 Zan: Japan’s Last Dugongs 40 Hiking Hearth to Hearth

INSIDE

4

6 . . . . From the Editor

17 . . . . Cycling Japan

46. . . . Traveler’s Journal: The Shinetsu Trail

8 . . . . Autumn Events

18 . . . . Local Brew

48. . . . Traveler’s Journal: The Jayoe Tour

10 . . . . Autumn Adventures

45. . . . Market Watch

50. . . . Travel & Adventure Directory

TRAVELER


FROM THE EDITOR

Published Seasonally

A

ny seasoned traveler will tell you the journey is nearly always more meaningful and memorable than the destination. Journeys seem to be the theme in our autumn issue as pleasant days and cool nights make for great traveling as waves of color creep down from the mountains, into canyons and through the foothills, providing a spectacular curtain call before bowing down to winter. In “My Tohoku Journey,” Robin Lewis travels along the Michinoku Coastal Trail documenting the beauty of the area and the resilience of the local people who have rebuilt their lives and communities since the Great Tohoku Earthquake in 2011. We have two “Traveler’s Journals” from contributors who have made a conscious detour from their professional lives to follow their hearts on journeys up mountains and around the globe. Tina Shang, a self-professed recovering lawyer, shares her through-hike of the Shinetsu Trail, while Matthew Galat pedals away from his expatriate home in China for a five to ten year adventure on a recumbent tricycle. Even our Market Watch columnist, Joan Bailey, takes a break from exploring Japan’s colorful farmer’s markets to lace up her hiking boots and walk the Gurung Heritage Trail in Nepal, while our cycling guru, Takashi Niwa, journeys along the ancient “Mackerel Highway” from Kyoto to the Japan Sea. Rie Miyoshi—our roving editor who seems to be having all the fun—travels to Shizuoka, where she meets a committed local, inspired by Mt. Fuji, to promote ecotourism in the area; she then heads to Onjuku, Chiba where local surfer Hiroka Yoshikawa has drawn inspiration from the nearby sea on her journey to become one of Japan’s top longboard riders. Finally, her journey ends down south, in search for Okinawa’s endangered zan (dugong). It’s been quite a journey since Outdoor Japan first launched the magazine back in October 2005 with the modest mission of promoting adventure travel and off-the-beaten-trail tourism in Japan. It’s been filled with amazing people and stories and we owe a healthy dose of gratitude to those who have contributed in many ways: from our readers, to everyone who has been a part of the Outdoor Japan team and to the great companies that have supported our mission over the years. A hearty thank you to all! As we begin to approach the 2019 Rugby World Cup and the 2020 Summer Olympics, many eyes will turn toward Japan. When they do, we’ll do our best to show Japan is more than Ginza shopping, Shibuya Crossing and beautiful Kyoto temples. Every season is a new adventure in Japan—keep sharing yours with us!

Publisher Outdoor Japan Media Editor-in-Chief Gardner Robinson Editor Bill Ross Media Coordinator Rie Miyoshi Designers Misa Matsui, Erik Svare, Tim Wilkinson Contributing Editors Rie Miyoshi, Shigeo Morishita Translators Yoshine Lee, Eri Nishikami, Lana Sofer Contributors Joan Bailey, Lee Dobson, Bryan Harrell, Neil Hartmann, Abdel Ibrahim, Pete Leong, Pauline Kitamura, Takashi Niwa, Tim Rock, Justin Stein, Bonnie Waycott

的地よりもむしろそこまでの道程が「旅」の思い出として心に残るということがある。それが「旅」の本質だということを旅人は 知っている。もちろん季節なんかはいつでもいい。 秋号はそんな「旅」がテーマです。夜になると肌寒いこの清涼な季節は、紅葉が山頂から山裾、そして渓谷へと日を追う

ごとに広がり、自然がもたらす壮大なカーテンとなって冬の訪れを感じさせます。 今号の記事ロビン・ルイスによる「私の東北紀行」は新設の山道「みちのく潮風トレイル」をたどる旅。2011 年に起こった東日本 大震災によって壊滅的な被害を受けたこの地域で、復興に立ち向かう人々との触れ合いや美しい北国の自然をレポートしています。さ らに「トラベラーズ・ジャーナル」としてふたつの寄稿文があります。過酷な本業から逃れて癒しを求めた山行と冒険旅行といったところ でしょうか。ティナ・シャンが弁護士という苦行のストレスからから逃れるように信越トレイルを登ったかと思ったら、マシュー・ガラット は中国に滞在中に 10 年もかけて行っていた三輪自転車の旅を寄稿してきました。 市場調査のコラムニスト、ジョアン・ベイリーは日本の多彩な農家の市場を視察していましたが、どうやら登山靴に履き替えてネ パールのグルン遺産まで足を伸ばしたようです。そうしているうちにサイクリング・グル(尊師)の呼び声高い丹羽隆志は京都から日本 海へとサバ街道を走破。さらに当編集部の元気ハツラツ編集者、三好利恵は相変わらずの行動力で静岡を訪問し、富士山を生かしたエ

Outdoor Japan Media 8782-2 Toyosato Nozawaonsen-mura Shimotakai-gun, Nagano-ken 389-2502

Sales & Marketing media@outdoorjapan.com Editorial editor@outdoorjapan.com

おんじゅく

コ・ツーリズムを献身的に実践する人々に会ったと思ったら、千葉の御宿へと瞬間移動。そこでは女性プロロングボーダーの吉川広夏 が海から受けたインスピレーションをもとに日本の No1 へと登りつめるまでの道のりをインタビュー。それで終わることなく彼女は最 南端の沖縄へひとっ飛びして希少生物ザン(ジュゴン)の取材をかたづけてきました。 さて、2005 年の 10 月に創刊した弊誌『アウトドア・ジャパン』は、これまで日本のマイナーな冒険旅行や人里離れたアウトドア への探索などにフォーカスをあててきました。創刊以来弊誌は、すばらしい人々が寄稿してきた記事よって支えられてきています。彼ら が経験してきたさまざまなストーリーは人々に勇気と感動を与えてきました。読者はもちろんのこと、この『アウトドア・ジャパン』に関わ

www.facebook/japantraveler www.twitter.com/outdoorjapan www.youtube.com/outdoorjapan www.instagram.com/outdoorjapan

り支えてきてくれたチーム全員にこの場を借りてあらためて感謝の意を表したいと思います。本当にありがとう。 これからのテーマとして、私たちは 2019 年のラグビーワールドカップと 2020 年の東京オリンピックに注目し、いまから準備を はじめたいと思っています。この二大イベントは、銀座のショッピングよりも、渋谷の交差点を歩くことよりも、京都のお寺を散策するこ とよりも興味深いものとなるのはたしかです。さあ、秋の紅葉がすばらしい日本のアウトドアへ、いっしょに出かけましょう!

—Gardner Robinson

AIRLINE PARTNERS

Traveler magazine is available at selected lounges, reservations counters and in-flight libraries with the following airline partners.

トラベラーマガジンは、空港ラウンジや予約カウンターや、右記航空会社インフライト・ライブラリーにてお読みいただけます。

Cover Photo: Kamikochi

6

TRAVELER

©2017 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 INC. Printed in Japan.

Photo: Gint Atkinson


n Events m u t Au

Takayama Matsuri Autumn Festival

Jidai Matsuri, Kyoto

Said to be one of Japan’s most beautiful festivals, this autumn celebration features 11 massive floats elaborately adorned with karakuri ningyo marionettes and motifs depicting Japan’s ancient culture in historic Takayama.

More than 2,000 people will parade in traditional Japanese garments through Kyoto, reflecting the region’s 1,200-year history. The procession starts from Kyoto Imperial Palace, traveling along Oike-dori to Heian Jingu Shrine. Special seats with English guidance are available for ¥3,500 from the Kyoto City Tourism Association by calling Tel: (075) 2131717 or visiting www.kyoto-magonote.jp/en.

Oct. 9-10 Sakurayama Hachiman Shrine, Gifu

Spartan Race Tokyo Nihonmatsu Lantern Festival This 300-year-old celebration is one of Japan’s three great lantern festivals. Nihonmatsu Shrine is spectacularly lit up for three nights with eight-meter lanterns and taiko drumming. Be sure to hike 1,700-meter Mt. Adatara, which opens up as a ski resort from mid-December. Oct. 4-6 Nihonmatsu Shrine, Fukushima www.nihonmatsu-kanko.jp

Ana Hachimangu Yabusame The ancient sport of yabusame (Japanese archery on horseback), originated in 1185 during the early Kamakura Period. Today, this tradition continues in the heart of Tokyo and is held in spring and autumn. Oct. 9 Sakurayama Hachiman Shrine, Tokyo

The Spartan Super is the middle distance course for this international adventure series. Participants cover 13 kilometers and more than 25 obstacles through rugged terrain during the event, which tests endurance and strength. Sagamiko Resort will host the race, with campsites, onsen and BBQ areas on site. Oct. 21 Sagamiko Resort Pleasure Forest, Kanagawa www.spartanrace.jp

Gibbon Nippon Open Watch the world’s top slackline athletes perform at the biggest slackline event in Japan. This national slakline championship has gained international recognition for attracting some of the biggest names in this fast-growing sport. Slacklining involves walking, balancing, bouncing and flipping on a 1” to 2” wide line. Only qualified competitors in the Japan Slackline Federation rankings or competitors invited from outside Japan can enter. Oct 21-22 Futakotamagawa, Tokyo www.gibbon.co.jp

Spartan Race Tokyo

8

TRAVELER

Oct. 22 Kyoto

Kobo Daishi 10K Trail Race Head to Shiraishi in the Seto Inland Sea for this annual run, which takes place on a section of an ancient Buddhist pilgrimage route on the island. Proceeds go towards maintaining the historical Shiraishi Pilgrimage Tra i l . Th e ra ce i s s p o n s o re d by M o o o o ! Bar, the place to find out about Shiraishi’s events, updates and accommodation, and costs ¥4,200 to enter (includes insurance). Runners and walkers welcome. Book at www.outdoorjapanadventures.com. Oct. 29 Shiraishi Island, Okayama

Oct .

21


Oct .

29

Kobo Daishi 10K Trail Race

Shirasagi-no Mai (White Heron Dance)

Yokonori Nippon Film Festival

Held at Asakusa’s famous Sensoji Temple, Shirasagi-no Mai is a ceremonial parade featuring eight dancers dressed as white herons to depict ancient stories from the Heian Period. This 1,000-year-old dance starts at Nakamise shopping street to Hozomon Gate and up to the steps of Sensoji where all the heron dancers bow before running inside.

Japan’s surf, skate and snow scene is celebrated at this week-long film festival dedicated to yokonori, literally translated as “sideways riding.” Showings are held in the Shonan surf town of Chigasaki. Admission is ¥1,500 and can be purchased online.

Nov. 3 Sensoji Temple, Tokyo

Tour De Nippon Onsen Rider The series’ last race of the year is an enduro MTB challenge. Held in the onsen town of Kitsuregawa—hence the name— the 3.1-kilometer race follows the Fiore Kitsuregawa. All finishers receive entry passes to the local onsen. Nov. 12 Kitsuregawa, Tochigi www.tour-de-nippon.jp

Nov. 18-24 Aeon Cinema Chigasaki, Kanagawa www.yoko-nori.jp

Fall Evening Illumination View kouyou (leaves changing color) under the night sky at Rikugien Gardens. Built during the Edo period, this daimyo teien belonged to a feudal lord and remains a popular destination to view autumn foliage. Nov. 19 - Dec. 7 Rikugien Gardens, Tokyo

Nov .

18-2 4

Yokonori Nippon Film Festival

AUTUMN 2017

9


outdoor japan

s e r u t n e v d A Autumn Every season is a new adventure!

Autumn is the golden season for exploring Japan. The weather is cool and clear and the mountains, foothills and forests are ablaze in color. Check out some tour highlights from Outdoor Japan Adventures.

1

Chichibu Hiking

2

Kids English Camp in Tsunan

Hike in one of the most beautiful gorges in the Kanto region with Kanto Adventures. The Nishizawa Keikoku in Chichibu-Tama-Kai National Park is famous for the five-tiered Nanatsugama-Godan Waterfall. Enjoy a riverside lunch and bask in the forest’s majestic fall colors (best viewed after Oct. 10). After the four-hour hike, optional wine tasting at Katsunuma Wine Cave or a soak in an onsen is available. Tour participants are also eligible for a discounted B&B stay at Hiker’s B&B run by Kanto Adventures.

1

It’s hard to find an authentic camping experience for kids in Japan. Luckily English Adventure hosts a 100% English-only camp experience for children from kindergarten to middle school. Nestled in the mountains of Tsunan in Niigata Prefecture, this three-day camp emphasizes English speaking skills, personal development and growth. Fun camp activities include crafts, camp games, hiking and campfires. Three different programs are catered for campers’ language needs: the Immersion Program for native English speakers, returnees and international school students, the Challenge Program for beginner speakers and the Challenge Plus for intermediate speakers. During the winter, there are four-day ski camps. Camp fee includes round-trip transportation from Tokyo, lodging, meals, activity fees and insurance.

2

10

TRAVELER

www.outdoorjapanadventures.com


3

Hit the Trails in Hakuba

4

Cycle Japan’s Coastlines

H a k u b a i s a m e cc a fo r h i k i n g a n d mountain biking. Evergreen Adventures based at the foot of Hakuba Happo-One offers cycling and hiking tours catered to all levels, from families with children to intermediate riders who want to hone their skills and see more of the valley. Participants ride scenic trails by mountain rivers and weave through forest trails and rice fields. Practice riding techniques while descending down the valley gazing out at amazing views of the mountain range. Downhill tours include transportation to the top of the hills in eastern Hakuba. Recommended for intermediate and advanced riders. To enjoy Hakuba from below, canoeing or kayaking is available in Lake Aoki. This lake is one of the country’s purest lakes, fed by melting snow, rain and natural spring water bubbling from below. In autumn the color of the leaves is a sight not to be missed.

You don’t have to travel far from Tokyo to find beautiful coasts and rustic farmlands. Cycle with Oka Tours along Boso Peninsula’s quiet roads winding past charming farm villages, seasonal flower fields, ports and Oyama Senmaida, listed as one of Japan’s most beautiful terraced rice paddies. The peninsula in southern Chiba is still a relatively unknown destination. As the terrain is mostly flat, this threeday tour is great for short, relaxing getaways from Tokyo. A minimum of four participants is required for the tour, which includes accommodation (one-night stay at a traditional minshuku), meals, rental bikes and guide support. On the opposite shore, the rugged coastline of the Sea of Japan offers its own charms. Starting in Noto Peninsula, a nine-day tour is an excellent blend of cultural, historic and outdoor attractions through western Japan. Highlights include Wajima, famous for morning markets and traditional lacquer ware, the castle town of Kanazawa, one-night stay at a kayabukiyane (thatched roof) inn and of course Kyoto. 4

5

Surfing Adventures at Hebara

3

The eastern coast of the Boso Peninsula gets its best waves in autumn and winter. Splash Guest House is the perfect place to catch your first waves or be shown fun waves for all levels. The guesthouse, run by Dane Gillett who has surfed in Japan for more than 15 years, overlooks Hebara Beach in Chiba. Participants will be picked up at Katsuura Bus Stop, which is a 1.5-hour bus ride from Tokyo. While you c a n t a ke a d ay t r i p o u t for a surf lesson, consider spending a night at the bed and breakfast to enjoy one of Hebara’s famous sunrises. 5

6

6

Sea Kayaking in Izu

The coast of southern Izu Peninsula is lined with white sandy beaches, caves and natural rock arches and bridges, and the best way to take it all in is by sea kayak. Surface Kayak guides beginners on a leisurely full-day excursion including a quick kayaking lesson and lunch. During the warmer months, the waters are ideal for snorkeling and small cliff jumps. The area is also popular with divers. Lucky kayakers might even see sea turtles and flying fish. After kayaking be sure to visit Izu’s famous onsen and eat fresh seafood.

6

7

7

Marine Adventures at Tropical Onna-son

While the rest of Japan chills for winter, you can still enjoy summer down in Okinawa. Boasting some of the island’s best nature views, Onna-son in west Okinawa is blessed with coral reefs, white beaches, gentle waves, abundant marine life and clear ocean views. Tropical Surfhouse Okinawa takes full advantage of this with snorkel, SUP, surfing and kite surfing tours guided by professional instructors. A must-visit is Japan’s most famous dive and snorkel spot—Cape Maeda and Blue Cave—a natural grotto with an azure pool lit by the reflection of the calcareous sea floor.

www.outdoorjapanadventures.com

AUTUMN 2017

11


Kamikochi spotlight

Text & Photos by Gint Atkinson

A

utumn is a spec tacular time to hike Japan’s for mountains, gorge ests, s, valleys and hig h plateaus. There arguably nowhere ’s more breathtaking than Kamikochi in Japan’s Northern Alp s. Ka mikochi offers ev mellow hiking to erything from some of Japan’s most challenging A lon g me llo w alpine climbs. hik e fro m Ka pp a Ba sh i ta ke s yo explosive colors of u fro m th e the valley floor to the alpine zone of Cirque where yo the Karasawa u are surrounded by many of Japan’s pe ak s. Ca mp ing 3,000-meter or mo un tai n hu t acco mm od ati on Karasawa Hutte, is avail ab le at which offers excell en t meals and a soun ambitious adventu d rest to get rers ready for Ho taka-dake (3,190 Camp or stay at meters). Hotaka-dake Hutte and enjoy gourm and hearty break et dinners fasts to power up before bagging a or the challenge of few easy peaks Maehotaka-dake (3, 090 meters) and dake (2,909 meter Nishihotakas). The variety of op tions, challenges and incredible vie Ka mi ko ch i a wo ws makes rld -cl as s alp ine de sti na tio n. Sp rin offer visitors the g an d au tu mn most dramatic tra ns itions as the white overtaken by gre season is en and then once again as the swelt gives way to the ering summer golden season. Fro m slow an d ste ad y tre kk ing to sc ram bli ng an d Kamikochi offers cli mb ing , a large variety of routes and itinera th e ab ilit ies of all ries to satisfy ad ve ntu rer s. Th e ab un da nce of the valley floor to fac ilit ies fro m the top of moun tain passes provid comfort while on es safety and the trail within an hour or two at a mo derate pace.

12

TRAVELER

e of t h . one sic d via is a clas e b clim adake k il or a t r a a e h ot a m o M r , f s d k e a View lpine pe a five


App ro vibra aching Ka nt a u t u m r a s aw a n co lors . Hut te, b athin

g in

th e

What to Bring

Ka mi ko ch i an d the hig h pe ak s aro un d Ho takada ke req uire wa rm , water proo f, ult ral igh t ge ar in spring, summer and autumn. Sugg ested items include: • Light Gortex sh ell jacket and pants • Mid-layer jacke t and pants • Light and big puffy down jacke t • Warm fleece un der garments • Wool socks • Light and sturdy hiking boots • 1.5-liter Water bottle • Light Backpack

If camping also br ing:

• 0°C rated ultral ight sleeping bag • Alpine or full-le ngth air sleeping mattress • Four-season ult ralight two-person tent

Yo ur lo ad wi ll va ry be tw ee n 8- 12 kg . inc lud ing a few su rvi va l me als bu t it is mu ch ea sie r to ea t at th e mo un tai n hu ts alo ng th e way an d red uce the loa d. Ge ne ral infor matio n an d histo ric al inf or matio n ab ou t Ka mi ko ch i is available at www. kamikochi.or.jp/en glish. Gint Atkinson an d the Be ido u Ad ve ntu res te am of fe r so me of Ja pa n’s mo st ex cit ing ad ve nt ur e tre ks in Ka mi ko ch i, Ta te ya ma , Ya tsu ga take an d ma ny ot he r grea t loc ati on s for trekking, climb ing and alpine tou ring during the green season . They also offer rock climbing an d mo un tai ne eri ng ins tru cti on in Ja pa n an d Ch ina . In wi nt er, Be ido u Ad ve nt ur es of fe rs sk i/s pli tb oa rd to ur ing , avala nc he ed uc ati on , ice cli mb ing ins tru ct ion an d wi nt er alp ine cli mb ing ac ro ss Ja pa n an d th e gr ea t ran ge s of Wes ter n Ch ina . To joi n to ur s wi th Be ido u Ad ve nt ur es vis it Ou td oo r Ja pa n Ad ve nt ur es (www.outdoorjap anadventures.co m).

AUTUMN 2017

13


By Rie Miyoshi Mt. Fuji is silhouetted against a post-typhoon sunset, overlooking Yuno Village’s golden rice fields nearly ready for harvest. While Japan’s iconic volcano may seem cliché to some, for Masanori Shintani it is the source of inspiration for his lifework.

14

TRAVELER

rowing up in Kobe, Masanori Shintani was surrounded by nature lovers. Nearly everyone in his family was a boy scout or cub scout. His grandfather was a volunteer guide and weekends were spent camping at Mt. Rokko. When he was eighteen, Shintani achieved the highest honor a Japanese boy scout can receive—the Mt. Fuji Scout Award—which came with an invitation to meet Crown Prince Naruhito at the Imperial Palace. “This was one of the best moments of my life. Mt. Fuji has so much meaning to me and, from that moment, I wanted to live near this mountain,” Shintani says. After high school he selected a university in Shizuoka Prefecture solely due to its proximity to Mt. Fuji. One day while scuba diving off the Izu Peninsula, he spotted trash polluting the bottom of the ocean. “I knew I had to do something to save the environment,” Shintani says. “But this was nearly 30 years ago during the bubble years and there were very few jobs relating to protecting the environment.” To make matters worse, wealthy Japanese we r e b u y i n g p r o p e r t i e s ove r s e a s w h i l e disregarding local businesses and littering natural landmarks and parks. Although Shintani was studying applied chemistry, he realized to make a difference, the first step was to change people’s attitudes. At 24-years-old, he moved to Florida to pursue his masters degree in environmental studies. “My professor told me about ‘ecotourism’ and although I didn’t know precisely what it was, it sounded exactly like what I wanted to do,” Shintani recalls. After completing his studies he sent out nearly 600 internship applications to ecotourism companies and nature parks all over the world, but with no response, he nearly gave up. Yet sometimes inspiration strikes when you least expect it. “I was at a friend’s place in San Francisco, about to head to my final interview to accept a job with Mitsubishi and had a stomachache,” Shintani laughs. “Then I found a newspaper in the bathroom and started reading it. There it was, in big bold letters: ‘Outdoor Festival,’ and in smaller print below, ‘Ecotourism.’” Shintani cancelled his interview and ran to the festival, arriving just half an hour before it finished. After finding language errors on the Japanese brochures of an ecotourism company called Hawaii Forest & Trail, he was hired on the spot. Before he knew it, he was on a plane to Kona, promoting outdoor tours and bringing in busloads of Japanese visitors. After six years overseas, Mt. Fuji still remained on Shintani’s mind. He returned to Shizuoka with his college sweetheart and soon found a job with a nature school in Fujinomiya


City, then moved to the idyllic Yuno Village. In 2007 he launched Ecologic, a company dedicated solely to developing tourism that benefits, educates and empowers local communities all over the world.

Tourism is like a samurai sword. You can protect yourself and those you love, but it can injure too. Shintani explains how creating tours can be a sensitive issue. “If you start a business that brings in the right kind of travelers—people who respect locals and are aware of the environment—then it’s great. But if you’re focused only on money and expanding your own business without consulting with locals, it will backfire.” The Japan International Cooperation Agency projects send Shintani all over the world to places like Gabon to save jungle gorillas, and Iran for rafting tours, yet Fujinomiya remains his primary focus. “Every time I make tours for a new location, I see myself as a catalyst, an outsider. Most ecotourism projects operate the same way: experts come, do their job then leave without educating the community and then the project ends there. It’s not sustainable,” he says.

We do our best to support local people and NGOs so they can become leaders and keep the tours going on their own “Fujinomiya is different. I’m not from here, but it is my children’s hometown. I have to work hard to keep this town sustainable for my kids, family and friends. This is a project I’m dedicated to until I die.” Ecologic has been working with Fujinomiya City’s businesses to highlight cultural and outdoor points of interest, promote local arts and make services English-friendly, including teaching taxi drivers English. Started in Spring 2017, Ecologic launched “En-Ya Ecotours,” customizable day tours introducing inbound visitors to a more authentic side of Shizuoka. Activities include cycling past Yuno Village’s fields, temples and thatched houses, cooling off at the majestic Shiraito Falls, hiking to Hoei Crater on Mt. Fuji, making soba—complete with an 100% organic and local, farm-to-table lunch—creating traditional Japanese wagashi sweets and strolling the shoutengai (traditional shopping streets) and Mt. Fuji Sengen Taisha shrine grounds in a yukata. Vegetarian and halal meals are available as well. Tour proceeds help support local vendors. To book a Fujinomiya Experience with En-Ya Ecotours, visit Outdoor Japan Adventures (www.outdoorjapanadventures.com).

AUTUMN 2017

15


Exploring FUJINOMIYA Fujinomiya City is the traditional gateway to Mt. Fuji, with many visitors starting their ascent from the Fujinomiya Fifth Station. Sitting on the southwestern slopes of Mt. Fuji, Fujinomiya offers plenty of outdoor activities as well as cultural and culinary experiences in the heart of the town. The shoutengai around Fujinomiya Station feature ryokan (traditional inns) with impressive views of Mt. Fuji and affordable guesthouses. Travelers can enjoy Fujinomiya’s famous yakisoba stalls or drop by trendy cafés and bars. The town is built around Fujisan Hongu Sengentaisha Shrine, which dates back more than 2,000 years.

Shiraito Falls Shiraito Falls translates to “White Thread Falls.” Although only 20 meters high, the spectacular 150-meter-wide falls cascade off cliffs in thin white streams. Shiraito is hidden in the foothills of Mt. Fuji in the Fuji-HakoneIzu National Park yet accessible from a short walking trail and just a 30-minute bus ride from Fujinomiya Station.

Mt. Hoei

Yuno Village

Though Mt. Fuji’s summit trail is officially closed after summer, you can still hike up Mt. Hoei on the southeastern side of Mt. Fuji. Mt. Hoei’s craters formed after the last eruption in 1707. The light hiking course takes you across a landscape starting from the Fujinomiya 5th Station to the rim of the crater, which is twice the size of the summit’s crater. You can walk down to the bottom of the crater or climb the 2,693-meter Mt. Hoei. A loop-line hiking course offers you a chance to walk in a primeval forest on your way back to the station. Early autumn is the best time to hike. Be sure to check trail conditions before you go.

Fujinomiya is blessed with pure spring water from Mt. Fuji, with four sources spread out around town. The sound of the Shiba River, which runs through Yuno Village is a constant companion. The village is an 18-minute drive from downtown Fujinomiya and its idyllic view of Mt. Fuji surrounded by rice paddies and thatched houses is best explored by bicycle. Fuji Nishiki is a 330-year-old sake brewery producing 230,000 liters of sake annually using Mt. Fuji water. Every third Sunday in March, the brewery holds a festival giving away 8,000 liters of free sake. Asagiri Plateau is a lava field with a broad grass prairie popular for paragliding, dairy farms and the popular Asagiri Jam music festival held in October.

Getting There From Tokyo Station to Fujinomiya Station on the JR Minobu Line takes about two hours by train. If you are driving, take the New Tomei Expressway towards the Nishi Fuji Road. Buses are available from Fujinomiya Station to Shiraito Falls, Fuji Five Lakes and Mt. Fuji’s Fujinomiya Fifth Station.

16

TRAVELER


Cycling Mackerel Highway from Kyoto to the Japan Sea 京都からサバ街道で日本海を周回 By Takashi Niwa

I

n the old days there were several routes from the land-locked ancient capital of Kyoto to the Japan Sea. These supply roots were vital in order to bring various marine goods to Kyoto residents from the port cities along the coast. The ancient roads have been traveled for nearly thirteen centuries, dating back to the Heian Period (794 to 1185), and were collectively known as saba kaido, or mackerel highways. Our tour begins from the bustling streets of Kyoto heading “upstream” on the saba kaido and circling counterclockwise back to Kyoto. The total distance covered is about 230 kilometers. The route is dotted with many attractions i n c l u d i n g o l d p o st tow n s w i t h h i sto r i c townscapes and fishing villages along the coast. The route is particularly enjoyable in autumn with the backdrop of koyo (changing leaves) while slipping into the past. Be warned, however: the city and its environs become very crowded during this golden season, especially in late November when the colors are at their peak.

roof a, a thatched through Miyam o. ot Ky n Cyclists ride er rth no uki no sato), in village (kayab 寄り道

のない京都には、日本海から多くの海産物 が運ばれていたルートがいくつもあった。 中でもサバが多く運ばれたことから、その 道を総称して「サバ街道」と呼ばれている。平安時代 からつづいていると考えられており、その道の歴史は 1300 年近いものだ。  ここで紹介するのは、京都をスタート / ゴールと して、サバ街道を結んで反時計回りに周回。総距離は 約 230km である。  途中には、宿場町、昔ながらの街並み、海沿いの 漁村などが点在する。いにしえの風情に想いを巡らせ ながら、サイクリングを楽しんでみよう。  なお京都の紅葉はことさら美しいが、最盛期の 11月下旬は混み合うので注意が必要だ。

Tkamatsu Ooi

Obama

FUKUI SHIGA

Morning Tour

ur

Afternoon To

9:00 a.m. — 12:00 p.m. Illumination

KYOTO

1:30 — 4:30 p.m.

Tour (Seasonal)

5:30 p.m. — 8:00 p.m.

みやま 里へ 、ちょっと のかやぶきの 京都府美山町

Kameoka

Kyoto

Otsu

Price: ¥6,700 + 8% tax

info@cyclingholiday.tokyo http://cyclingholiday.tokyo

AUTUMN 2017

17


By Bryan Harrell

U

menishiki is an old-line sake brewery founded in the 5th year of the Meiji Period (1872). They received their license to brew beer in 1994, making them one of Japan’s first microbreweries. Should you find their beer sold or served in Japan, consider yourself lucky as it is more like a product from an old-school conservative brewery rather than a progressive brewery experimenting with the latest-flavor craft beer. As such, the styles are very close to original definition and, depending upon your experience and preference of craft beer, you will find the flavors presented charmingly conservative. The beers themselves are all very well made, with the same attention to detail as a century-and-a-half-old sake brewery. You are not likely to find many brands that exceed them in quality. Umenishiki beers include a Pilsner (5.5% ABV, all malt), a dark Bock (7% ABV, all malt), a clear Weizen (5.5% ABV, all

malt), an Aromatic Ale (8.5% ABV, all malt) that is amber and a Belgian-style Blanche (5% ABV, made with barley and wheat malt, native iyo orange peel, coriander and hops). All of these Umenishiki beers retail for ÂĽ490 plus tax for a standard 330-ml bottle with well-designed and attractive labels. The brewery is just that, with no restaurant, t a s t i n g ro o m o r a ny o t h e r facilities, though it is possible to phone them (in Japanese) and ask where their products can be purchased. Their website has mostly information about their sake , although they do include a moderate amount of information about Umenishiki Beer. When you do manage to get your hands on some of their brews you will see this Shikoku brewery is serious about the process and the quality, and your taste buds will thank you long afterwards,

Umenishiki Beer

14 Kanatamachi Kanagawa, Chuo-shi, Ehime-ken 799-0123 (0896) 57-1900 www.umenishiki.com

18

TRAVELER


By Justin Stein

The Sweeter Side S

weetness is one of the primary tastes and, in moderation, most people enjoy a bit of sweetness now and again. We have evolved this way, as sweet foods tend to be energy-dense, so that even newborn infants show preference for sweeter milks. In the beer world, sweetness tends to be a function of the interplay between malt and yeast. Whatever sugars remain after fermentation will provide sweetness and body to the beer. These sugars balance bitterness from hops or roasted malts (in dark beers) and can complement spicy or fruity contributions from particular ale yeasts. In stronger beers, like Trappist ales, German bocks, English old ales and Russian imperial stouts, the sweetness generally results from the yeast hitting its maximum alcohol tolerance before all the sugars are used up. In mid-range beers, like pale ales and ambers, sweetness generally comes from caramelized malts, which contain complex sugars that yeasts cannot ferment. But there is another type of unfermentable sugar that brewers can add directly to their beers to produce a sweeter, more full-bodied

FESTIVAL ROUNDUP Sept. 29–Oct. 9 O  daiba Oktoberfest (Tokyo) Sept. 30–Oct. 1 C  raft Beer Kanazawa (Ishikawa) Sept. 30–Oct. 1 Craft Beer Party in Ichinomiya (Aichi) Oct. 1 Kadarube Craft Beer Fest in Hirosaki (Aomori) Oct. 2–9

 yushu Beer Festival K (Fukuoka)

Oct. 7

 ona Yona Ale’s Chō-Utage Y (Tokyo)

Oct. 8–9

I chikawa Oktoberfest (Chiba)

Nov. 2–5

 eutschland Fest D (Tokyo)

final product without boosting the alcohol content: lactose. British brewers began adding lactose (or milk sugar) to their stouts in the late nineteenth century to create a style called sweet stout or milk stout. This was one of the most popular styles in mid-century U.K. and was thought to be particularly good for nursing mothers. Mackeson XXX Stout (5%) is a classic example that has been made for more than a century. The style has gone into decline in the U.K., but as with many trends in the beer world, North American and Scandinavian brewers have taken it to new places. First, they began to infuse the sweet stout with a nitrogen gas blend (an innovation pioneered by Guinness for their dry stouts in the 1950s), producing an even creamier mouthfeel that works beautifully with the style. Around 2010, Left Hand Brewing Company developed a method to put nitrogen widgets in bottles and their Milk Stout Nitro (6%) has become representative of the style and is available in Japan. This stout will particularly appeal to people who take their coffee with milk and sugar – creamy, “chocolaty” and rather low bitterness. Another innovation that has taken off in North America is to add lactose to the NE IPA style I highlighted in the last column (Traveler Issue #64, Summer 2017), often in combination with vanilla and fruits, creating a new style called the “milkshake IPA.” This playful name originally came from a criticism of the hazy NE IPAs made by Tired Hands Brewing Company outside Philadelphia, but their brewer, Jean Brouillet IV, decided to turn it into a trademark. In a series of collaborations with Omnipollo, an innovative Swedish brewery who had already been developing a line of “Smoothie IPAs,” Brouillet created a trend for these super-hazy, creamy, slightly sweet and often fruit-forward IPAs. I am not aware of any Japanese examples yet, but if you are traveling in North America, Europe, Australia or New Zealand keep an eye out for this interesting new style. AUTUMN 2017

19


With the Hokuriku Shinkansen expansion, and a network of buses ferrying visitors from Iiyama to dozens of ski resorts, it’s never been easier to explore Shin’etsu-Shizenkyo.

Shin’etsu-Shizenkyo

Nature Park 100 Minutes from Tokyo to an Amazing Winter Playground

20

TRAVELER


PAID PUBLICITY

T

he Shin’etsu Shizenkyo Nature Park is a vast region that includes 38 ski resorts in more than 21 resort areas in Nagano and Niigata prefectures. The park features timeless natural landscapes where you can feel the soul of Japan and enjoy some of the heaviest snowfalls in Japan.

The Hokuriku Shinkansen, which extended to Iiyama Station in 2015, now makes it easy to jump off and explore the major ski areas in Iiyama, Nakano, Iizuna, Shinano, Yamanouchi, Kijimadaira, Sakae and Nozawa Onsen in Nagano Prefecture and Myoko in Niigata Prefecture. While this region is most famous for its light, deep powder, travelers can also enjoy a variety of natural and culture experiences. Many travelers enjoy visiting the popular snow

SHIN’ETSU SHIZENKYO SUPER VALUE TICKET The Super Value ticket allows visitors to choose from 38 ski resorts. Each Super Value ticket (Price: ¥21,000) includes a packet of five tickets which can be exchanged at any of the 38 resorts for a one-day lift ticket. For lift tickets priced less than ¥4,200, visitors will receive an additional meal and/or onsen ticket. Super Value tickets are available at “TIC Tokyo” at Tokyo Station’s Nihonbashi Exit or “Shin’etsu Shizenkyo Activity Center” inside Iiyama Station.

monkeys who warm up in the hot springs in Jigokudani. In mid-winter, visitors can sit in kamakura (Japanese igloos) and enjoy dinner or drinks, participate in cultural festivals such as the Fire Festival in Nozawa Onsen, held every Jan. 15, and of course soak in one of the many local onsen after a day on the slopes. The area is also popular in autumn for hiking, trekking and enjoying the beautiful fall colors. In the green season, guests flock to the mountainous resort areas to escape the heat and enjoy the rivers, lakes and fresh mountain air.

SHIN’ETSU SHIZENKYO ACTIVITY CENTER (0269) 62-7001 8:30 a.m. – 6 p.m. info@shinetsu-activity.jp For tour reservations and rental information, visit www.shinetsu-activity.jp/en.

ACCESS AND INFORMATION The Shin’etsu Shizenkyo Nature Park is easily accessible using the Hokuriku Shinkansen to Iiyama Station with buses connecting the station to each village. It takes approximately 100 minutes from Tokyo to Iiyama Station by bullet train. The Shin’etsu Shizenkyo Activity Center and Tourist Information Center are open year ’round. Here you can discover tours and more information on mountain trekking, cycling, water sports, snow activities, cultural tours and rentals. Outdoor gear and off-road fat bike rentals are also available here.

www.shinetsu-activity.jp/en

AUTUMN 2017

21


Interview with Onjuku Surfer Hiroka Yoshikawa In a world of evolving sport styles, it’s refreshing to see surfers like Hiroka Yoshikawa embracing the classics. The 25-year-old Yoshikawa is already leading national women’s longboard championships, winning first place the past three years and competing internationally. Outdoor Japan’s Rie Miyoshi sat down with Onjuku’s surf darling to talk surf, life and Japan.

22

TRAVELER

Photos by Ryuji Yoshikawa


Rie Miyoshi: Sorry to pull you out of your morning surf! Hiroka Yoshikawa: No worries. It takes a little over two hours to Tokyo from Onjuku, the inaka town in Chiba where I live. I rarely come into the city so when I do, I pack as many meetings I can while here. RM: Are you originally from Onjuku? HY: Born and raised. My parents are from Tokyo, but there are no waves there, so they moved to Onjuku to be near the ocean. My dad was a pro surfer and moved to Onjuku when he was 16 and my mom was a bodyboarder—they met through mutual friends. RM: Do they still surf? HY: Yes, and I have a younger sister who surfs as a hobby—we are a longboard family. Our house is a three-minute drive from the beach and dinner conversations usually revolve around tides and the next day’s waves. We’re always thinking and talking about the ocean. RM: Growing up with surfer parents, were you expected to ride? HY: My dad first put me on a board when I was in the second grade, but I just wanted to get out of the water as fast as possible. He didn’t push after that. Throughout middle school I was in the tennis club but when that finished, I started surfing and couldn’t stop. I would practice before and after school throughout high school—and of course, my dad was my biggest supporter. He even quit pro surfing and touring to become my coach. My first contest was during my first year of high school. It was the Nippon Surfing Association Championship for amateurs of all ages. Starting in 2009, I placed first for three consecutive years and kept competing even after graduating high school while working a part-time job at one of the oceanfront ryokan. RM: What determines whether you’ve achieved pro surfer status in Japan? HY: Before I went pro, I was invited to the Association of Surfing Professionals (ASP) contests—that’s the old name for World Surf League (WSL). I competed locally and overseas in France, China and Australia. The difference between long and shortboard competitions is that for longboard contests, points earned from international contests don’t count back home and I had to pay out of pocket. But I still applied and trained. In 2012, I competed at Kamogawa, Chiba in the Japan Pro Surfing Association (JPSA) pro trials. The contest is held three times a year, and I failed the first two times. My score was always really close—I would be 0.1 points short from winning, I would place third, but after the third and final trial of the year, I won. RM: Third time’s a charm. Are the other contestants around your age? HY: I’m usually the youngest in the group. Most of the other contestants—actually, most surfers I see out in the water—are a decade older than me. There are a lot of women well over 40 years old still competing. It’s such a friendly community and everyone’s really encouraging. RM: Do you see yourself competing long term? HY: I’m not sure yet. My dad, Ryuji, runs a surf shop called Shoots on the first floor of our home and he also shapes boards. The other day he helped me shape my first board in the Stinger style popular during the 80s—wide body, a little heavy with wings making it easy to maneuver and ride classic style. Anyway, it was such a great experience to customize my own board, so I really want to get into shaping. RM: Sounds like your dad has inspired you a lot. HY: Definitely. Even when I lost competitions, my parents would always tell me to enjoy the ride. Also, all four of us in our family love crafts and making things. My dad makes lures, my mom sews and once we start a project, we get so focused on it. I think this built up my foundation for surfing and focusing on contests. We’re also really competitive.

AUTUMN 2017

23


RM: What’s your typical day like? HY: When I’m not touring, I usually surf in the morning. If the waves aren’t great at Onjuku, I drive to a different surf spot, sometimes close by, other times further north like Ibaraki. Winter’s coming up which is the best season for surf in Onjuku. My mornings and evenings are dedicated to practicing on all sorts of boards-long, short, even handplanes. During the day, I work from home for an online surf goods store and sometimes give surf lessons or train on a SUP. RM: Shonan, especially Chigasaki and Kamakura, has a surf town feel. What about Onjuku, are there a lot of local surfers? HY: Surprisingly, there aren’t a lot of local Onjuku surfers, which is a shame because we have a beautiful beach with white sand, blue waters and great waves. I even get stared at when I’m out cycling with my board! Nowadays though, you see more surfers coming in from out of town or kids whose parents are local surfers. Onjuku is a small town with roughly 8,000 residents and is famous for swimming, ryokan—and a famous statue of two men riding camels built on the beach. Tourists come for this, but I’m hoping it will develop into a surf town. Recently, we’ve started a Onjuku surfing committee. RM: Were you much different from your friends growing up? HY: Most of my friends from school don’t surf. Especially during that time, surfing was seen as charai (playful) with a negative reputation to it, so I worked extra hard to study well and not slack off while training. RM: What would you like to tell people who don’t surf? HY: Regular everyday life versus time spent in the ocean riding waves is so different and something everyone should experience. Surfing is part of who I am and I can’t imagine life without it. RM: What other contests are left this year? HY: I’m signed up for Surf Relik, an invite-only longboard series held in Malibu— it’s their first time doing it. I’m also really excited that Onjuku will be hosting its first WSL Asia event this November so I’m gearing up for that.

About Onjuku Onjuku Beach, on the eastern coast of Chiba’s Boso Peninsula, is well-known for abalone and lobster fishing by topless ama female divers. Onjuku Station is on the JR Sotobo Line and takes just over two hours from central Tokyo. The WSL Trump Onjuku Logger Pro will be held on Nov. 11-12 featuring longboard, SUP, bodyboard and skateboard contests. Onjuku and its neighbor Hebara have English-speaking surf rentals and lessons.

Eugene Teal Surf Family (0470) 68-5488 Onjuku www.kanaloa7.tv/teal

Flying Sumo Surf Co. (0470) 60-3011 Onjuku www.flyingsumo.jp

Splash Guest House

(0470) 64-6088 Hebara www.splashguesthouse.com

24

TRAVELER


By Robin Lewis

By Robin Lewis

My journey was not an easy one. Temperatures were unusually high (exceeding 36°C at times), I was constantly on the lookout for bears and was delayed by severe weather. My 25-kilogram backpack did not make the going any easier. Despite this, the natural beauty I encountered and the warmth and kindness of the resilient people I met along the way made it—hands down—one of the best experiences of my life.

F

or 28 days I hiked along the stunning Sanriku Coastline, following the Michinoku Coastal Trail (MCT), a new walking trail set up by the Ministry of Environment to encourage people to get outdoors and explore Tohoku. The 600-kilometer walk took me through the lesser known prefectures of Aomori, Iwate, Miyagi and Fukushima in northeast Japan. The walk was part of the “Explore Tohoku” Project, an initiative I set up with the support of two philanthropic organizations, the Japan Foundation Asia Center and The Next Challenge. The idea was to document the recovery of the Tohoku Region and promote tourism while walking along the tsunami-affected coastline. I chose to walk, as opposed to cycle or drive, to allow for spontaneous encounters and appreciate the smaller things I would experience on the way. The MCT starts at Kabushima Shrine in Hachinohe (Aomori Prefecture) and finishes in Soma (Fukushima Prefecture). It passes through

26

TRAVELER

rugged countryside, small fishing villages, and the coastal settlements that were most severely affected by the 2011 Great East Japan Earthquake and tsunami. As I made my way along the trail, I interviewed dozens of local residents about life after the earthquake, tsunami and nuclear crisis. I hoped to capture the locals’ perspective, and share their stories with people both inside and outside of Japan now that the disaster is slipping further from people’s memories. I also wanted to gather stories, photos and videos from Tohoku—the food, the scenery, the festivals and everything in between. Having worked in Tohoku’s post-disaster recovery since April 2011, and also being half Japanese (my mother’s family has roots in Tohoku), the journey was a personal one. I started off after the tsunami as a volunteer, helping out in shelters,

distributing food and interpreting for relief teams. This eventually led to a full-time job, bringing a range of experiences in Tohoku, other parts of Japan and disaster zones around the world, including Nepal, Haiti, and Vanuatu. This walk was, in a way, a culmination of all of these years’ work. It was as if the journey was going full circle, going back to where it all began. And so I set off with three cameras, a notebook and bear bells in hand, not knowing what to expect.


私の東北紀行 今回の私の旅は生やさしいものではありませんでした。気温は高く、摂氏 36℃を超えることがしばしばありました。熊の出没にも注意しなければなら なかったし、悪天候が通りすぎるのを待たされることもありました。背中の 25kg のバックパックはなにをするにも重く邪魔になりました。それでも、こ の旅は私の人生の上で忘れることのできない貴重な体験となりました。それ は美しい東北の自然や復興に立ち向かっている人たちから受けた優しさを思 い出にすることができたからです。

の旅は三陸海岸に完成した「みちのく潮風ト レイル」を、28 日間をかけてハイクするとい うものでした。 そのトレイルは日本の環境省に よって東北のアウトドアをもっと楽しんでもら おうという目的で新設されました。全長は 600km もの 距離があり、青森県から岩手県、宮城県そして福島県ま でつづいています。

さらに今回の旅は非営利団体である国際交流基金 アジアセンターとネクスト・チャレンジのサポートを受け て、私が立ち上げた「エクスプローラー・トウホク」プロ ジェクトのなかの一部分といってもいいのです。 またこの アイデアは東北地方の復興を記録するということや、津 波を被った海岸線へ観光客を呼び戻すという目的もあり ます。 さて、旅の方法としては自転車や自動車を利用する という手段もありましたが、私はあえて徒歩を選択しまし た。私は道中の偶然の出会いなどの些細な出来事も無駄 にはしたくなかったからです。 はちのへ この「みちのく潮風トレイル」は青森県の八戸にあ かぶしま る蕪 島神社からスタートします。そしてゴールは福島県 の相馬市です。 トレイルでは起伏の激しい自然や小さな 漁村、 また 2011 年の震災による津波で甚大な被害を こうむ 被 った海辺の集落なども踏破することになります。

この旅のあいだ、私は地元の人々と触れ合いながら インタビューを試みて、震災や津波や放射能のことによっ て人生がどのように変わったかをうかがおうと思ってい ました。そのインタビューのなかで被害を被った人々の これからの展望を知ることができたらと思っています。 そ して彼らの話を日本だけでなく海外の人々ともシェアし、 あの大惨事が多くの人々の記憶のなかから少しずつ遠ざ かっていることも知らせたかったのです。 もちろん東北の すばらしい食べ物や景色そして祭りなどを映像や文章に 書き留めたいとも思っていました。 じつは私は 2011 年の 4 月から東北の復興に参加 したことがあります。 さらに母親が東北生まれの日本人と いうこともあり、私にとっては個人的にも重要な旅であっ たのです。当時、私は津波が襲った直後から避難場所で 食事の世話や救援チームのための通訳として活動に参 加しました。 それが後にフルタイムの仕事となり、東北の 広範囲だけでなく、 日本のほかの地域や世界中で災害を 被った地域へ派遣されるようになりました。たとえばネ パール、 ハイチ、 バヌアツなどです。 したがってこの旅は私にとって人生のターニングポ イントに戻るという意味があり、3 台のカメラとノート、 そ して熊よけの鈴を持ってさまざまな期待を胸に秘めて出 発したのです。 AUTUMN 2017

27


Northeast Beauty Right from the get-go, the views were like none other I had seen in Japan. During the first few days, I walked along the Tanesashi Kaigan, a quiet stretch of Aomori dotted with jawdropping coastal scenery. The area is also home to an incredible array of flora, from orange lilies to hydrangea. Some other highlights included camping on the sparsely populated Oshima Island near Kesenuma, walking on “squeaky sand” ( nakisuna ) on Osuka Beach near Hachinohe, swimming amongst impressive rock formations in Jodogahama bay near Miyako and gazing out at the pine tree-covered islands of Matsushima, considered one of the top three scenic spots in Japan (Nihon Sankei). And then there were the crystal blue waters of Hirono in Iwate Prefecture (which I found out was home to several highly rated surf spots), the luscious fields of Fukushima and the countless shrines and temples I stumbled upon, each with its own unique character and charm. After a month of walking, I came to the following conclusion: The coastline is even more beautiful than I’d expected. But it’s the people I met along the way who made it a truly remarkable experience.

28

TRAVELER

東北の美しい自然 たねさし

旅がスタートしてからの数日間、 私は青森の種差海岸 を歩きました。 道の左側につづく景色はいままで日本では見 たことがないほどの美しさでした。 こののどかで静かな海岸 線にはオレンジ色のユリやアジサイが群生して咲き乱れるエ リアもあります。 この地域にはキャンピングなどに向いている場所として けせんぬま そして八戸の近くには 「鳴き 気仙沼の近くの大島があります。 お お す か みやこ じょうどがはま 宮古市にある浄土ヶ浜には岩の 砂」が有名な大須賀海岸。 突き出た海岸があり海水浴をしても楽しいし日本三景のひ とつ、 松島を眺めることもできます。 ひろの ク さらに岩手県の洋野町には透明度の高い海があり、 オリティーの高いサーフィンスポットもあります。 そして緑の大 地が広がる福島県には数え切れないほどの神社仏閣があ り、 そのどれもが驚くばかりでした。 東北にはそのような魅惑 的で個性あふれる観光スポットがたくさんあります。 一ヶ月ほどハイクをつづけて改めて感じたことは、 この 「みちのく潮風トレイル」の海岸線には私が期待していた 以上の美しさがあったということです。 しかしそれ以上にすば らしい思い出となったのは旅の途中で出会った人々でした。


AUTUMN 2017

29


Acts of Kindness This might sound a little over the top, but the encounters I had during my journey strengthened one of my long-held beliefs, that the majority of people are inherently good. They filled me with a sense of hope and optimism for the future. Despite being a solo, male, non-Japaneselooking traveler (who probably looked rather rough, after several weeks of minimal hygienic upkeep), I was on the receiving end of countless random acts of kindness. For example, there was the man who saw me walking into a shop in a small fishing village. He ran up to me, screaming “Hello!” (in English), bought me a meal and walked off without saying another word. Then there was the woman who saw me walking up the trail towards her and told me to stop. She ran into her house, and brought out a chair, along with an ice cream and three cans of juice. We sat in the shade and talked until it was all gone. Then there was the time I had an early morning chat with an elderly woman. We parted ways, and I continued walking. A few hours later, I heard a car screech to a halt next to me. There she was, with a bag of freshly picked berries and sweets to give to me as omiyage (customary souvenir). And, of course, there were the more profound encounters. Like the time that two elderly sisters offered me a place to stay at night, out of the blue, after seeing me about to pitch my tent at a michi-no-eki (roadside rest stop). When I asked them why they decided to help me, one of the women responded: "The tsunami took away so much from us. We lost family and our house was washed away…it was a time of extreme hardship, grief and sadness. In the weeks, months and years that followed, so many people from the outside came to help us. People who had never been to our town were working alongside us to rebuild it. Complete strangers...my family has been on the receiving end of so much kindness and generosity, many times from people we don't know. So I think it's important to pay it forward.” And the time I met 80-year old Owada-san from Rikuzen-Takada, who told me about losing his home to tsunami twice in his lifetime. "I've been a fisherman since the age of 16. In 1960, my house was washed away by a big tsunami. Back then, we didn't have any early warning systems or anything...it just came, and took everything away. So my wife and I built a new house from scratch and slowly put our lives back together. Then, 50 years later, my house was washed away again by the 2011 tsunami. Twice in a lifetime... When I stop to think about it, it's really quite hard to believe. But we are people of the ocean. My whole life, I've had a profound connection with the sea. It has provided for my family for generations and I have a deep respect for it. So am I angry? No. We just have to get on with it. We will rebuild again and carry on.”

30

TRAVELER

There were countless encounters such a s t h e s e t h a t m a d e my j o u r n ey i n Toh ok u truly memorable. The tsunami claimed almost 20,000 lives and wiped many communities completely off the map, devastating hundreds of kilometers of coast. Now, six years on, the people of Tohoku are still busy rebuilding their lives. And, importantly, they are eagerly welcoming tourists from all over the world. Offering stunning natural scenery, fresh seafood and other delicacies, and off-the-beatentrack adventures for travelers and outdoors enthusiasts, Tohoku has plenty of potential to grow as a tourist destination. An influx of travelers is seen as one of the most effective ways to boost the local economy and ensure a sustained recovery. And visitors can have the added satisfaction of knowing their hardearned cash will most likely, in one way or another, support the region’s recovery. So next time you’re looking for a worthwhile travel experience in Japan, consider embarking on a Tohoku adventure, such as walking along the MCT. If it’s anything like what I experienced, you will not be disappointed.


おもてなしの心 少し言い過ぎた表現かもしれませんが、 この旅での 出会いは私がかねてから抱いていた信念をより揺るぎな いものにしてくれました。 それは、人間は本質的には善良 だということです。 この旅で出会った人々の優しさは未来 に向けての明るい希望となりました。 私のように日本人には見えない風貌の旅行者(しか も数週間のハイクで薄汚れていた) でありながら、私はこ の旅で数え切れないほどの親切を受けることになったの です。 たとえば、小さな漁村のある店にいた私を見つけた 男性が、私に走り寄ってくると「ハロー」と一言だけ言っ て食べ物を差しだしそのまま去っていったのです。 またあるときは坂道で私の前を歩く女性が「ストッ プ」と言って私を立ち止まらせると、家の中から椅子とア イスクリームと缶ジュースを 3 本も持ってきました。 そし て私たちは日陰に腰掛けるとジュースを飲み干すまで会 話をつづけたのです。 さらにこんなこともありました。早朝に初老の女性と 世間話をする機会があったのです。道の途中で別れてし ばらく私がひとりで歩いていると車が追いかけてきて私 の横で急停止しました。 すると車内にはさきほどの女性 が乗っていて新鮮なイチゴやお菓子の入ったバッグを私 に差しだし、 「おみやげ」と言って手渡してくれたのです。 そしてさらに心に深く残る遭遇もありました。ある 日、道の駅に張った私のテントを見てふたりの年配の女

性が泊まりにきなさいと言ってくれたのです。 でもなぜ私 を助けてくれるのかと質問したところ、 「津波が私たちか らいろいろなものを奪っていった。家族も家も流されて しまった。 これからは過酷な道を歩んでいかなければな らない。 たいへん悲しい。 でも震災から数週間後、数ヶ月 後、数年後、大勢の人たちがやってきて私たちを助けてく れた。私たちの町に一度も来たことがない人たちがやっ てきて私たちの傍で再建に協力してくれた。彼らは縁もゆ かりもない人たちです。私の家族はそんな多くの親切と 寛大さを、その人々からたくさん受けてきました。 だから 私はその恩をまただれかに与えることが重要だと考えて いるのです」 さらに陸前高田からやって来た 80 歳のオワダさん という方からも話を聞くことができました。 「私は 16 歳 のときから漁師をしています。 1960 年に大津波で家が 流されました。 そのころは警報システムなどがなかった時 代です。 ただただ津波がすべてを破壊しました。 それから 妻と私は努力して新しい家を建て、 ゆっくりと以前の暮ら しを取り戻していったのです。そして 50 年後、私の家は ふたたび 2011 年の津波に流されたのです。人生で二度 もこんな経験をするなんて、 もうなにも考えられなくなり ました。 しかし私は海とともに生きています。 それは人生 のすべてです。私は海との深い結びつきがあるのです。私 の家族や同世代は海から恩恵を受けています。 だから深 い尊敬の念を海に抱いています。私が海に対して怒って

いるかって?そんなことはありません。 これからも海とと もに生きなければならないのです。復興し生活を取り戻 すのです」 この私の旅は数え切れないほどの出会いを生み出 しました、 それは東北の真実の記憶です。 大津波はおよそ 20,000 名もの尊い命を奪い、多く の町を地図から消し数百キロに渡る海岸線に被害を与 えました。 そして 6 年が経過し東北の人々は復興に向け て懸命に努力しています。 さらに重要なことは彼らが世界 中の人たちにこの東北へ観光に来てほしいと願っている ことです。 これまでもあげたような、 目を見張るような美しい 景色と、新鮮なシーフードとおいしい食べ物、 そして人里 を離れたトレイルを行く冒険は旅行者やアウトドア愛好 家にはたまらない魅力です。東北は観光の目的地として 大きな可能性を秘めているでしょう。 旅行者の訪問は地方経済の活性には大きな効果が あり復興にも役立ちます。そして訪れた旅行者による貴 重なお金がこの地方に流通し再生に役立つのです。 だからもし日本への旅行を計画中であるのならば、 東北への冒険を選択肢のひとつに入れてはいかがでしょ うか。 とくに「みちのく潮風トレイル」のハイクはオススメ ですよ。 もし私が経験したような出会いがあれば、 すばら しい思い出となることでしょう。

AUTUMN 2017

31


旅行のアドバイス

Getting There: The trail starts at Kabushima Shrine near Same Station in Hachinohe, Aomori. Take the Tohoku Shinkansen from Tokyo to Hachinohe Station, then head to Same on the Hachinohe Line. From there, it is a 10-minute walk to the trail head. The trail finishes in Matsukawaura Kankyo Koen in Soma, Fukushima. From Tokyo Station, take the Akita Shinkansen to Sendai Station, then take the Joban Line to Soma Station. The trail head is a 50-minute walk or a 15-minute bus ride. More information about the trail can be found in English on the MCT website at http://tohoku.env.go.jp/mct/english. Accommodation: There are campsites, hotels, ryokan and minshuku dotted along the MCT. All campsites should be shown on the maps provided by the Ministry of Environment via the MCT website. Booking accommodation in English is possible through Rakuten Travel, Booking.com and Jalan, although these work only in the larger towns. Otherwise, search Google Maps to find conveniently located accommodation options or see the JNTO’s search page here: www.jnto.go.jp/ja-search/eng. Best Time to Go: The trail can be walked year-round, although check on ice and snowfall conditions during winter. I would recommend spring, when Tohoku offers top-notch sakura viewing and when the flowers are in full bloom. The changing leaves and cooler temperatures of autumn can also be ideal. Tohoku offers some incredible (and less crowded) ski resorts and onsen (hot springs) as well as some prime surf spots and beaches. Find out more about the Explore Tohoku Project at www.facebook.com/exploretohoku. You can also see photos from the trail on Instagram @ robinlewisphotography. This walk was made possible by the Japan Foundation Asia Center (www.handsproject.asia) and The Next Challenge (www.thenextchallenge.org).

32

TRAVELER

「みちのく潮風トレイル」 のトレイルがスタートする蕪島神社へのアクセスは 青森県八戸の鮫(さめ)駅が最寄りの駅となります。東京 からは東北新幹線に乗車して八戸駅で降り八戸線に乗 換えます。 トレイルの入り口は鮫駅から 10 分ほど徒歩で 向かいます。 ゴールは福島県相馬市にある松川浦環境公 園です。 そちらへ行くのならば秋田新幹線で仙台駅まで、 そこから常磐(じょうばん)線に乗換えて相馬(そうま) 駅で下車。 トレイルの入り口までは徒歩で 50 分、 バスを 利用すれば 15 分です。 英語での詳しい情報は

http://tohoku.env.go.jp/mct/english/

「みちのく潮風トレイル」での宿泊 「みちのく潮風トレイル」には宿泊施設が点在し ています。キャンプ場、ホテル、旅館、民宿などさまざま です。キャンプ場の所在地は環境省のウェブサイトで確 認できます。英 語での宿 泊 予 約は Rakuten Travel、 Booking.com、 Jalan、が 便 利ですが、主 要 な 町 の 宿 泊施設での予約のみとなってしまいます。別の方法と して は Google Maps か JNTO’s の ウェブ サイトも www.jnto.go.jp/ja-search/eng で検 索してみる のもいいでしょう。 
 ベストシーズンはいつ? 「みちのく潮風トレイル」は通年で利用できますが、 冬は事前に雪や凍結の状況を確認する必要があります。 私が勧める季節は春です。東北の桜が満開したときは格 別の景色がご覧いただけます。紅葉を愛でることができ る秋は気候も涼しく良い時期といえます。 また東北には 混雑しないすばらしいスキーリゾートや温泉があります。 またサーフィンにも適したポイントやビーチもあります。 東北についてもっと知りたい方は Explore Tohoku Project

www.facebook.com/exploretohoku や Instagram@robinlewisphotography があります。 今回の旅は the Japan Foundation Asia Center

(www.handsproject.asia) The Next Challenge (www.thenextchallenge.org) の協力によって実現

できました。


AUTUMN 2017

33


Z AN Japan’s Last Dugongs ザン

By Rie Miyoshi

日本最後のジュゴン

34

TRAVELER

Photos courtesy of ImageMill


T

he elusive Okinawa dugong was once a symbol of the ocean. But after years of hunting, pollution and land expansion, the species have gone into hiding. Today a dangerously low number remains in the area, with only a handful of dugong sightings in the last decade.

A lone, life-size statue of a dugong overlooks sleepy Oura Bay in northern Okinawa, yet few know why it’s there. Even the locals from the surrounding Henoko District believed Japan’s dugongs, which once swam freely in the warm Okinawan waters, were a thing of the past—until earlier this March when a dugong and her calf were sighted. Oura Bay is home not only to the critically endangered Okinawa dugong, but also to sea turtles, 400 kinds of coral including blue coral, crab, shrimp, tropical fish and sea grass ecosystems. But while Okinawa receives nearly eight million visitors annually, most flock to the more popular beach resorts around Naha and Motobu, while port towns like Henoko are forgotten.

Endangered Zan It’s hard to imagine a more peaceful creature than the slow-moving herbivorous zan , the Okinawan name for dugong. During the Ryukyu Kingdom Period, they were revered, even worshiped, appearing in Japanese folklore as creatures who could control the weather. Some believed the dugongs were ningyo , Japanese mermaid goddesses. Hunting, much less eating these creatures would bring misfortune. However, after World War II, post-war malnutrition led people to hunt dugongs for food, drastically decreasing the zan population. Dugongs are extremely sensitive and require a stable environment, fleeing from any trace of water, noise and light pollution. Everyday, they follow a trail through the sea grass to the bay, their feeding ground. Without the bay and the sea grass ecosystem, they would starve. Unlike the manatee, dugongs are restricted to the ocean due to a suction cup-like mouth making them dependent on sea grass and less adaptable to feed on other types of marine vegetation. Additionally, their leisurely drift makes them easy prey for other ocean predators. Although they can live up to 70 years, they breed slowly, giving birth to a single calf only a handful of times in a lifetime. Only three dugongs (a male, female and young male) had been identified within the past decade, but the recent sighting of the mother and child gives hope there may be more.

ジュゴンの歴史と生態

つては海のシンボルだった沖縄のジュゴン。 しかし乱獲や海の汚染、そして埋め立てに よってこの生物は姿を消しつつある。絶滅 寸前と言われるこの海洋哺乳類が目撃さ れたのは過去 10 年をさかのぼってもほんのわずか。

沖縄の北に位置する大浦湾で、たった 1 頭で海に へ の こ 浮かぶジュゴンが発見された。辺野古地方の人々はそれ が日本に生息する希少なジュゴンだと信じています。今 おおうら 年の 3 月には子供を連れたジュゴンが発見された。大浦 ひん 湾は絶滅の危機に瀕した沖縄のジュゴンの生息地という こうかく だけでなく、海亀や青サンゴやエビなどの甲殻類や熱帯 魚を含む 400 種類もの海洋生物が海のエコシステムで も ば ある海草藻場に生息している。沖縄には毎年約 800 万 な は もとぶ 人の観光客が訪れているが、その多くは那覇や本部など の有名なリゾートに向かい、辺野古のような場所は見過 ごされてきました。

沖縄でジュゴンはザンと呼ばれ、親しまれてきまし た。動作のゆっくりとした平穏なこの草食動物はほかに りゅうきゅう 比較できるものがありません。琉 球 王朝の時代にはジュ ゴンは崇拝される存在で、日本の古典的な伝承にもジュ ゴンは天候を支配していると信じられていました。また ジュゴンは神の一種で、人魚だとも信じられ、漁や食用 たた にすると祟りが起こると信じられていました。しかしなが ら第二次世界大戦後の食糧難のときにジュゴンは漁獲 され生体数は激減してしまいました。 ジュゴンは大変センシティブな動物で、静かな環境 でしか生息できません。海中を伝わる騒音や光を感じ ただけでも逃げだしてしまう。毎日ジュゴンは湾の中で かいさんけんか 海産顕花植物を食べて育ちます。湾のエコシステムでも あるその海草藻場が失われることは彼らにとって死を 意味します。またジュゴンはマナティーと違って海水で しか生息できず、さらに食用としている海産顕花植物を 吸引するように摂取するために、ほかの海草では代用と ならないのです。また海中に漂うように生息するために 海の捕食動物の標的になりやすいことも事実です。寿命 は 70 歳以上ですが、出産できる期間はほんのわずか。 過去 10 年間で生息が確認できた数は 3 頭(雄、雌、若 い雄)ですが、最近になって母親と子供のジュゴンも確 認され、もっと生息しているのではと期待が寄せられて います。

AUTUMN 2017

35


Henoko in the Crosshairs Similar to Hawaii, Okinawa relies heavily on tourism and the military. Following a post-World War II treaty in 1960, Okinawa hosts 75% of U.S. military bases located in Japan and about half the troops, although Okinawa accounts for just 0.6% of Japanese territory. In recent years, Henoko has periodically appeared in the media for local protests against the expansion of a U.S. marine base in Oura Bay. Oura Bay’s deep channels, ocean currents and varied sea level heights result in a diversity of wildlife found nowhere else. Unfortunately this

辺野古の危機 ハワイに似て沖縄には過剰な観光開発と軍関係 の基地が存在します。第二次世界大戦後の 1960 年に 結ばれた条約で在日米軍の 75% が沖縄に集中してい ます。しかも米兵の約半数が沖縄に在留しているにも関 わらず、沖縄は日本の領土の 0.6% でしかないのです。 近年、辺野古は大浦湾の米海軍の基地拡充に反対 する運動でメディアにたびたび登場しています。大浦湾 の海には深い海峡があり、海流の動きも活発です。その ためにそこは海洋動植物の宝庫ともいえ、ほかにこのよ

36

TRAVELER

natural bay is also an ideal location to harbor massive air craft carriers. The V-shaped air strip to be built into the bay will not go over the blue coral, but a drastic change in the shoreline would destroy the current environment as tides would shift and existing marine life either flee or starve. While the expansion was proposed in 1996, construction only began in June 2017 after two decades of being delayed by lawsuits and protests. As it is, the dugongs have already exited the scene especially during an environment assessment when the government set up sensors to scan dugong activity, scaring the creatures away in the process. Construction plans continued

after nothing showed up, but according to the Nature Conservation Society of Japan (NACS-J), prior research from 2015 showed fresh feeding trails and dugong excretion in the region. There are still traces of the dugongs’ presence in nearby waters outside the construction zone, but this location remains undisclosed due to concerns of scaring the dugongs away again. Today, Oura Bay is dotted with orange floats held down by concrete blocks to demark the expansion area. There are local demonstrators waving rainbow peace flags both on land and in canoes. The issue is a sensitive matter, mainly divided between protestors and those who feel like they have no other choice.

うな場所は見当たりません。しかし、この湾は航空母艦 の港としても最適な地勢を備えているのです。V 型の滑 走路は青サンゴの上には建設されない計画ですが、海岸 線が破壊されたら海流に影響をおよぼし、その潮の著し い変化によって海の生態系は破壊されてしまうでしょう。 この計画は 1996 年に提出されましたが、建設がはじ まったのは 2017 年の 6 月からでした。反対運動などの 訴訟で 20 年間着工が遅れたのです。 政府によってジュゴンの生態調査がおこなわれまし たが、その設置されたセンサーに驚いたジュゴンはそこ から逃げてどこかに消えてしまいました。ジュゴンの生態 が確認されなかったということで建設計画は予定どおり

に進められることになりました。しかし日本自然保護協 会の 2015 年の調査によれば、ジュゴンが海草を食ん だ跡や排泄物がこの海域で発見されたという記録があり ます。建設地の外では現在もジュゴンが海草を食んだ跡 が確認されていますが、その場所はジュゴンを守るため に公表されていません。 現在、大浦湾では建設予定地を示すコンクリートブ ロックが沈められ、それを示すオレンジ色のブイが海に 点在しています。地元の活動家たちは陸と海で平和を表 す虹色の旗を振って反対運動をつづけています。しかし 活動をつづける人々と選択の余地はないと諦めている人 たちのあいだに隔たりが起きているのは事実です。


“ZAN” The Movie Four years ago, Irishman Rick Grebach launched Tokyo-based ImageMill, a production company dedicated to serving ethical, sustainable brands. As a supporter of “1% For the Planet,” ImageMill gives back 1% of their earnings to NACS-J. “I grew up in a peace activist family in a politically unstable Belfast,” Grebach says. “Even as a kid, I was carrying little placards and protesting.” When Grebach heard about the Oura Bay protests through NACS-J, he saw similarities between the two towns, both isolated from the mainstream eye and subdued under the central

ドキュメンタリー『ザン』 4 年 前、アイル ランド 人 のリック・グ レバック は東京を拠点として、倫理的にかなうサスティナブルなブ ランドのために働くプロダクション、イメージミルを設立 しました。“1% For the Planet” のサポーターでもある この会社は日本自然保護協会を応援しています。 「私はベルファストの平和活動家の家に育ちまし た」とグレバックは説明しました。 「子供のときにすでに プラカードを持って抗議行動をした経験もあるんです」。 グレバックが大浦湾の反対運動の話を、日本自然保護協 会を通じて耳にしたとき、政府が自分たちの計画を推進

government’s plans. Grebach immediately felt a connection and flew down to Okinawa to film “ZAN,” an investigative documentary on the dugongs in Henoko, which is where he met Yu Kisami. Born and raised in Tokyo, Kisami was visiting his father who had retired and moved to join the Henoko protests. After hopping on the same diving boat as Grebach, Kisami joined the “ZAN” project and is the protagonist of the film. “ZAN” follows Kisami’s arduous journey to find the Okinawa dugong. Along the way, he meets local villagers and researchers who are deeply rooted to the land and ocean but have little say in their district’s future.

Although finding an immediate solution is difficult, ImageMill hopes that this film will shed light on Henoko and raise awareness both locally and internationally. The film has taken two years to produce. “We’d like to move the emphasis away from reliance on military,” Grebach explains. “Not only is this expansion causing Japan a lot of money, but it raises concerns on security measures as Henoko may become a target. Instead, there should be greater support on taking advantage of the biodiversity and developing ecotourism i n t h i s l o c a t i o n , eve n re n ewa b l e e n e rg y infrastructure, and programs that teach the local people skills.”

するために、この地域を一般大衆が注目しないようにコ ントロールしていると考えました。辺野古のジュゴンを調 査するドキュメンタリー映画のためにグレバックはすぐに き さ み ゆう 沖縄へ飛び、木佐美 有とそこで出会いました。 木佐美は東京で生まれて育ちました。彼は辺野古 の反対運動に参加している父親に会いに来ていました。 グレバックは木佐美とダイビングのボートに同乗したこ とがきっかけとなり、 『ザン』のプロジェクトに参加し、映 画の主役も務めることになりました。 映画『ザン』は沖縄のジュゴンを調査する木佐美の 懸命な姿が描かれています。その映画の中で、彼は地元の 村人や研究者と出会います。彼らはこの地と深い関わりが ありますが、未来に希望を抱いていません。この辺野古の

問題にはただちに解決できる道は存在しません。イメージ ミルが願うのはこの問題に光を当てて、地域だけでなく国 際的な認知を高めたいと考えていることです。 この映画がプロデュースされるのに 2 年が費や されました。 「軍事的な依存度が拡大されないように したいと思っています」とグレバックは説明します。 「この 依存度の拡大は日本に莫大な維持費の負担がかかるだ けでなく、辺野古が軍事的な標的になってしまうことも 問題です。その代わりに多様な海洋生物のサポートやこ の地を生かしたエコツーリズム、そして再生可能なエネ ルギー・インフラストラクチャーの整備や地元の人々に 自立のスキルを教えるプログラムを推し進めるべきだと 考えています」

AUTUMN 2017

37


ImageMill is currently working with local groups to organize tours and programs introducing local and international visitors to Henoko’s wildlife. Originally set to premier this winter, “ZAN” was hurriedly released this summer after news of the construction broke. The documentary has garnered the support of brands including Patagonia and Nauticam and will be shown at Yujiku Asagaya Theater in Tokyo at 8:30 p.m. from Nov. 11-17. Hosting screenings can also be arranged.

For more information visit www.zanthemovie.com.

イメージミルは現在地元のグループと共同して辺野古の自然を さまざまな人々へ紹介するためのプログラムを開発するプロジェクト をはじめています。 今年の冬に公開が計画されていた映画『ザン』は辺野古の建設 推進が発表されたために上映を早めることになりました。 このドキュメンタリー映画はパタゴニアやニューティカムのサ ポートを得て東京のユージク阿佐ヶ谷シアターで 11 月 11 〜 17 日 (開場 8:30pm)に公開予定です。

詳しい情報は www.zanthemovie.com.

38

TRAVELER


Travel Tips Explore Oura Bay’s white sandy beaches, clear waters and mangroves for yourself. There are regular flights from most domestic airports to Naha. Note there are currently very few Englishspeaking services available in the area.

Dugong no Sato operates diving, kayaking, glass boat, hiking and wildlife observation tours. Bookings can be made online or by phone (Japanese only). www.dugongnosato.jp Oumi Dive Shop hosts dives at Oura Bay (by reservation only). www.ds-oumi.com Teruya Guest House is a three-minute walk to the shore and comes with free parking and a wood deck perfect for barbecues. The adjacent restaurant is a popular place to mingle with the locals. To book, call 090-9783-7477.

観光案内 大浦湾の白い砂浜とクリアーな海水そしてマング ローブの林は自然の魅力がたっぷりです。ここへのアクセ スは那覇空港からが便利です。海外から訪れる方は、こ のエリアには英語のサービスが受けられる場所が少ない ことお忘れなく。 「ジュゴンの里」ではダイビングやカヤッキング、 グラスボート、ハイキングと自然観察ツアーなどのサー ビスが用 意されています。予 約はオンラインか 電 話 でも受けつけます。 ( 英 語のサービスはありません)

www.dugongnosato.jp

「桜海ダイブショップ」では大浦湾のダイビングを ホストいたします ( 予約のみ )。www.ds-oumi.com 「民宿テルヤ」は海岸から歩いて 3 分のところにあ ります。無料駐車場とウッドデッキはバーベキューにパー フェクト。隣接したレストランは地元の人たちにも人気が あります。予約は 090-9783-7477 まで。

AUTUMN 2017

39


A

n afternoon storm sends us scuttling under the eaves of a sari shop and clears the road in Besi Sahar. Only a few buses trundle over the uneven stone surface of the road in this mountain town, the starting point for many of Nepal’s most popular treks, including the Gurung Heritage Trek. “It’s weird to have a thunderstorm this time of year,” says Eli Amkraut, a friend who will guide my husband and I along a section of the Gurung Heritage Trek near his home. Along this 80-kilometer trail in the Annapurna Region, hikers pass through a series of traditional villages populated by the Gurung, one of Nepal’s native people. Our shortened version of this five to seven-day trip promises stunning scenery and the chance to meet and talk with local people and participate, however briefly, in their daily lives. Clear blue skies and glimpses of the jagged snow-covered Himalayas greet us the next morning as we set out. “Nepalis say it’s not a mountain if it doesn’t have snow on it,” Eli says with a nod to the view. I tilt my head back for a better look at the nonmountains that rose nearly straight up from the riverbed below and feel a twinge of trepidation about the journey ahead. Our path narrows and widens as it cuts between fields, houses and groves of trees. Women carrying huge sacks on their backs filled with cement, seed corn, firewood or dried cow manure pass us, the tump line that crosses their foreheads taut over their shoulders. They greet us cheerfully, their steps sure but slow in their brightly colored flip-flops and saris. “Balum Chaur is over the next rise,” Eli says, and soon we pass through a tidy cluster of stone houses surrounded by fields. Villagers wave, and children call “Namaste!” as we walk. Nearby, a farmer walks behind a water buffalo, tilling his field for planting before the monsoons. Eli introduces us to Dilma Gurung, the

40

TRAVELER

シサハールの道路を洗い流す午後の嵐。 私たちは急いでサリーショップの軒下へ 行く。山の町のゴツゴツとした石の道をノ ロノロと走る数台のバス。ここはグルンヘ リテージ・トレッキングを含む、ネパールでもっとも人気 のトレッキングコースのスタートポイントだ。 「この時期にこんな嵐が来るのは珍しいな」。案内 人のエリ・アムクラウトは言った。彼は私たち夫婦に、グ ルンヘリテージ・トレッキングコースのなかで、彼が住む 家の近隣エリアの案内をしてくれるのだ。アンナプルナ 地方での 80km におよぶこのコースでハイカーたちは、 ネパール地方の山岳民族であるグルン族の伝統的な 村々を訪れている。短い旅ではあるが、この 5 〜 7 日間 では目がくらむような美しい景色に出会い、現地人に出 会い、また彼らの日常生活を少しではあるが体験するこ とができる。 翌 朝出発 時、真っ青な空を背にチラリと見える 雪で覆われたヒマラヤのギザギザとした山の頂に挨拶 をする。 「ネパール人は雪のない山なんて山じゃないんだっ て言うんだよ」。エリはその景色を見てうなずきながら 言った。私は河床からまっすぐにそびえ立つ「山じゃない 所」を首を傾けて見ながら、いまからはじまる旅にうずき おののくのだった。 私たち夫婦の行く道は、広くなったり狭くなったり しながら野原や家々や木立を割いて行く。道中ですれ違 う女性たち。背負われた大きな袋にはセメントやトウモ ロコシの種、薪や牛の飼料などが入っている。袋の端か ら伸びるタンプラインの革紐が肩からピンと張られて額 まで伸び、重い荷物が額で支えられている。女性たちは 私たちに陽気に挨拶をしてくれる。明るい色のサリーと まと サンダルを見に纏い、ゆっくりだがしっかりとした足取り で歩いてゆく。 「次に来るのはバルムチャウルだ。」エリはそう言っ た。そして私たちは野辺に囲まれた、石でできた家々の 集落を通り抜けていった。村人は手を振り、子供たちは 通りすがりに「ナマステ」と声をかけてくれる。近くでは モンスーンの季節が来る前に、畑を耕すため農夫が水牛 の後を歩いている。 エリは、ミルシェ村の健康ボランティアであるジル マ・グルンを紹介してくれた。彼女のワークグループが ちょうど薪割りを終えたところだった。薪コンロは、ガス


community healthy volunteer for the village of Mirche, just as her work group finishes cutting firewood. Wood-fired cookstoves remain vital as periodic blockades at the Indian border cut off gas supplies. Our route goes past her home, so she walks with us, mulling over what to plant on the hillside now that the trees are gone. Dilma’s house is a two-story structure made of stone, plaster, lath and wood. A log beehive hangs under the eaves, homage to the region’s famed honey, the bees coming and going as chickens chase a kitten into the house. Dilma’s mother and father-in-law sit outside on a large orange carpet shucking corn. Her husband is away in the military, so the three of them live and work together. She offers us tea, but we decline, eager to continue. Instead, she gives us some corn seeds. “They’re not genetically modified,” her father-in-law calls over his shoulder, and we thank them. Soon, our path climbs a series of large white stone steps leading up a ridgeline to a towering pipal tree. A group of children sit singing on the stone platform ringing its base, their voices

の供給が定期的に遮断されるインド国境のこの地方で はいまだに生活に欠かせないものだ。私たちのルートは ジルマの家を通り過ぎるので、彼女も私たちといっしょ に歩いた。薪木を切り終えた山の斜面に、今度はなにを 植えようかと考えながら。 ジルマの家は 2 階建てで、石、土壁、木舞の壁と 木でできていた。地域で取れるハチミツにちなんで、 丸太でできたハチの巣のオマージュが軒から吊るされ ている。家にはハチが忙しそうに出入りをしている。外で は、オレンジ色の大きなカーペットのようになったトウモ ロコシの皮が広がり、そこにジルマの母親と義理の父が 座っている。ジルマの夫は兵役で留守にしていて、残さ れた 3 人がここで働き生活をしている。ジルマはお茶を と言ってくれたが、私たちは先を急ぐので丁重にお断り した。ジルマはトウモロコシの種を少し分けてくれた。彼 女の義理の父親が振り向きざまに「そのトウモロコシは 遺伝子組換えではないからね」と言った。そしてお礼を いって先に進んだ。  その後、私たちは稜線へとつづく大きな白い石段 を登り、その先で高くそびえるインドイチジクの木へたど り着いた。そこでは子供たちが石造りの舞台を囲んで座 りながら歌を歌っていた。その声は谷に広がる無数の棚 田を越えて響きわたっていた。子供たちがチョコレート が欲しいとねだってきたので、その代わりに写真を撮ら せてほしいと言うと、喜んでうなずいてくれた。

AUTUMN 2017

41


echoing over the valley and to the steep, distant hills wrinkled with countless terraced fields. They demand chocolate, but we offer instead to take their photo and show it to them. They agree. “Now, we enter what Nepalis call the jungle,” Eli says. Woody shrubs along with a variety of vines and other plants grow in the shade of tall trees. Three bleating water buffalo calves come down the path, followed by lumbering adults. I pause and eye their thick curved horns and muscular bodies with trepidation. “If you’re worried,” Eli tells me, “Just pick up a stick.” Without taking my eyes from them, I do as he suggests. They dash away. We stop for lunch—rice, dal, and spicy takari—in the shaded interior of a roadside inn, grateful for a reprieve from the daily warm snap that begins around 10:30 a.m. and lasts until about 3 p.m. A local woman invites us to see her garden on the terrace below her stone house, and we find a living canvas where vegetables, flowers and herbs swirl together in swaths of yellow, orange, and green. Her daughter-in-law pounds turmeric in an outbuilding nearby and shows us the rich gold powder as we lean in the doorway. Our next stop is the village of Bhujung, where we will spend the night. Schoolchildren, their white uniform shirts blazing in the sun, make their way home for the day. A herd of goats pass, they and their herders also heading toward Bhujung. As we go down a slope, the

42

TRAVELER

「さあ、ここからはネパール人がジャングルと呼ん でいる所に入る」とエリが言った。高い木の下にさまざ まなツルが絡みついた低木やそのほかの植物が育ってい る。水牛の子供が鳴きながら道を下ってくる。その後を 重たそうな足取りの親の水牛がついてくる。立ち止まっ て、その太く曲がったツノや筋肉質な身体を恐怖を感じ ながら見る。「怖いなら…」エリが教えてくれた。「棒 を拾って持ち上げたらいい。」水牛から目を離さずに、 私は彼の言うとおりにした。そうしたら水牛たちは逃げ 去っていった。 昼食。ごはんとダルとスパイシーなタカリ。道路脇 にある宿屋でいただく。1 日のうち 10 時半ごろから 3 時ぐらいまでは急に暑くなるので、日陰になったこの場 所はとても有難い。地元の女性が石造りの家のテラスに ある庭を見せてくれた。黄色やオレンジ、緑色の野菜や 花やハーブが咲き乱れるそこは、まるで生きたキャンバ スそのものだった。戸口にもたれていると女性の義理の 娘が来て、離れでつくっているというウコンを粉状にす りつぶしたターメリックパウダーを見せてくれた。 次に向かったのは、一泊を予定しているブジュン 村だ。日の光にきらめく白い制服を着た児童たちの下 校の時刻であった。ヤギの群れがヤギ飼いとともに通 りすぎていった。彼らもまたブジュン村へと向かって いるのだ。坂道を下りるとまた石段の道がはじまる。 すばしっこく走り、飛び跳ねるヤギたちがうらやましく なる。 ブジュン村では石段がどこからか家となって、そこ がまたどこからか石造りの中庭となり、石壁となりまた 離れの家となり、目に見える限りずっとこうした入り組ん だ高台が山の斜面につづいているのだ。山は夕空に照ら されてほんのりとしたピンクに光っている。男が山から 薪を取ってくる。女が太陽にさらしていた小麦や穀類を


stone steps resume, and I envy the nimble little goats as they run and leap ahead. In Bhujung, stone steps morph into stone houses, stone courtyards, stone walls, and stone outbuildings in an intricate weave of terraces that stretch over the hillside as far as the eye can see. Mountains shimmer a soft pink in the evening light, and a man tosses pieces of firewood down from a stack. Women roll up tarps of sun-dried millet and wheat. Log hives hang under the eaves of nearly every home. Eli guides us between tightly packed buildings to the house where we will stay the night. Homestays are an integral part of the trail, offering visitors an intimate look at life in a stone village on the side of a mountain and giving local families some extra income. Our host dabs rice on our foreheads three times and gives us a marigold in welcome. She then shows us the outhouse and shower, cement rooms each with a single electric bulb, before showing us where we will sleep. The three beds in our cozy room over the barn tempt, but first, dinner. Stars glitter overhead by the time we sit down on woven mats on a clean swept cement

片付ける。丸太でできたハチの巣のオマージュはほとん どの家の軒先に吊り下げられてある。 ひしめきあう建物のあいだを抜けて、エリは私たち が今夜泊まる家まで案内してくれた。ホームステイはこ の旅程では欠かせない。旅行者にとっては山の石造りの 家に暮らす人々の暮らしを身近に体験する機会であり、 現地の人々には収入をもたらす機会なのである。私たち のホストは、額に米を 3 度、軽く塗りつけ、そしてマリー ゴールドの花をくれて歓迎してくれた。それから、寝室に 案内する前に家のまわりや、シャワー、電球がひとつ付 いた土壁作りの部屋などを見せてくれた。ベッドが3つ 置かれている心地の良い寝室は魅力的だ。しかし、腹を 満たすのが先決だ。 母屋ではきれいに掃除されたセメントのフロアに じゅうたん 絨 毯が敷かれていた。私たちが席に着くころには、空に 星がキラキラと輝いていた。ホストがチキングリルやスパ イシーなピクルス、米やダルなどをステンレスや銅製の 器に盛りつけてくれる。米からできたラクシという強いお 酒をいただく。登山での疲れと相まって、眠気に襲われ そのまますぐに寝てしまった。 朝食後に私たちが出発するころ、ホストは温かな光 が差す中庭で織り機の準備をしていた。額についていた 米はパリパリに乾いていた。石段をまた上がる。脚の疲 れは取れている。また、今日も旅に出かけよう。私たちは また登り、ガルゴーンという小さな村をめざした。水牛

が黒い皮膚を光らせながらぬかるんだ池でだらりと寝そ べっている。 村の農家をめざす。今夜世話になるホストファミ リーの父親は畑仕事をしていた。彼はズボンではなく伝 統着のルンギとカラフルな帽子を纏っていた。 「たいていの男は、“これは女 性の仕事だ” と言 う」とエリは言った。「でも…」、そして笑いながら付け 加えた。 「“皿洗いが女性の仕事なんだ” と彼が言ってい るのを聞いたことがある」。ホストの男性がこちらに振り 向き、まっすぐ立って手を振っている。 涼しい夜風が吹く山地の農家の細い光に照らされ たベランダで、彼らの長女が用意してくれた食事をいた だく。両親も食事につき、エリが通訳をしてくれる。家族 のこと、食べ物、ホームタウンなど、さまざまな話題につ いて話し、笑顔を共有した。ネパールの小さな農家も私 たちも、そんなに違いはなさそうである。

AUTUMN 2017

43


floor in the main house. Our host places stainless steel and copper plates and bowls before us filled with sweet pungent grilled chicken, spicy pickles, rice and dal. She also serves us raksi, a potent rice liquor, that, combined with our day of climbing, soon sends us to bed. After breakfast, our host sets up her loom in the warm sun of her courtyard as we leave. The fresh dabs of rice dry on my forehead as we ascend the stone steps once more, my legs refreshed and ready for the day’s effort. We climb up and up to Ghale Gaun, a smaller stone village. Water buffalo loll in a pond, their hides shiny black from the cool muddy water, before arriving at a small farmhouse. We encounter the father of the family we will stay with that evening working in a field. He wears a traditional lungi rather than trousers, a colorful Nepali hat on his head. “Most men would say that is women’s work,” Eli comments. “Although,” he smiles, “I have heard him say that doing the dishes is women’s work.” The man straightens and waves when he sees us. The eldest daughter makes dinner as we sit on family’s porch in the cool night air, pinpricks of light evidence of a farmhouse high on a near hill. Both parents join us, and Eli translates. We talk of families, food, and hometowns, finding common threads and sharing laughter. Here on a small farm in Nepal, we are not so different.

44

TRAVELER


When to Go: February and March are the best months for trekking. Avoid monsoon season, if possible. Trek Time: Plan five to seven days for a full circuit, although shorter trips are possible. A guide is recommended for translation purposes. Reasonable fitness required. What to Bring: Dress in layers as temperatures vary quickly throughout the day. Bring little presents for children along the way. Getting There: From Kathmandu there are buses to Besi Sahar. One More Thing: Toilet paper is not generally used in Nepal, so bring some or go local.

ベストシーズン:トレッキングをするならば 2 月から 3 月がベスト。モンスーンの時期は避けたほうがいい。 トレッキング:これより短めの予定をすることも可能で はあるが、フルでまわるならば 5 日から 7 日を予定する とよい。通訳という意味でもガイドを雇う事をお勧めす る。ある程度の体力は必要だ。 持ち物:温度差が激しいので、体温調節をするための重 ね着をお勧めする。道中で出会う子供たちのために小さ なお土産を用意するのもいいだろう。 アクセス : カトマンズからベシサハール行きのバスあり。 最後に:ネパールでは一般的にトイレットペーパーを使 用しないので、持っていくといいだろう(現地のやり方で するならばそれもいいが)。

MARKET WATCH By Joan Bailey

Aoyama Farmers Market

F

ans of the Tokyo markets will surely know the Aoyama Farmers Market. Each weekend nearly 100 vendors fill the generous sidewalk space in front of the United Nations University. Started in 2009 as part of the Marche Japon movement, a government campaign to help an ailing agricultural sector and soothe a citizenry on edge after a series of food scares, the Aoyama Marche is one of a handful still going strong. Themes vary week by week, focusing on regions of the country or kinds of foods. Annual bread, sake, coffee, and wine events are popular as are the food truck weekends when thirty such delicious vehicles set up shop serving savory and sweet treats alike. The normal selection of food

trucks is no slouch either. Visitors can refresh themselves with falafel, three kinds of curry (Japanese, Indian, and Thai), an assortment of pizzas, and sweets. Thirsty patrons preferring a sip of craft beer should keep a sharp eye out for Yuichiro Nakayama, a.k.a. the Tokyo Beer Porter and his 1963 Volkswagen van doubling as a craft beer bar. Year-round, the third weekend of each month features a Night Market complete with many of the usual vendors with produce and products with a little live music as shopping soundtrack. (It is also worth noting that the Tokyo Night Pedal, another great monthly event for cyclists, starts and ends here that same weekend.)

Vendors do vary depending on the season and theme; however, you’ll find those such as Yatsutaka Ichizaki who brings along a fine selection of fresh vegetables from his Yokohama farm as well as Do-Re-Mi Farms who have a wider selection of pickles than you would think possible. Watanabe Farms arrive from Yamagata with sakuranbo (Western cherries) in the spring, and a bevy of other fruit throughout the year. And let’s just say it is difficult to beat the selection of freshly harvested rice come fall. Like many markets, the Aoyama Farmers Market also features vendors selling more than just fresh fruits, vegetables, grains, and a good pickle. Artisans of all types find a home here too. The Tokyo Craft Market, an annual event at the market, features ceramics, textiles, wood and glass creations. Those with an eye for the historical will be pleased to know a small group of antique sellers and antiques crafts are present every Saturday.

Aoyama Farmers Market Every Saturday and Sunday 10 a.m. – 4 p.m. Nearest Stations: Omotesando (5-minute walk) and Shibuya (8-minute walk)

AUTUMN 2017

45


TRAVELER’S JOURNAL

A

bout six years ago, I decided to steer my life in a new direction. I charted a path around the world, connecting bucket list adventures and destinations through 100 countries for a journey that would take me from my expatriate home in China across the globe to the USA. Mine would be a human-powered adventure, yet I wanted to travel in style. I began a search for the ideal mode of transportation, which somehow led me to the recumbent tricycle. The trike would be my company on the fiveto-ten-year adventure I am calling the JaYoe World Tour. “JaYoe” is a take on the Chinese phrase “加油,” meaning “to add fuel.” Combining my love of travel with my passion for video production, I am recording life along the way, producing daily video blog episodes on YouTube to share with the world. Like any monumental undertaking, it was not without its ups and downs. Three months into the start of the tour, back in 2014, a truck struck me from behind breaking some bones, trashing my trike and gear, and setting me back. You can’t keep a motivated traveler down for long, so once I got back on my feet I was ready to get back on the trike. Since then I have re-equipped myself and checked off a few top line bucket list destinations,

46

TRAVELER

such as visiting elusive and mysterious North Korea and climbing Mount Everest. I have been on the road through China and Korea and now traveling through Japan. Living in China for the past eight years, I have had the ability to test my mettle cycling on some truly rough roads, avoiding screaming heavy trucks, oblivious E-bikes and achieving an amazing situational awareness in a chaotic country. I brought this awareness to Japan, and am having an interesting dilemma—I’m over prepared. I’ve found Japanese people are generally more courteous, respectful and accommodating than in China. It’s a welcome dilemma of course, freeing my mind to take in the natural beauty, record the world around me, and flash a big smile to the polite passers-by.

THE PATH

Before arriving in Japan, I had cycled Korea from Seoul to Busan, then around the island of Jeju. I arrived to Japan via a ferry from Busan to Osaka, then cycled for two days across the narrow waist of the country to Maizuru where I boarded another ferry to Otaru, the beautiful port town on Japan’s northern island. I am currently in Hokkaido, preparing to head south through the archipelago until I reach Okinawa. I’ll let life, intuition and the people

I meet dictate my path from there. I like to travel freely, without many defined rules. Major milestones can shift, and between them plans can change with the input of enthusiastic locals or fellow travelers. After leaving Japan, I will continue south to Australia, then change course to Norway, turning south again to the southern tip of Africa, then hitch a ride on a freighter to South America where I will take a sideline trip to Antarctica. Returning to South America, I will head north through Central America and onto the United States, ending in Los Angeles. Simple…right?

FINDING PURPOSE

As I travel, my videos provide me with an infinite workload while I try to capture the story of life on the road. My eyes are peeled in a nonstop pursuit for angles, narratives and characters. In many ways, producing my videos makes me a better traveler, looking at things with a sense of purpose and hopefully a deeper perspective. The modest goal of my videos has been to reveal the true nature of the world. With seemingly infinite information at our fingertips, many people still have a fear of the world outside their front door. I hope to do my part to dispel


that fear, revealing that kindness and beauty far outweigh evil and hate. Today, my YouTube channel has reached 28,000 subscribers, and nearly every week I receive messages thanking me for giving someone a chance to appreciate the world from a new perspective. That’s all the motivation I need to keep going. As a side project, I hope to meet other YouTube creators as I travel, and have reached out to people in Japan in hopes of meeting and learning more about them. I have created a series I call “VLOGGER 1-ON-1,” an interview-based series where I meet and talk to fellow vloggers, learning what inspires them and where they intend to go in the future. If you would like to follow my travels, or if you have an interesting idea or place to visit, you can find my YouTube channel at “JaYoe Nation” or visit the JaYoe World Tour website at www.JaYoe.com.

AUTUMN 2017

47


TRAVELER’S JOURNAL

e h t g n i k i H Thru By Tina Shang

l i a r T u s t e n i h S

Recent movies such as “Wild” and “A Walk in the Woods” have popularized long-distance hiking, causing many of us who enjoy backpacking to wonder what it would be like to complete one of the legendary long distance hiking trails. Here in Japan, the Shinetsu Trail offers even beginner hikers the chance to get a taste of “thru-hiking” a designated trail from end-to-end.

T

he Shinetsu Trail is an 80-kilometer trail that stretches from Mt. Madarao to Mt. Amamizu along a ridge separating Nagano and Niigata prefectures. Modeled after the Appalachian Trail in the United States, it’s one of the rare “long trails” in Japan designed for multi-day trekking and not peakbagging. There are no fancy mountain huts along the trail and not a lot of elevation (the tallest peak is Mt. Madarao at 1,382 meters) or elevation change. Instead, the mellow, well-maintained trail takes you through beautiful beech and cedar forests and crosses many historic mountain passes. To make completing a thru-hike of the trail accessible to more people, local minshuku in the ski towns of Madarao and Togari Onsen provide accommodation for hikers on the Shinetsu Trail and can shuttle you to and from the appropriate trailheads each day. For those looking for a more traditional long trail experience, there are six designated tent sites along the trail as well.

48

TRAVELER

Because I was using the Shinetsu Trail as a practice hike for my John Muir Trail thru-hike attempt this autumn, I planned the hike as a fiveday, four-night tent camping trip. In late June, my hiking partner Genna Rowe and I took the Hokuriku Shinkansen from Tokyo to Iiyama Station and caught a taxi to the Chiroru trailhead near the main lift ticket office for Madarao Kogen Ski Resort. After a steep climb directly up the ski slope to the summit of Mt. Madarao, we were officially on the Shinetsu Trail. The first day of the hike covered Madarao Kogen, which offers views of Mt. Myoko and Lake Nojiri, and takes you through beech forests and alpine marshes. The first tent site on the trail is at idyllic Akaike Pond. We spent our first night on the trail there. Completely sheltered from light pollution, the stars were extremely bright and appearing to hang low above our campsite. The next day, we needed to hike more than twenty kilometers (12.4 miles) to the next

designated campsite. Neither of us had ever hiked that far before in one day, so we were a bit intimidated. Fortunately, the trail predominately followed an old trading route graded for horses and ox carts, so it was easy walking. Just past Tomikura Gap, the trail opened up to sweeping views of the Iiyama Valley. It was here that famed warlord Uesugi Kenshin, daimyo of Echigo Province (present day Niigata), set up camp to battle his rival, Takeda Shingen, who had conquered Shinshu (present day Nagano) during the Sengoku Period (1467-1603), known as the Age of Warring States. Unfortunately, that meant we had little or no shade on a hot, sunny day. We were grateful that our second campsite was also next to a beautiful pond (Katsura Ike) and we promptly jumped in for a brief swim to cool off. Our third day on the trail was the first time I’d really hiked in the rain. My rain jacket wetted out almost immediately and turned into a sauna suit. The first 3.5 km. of the trail after Katsura


Ike was a tough uphill climb to the top of Togari Onsen Ski Resort where we took shelter under one of the ski lifts. After the rain stopped, we were on a narrow knife ridge still windy from the storm. The clouds lifted first on the Nagano side, Chikuma River shining in the valley below, and then, on the Niigata side, with a clear view all the way to Naoetsu Port on the Sea of Japan. The dramatic views of the retreating storm clouds, verdant green valleys and the deep blue Sea of Japan made me thankful it had rained. As we walked north, despite decreasing elevation, we seemed to be walking back into springtime, and on the fourth day we began to see small snow patches still melting into ponds, teaming with frog eggs and other larvae. While the Asian skunk cabbage (the unfortunate English name of the beautiful Mizubasho) was still beautifully blooming at Nonomi Ike when we camped there, recent snowmelt meant we were attacked by swarms of biting flies. On the last day of our hike the incessant flies necessitated learning to break camp really quickly. We didn’t even have time to make coffee, so we took a coffee break at a sunny clearing overlooking Niigata where the trail hooks 90 degrees to the right. Later, we found out that our choice of coffee break spot is the northernmost point of Nagano Prefecture. Unable to stop hiking for long without being bitten, we reached the top of Mt. Amamizu, the official endpoint of the

Shinetsu Trail, earlier than planned at only 10 a.m. Following the hike, we chilled at Daigonji Farm Campground, cured our itchy fly bites at Matsunoyama Onsen, one of the “Three Famous Medicated Onsen” in Japan and eventually returned to Tokyo via Echigo-Yuzawa Station. T h e S h i n e t s u Tr a i l i s r e f r e s h i n g l y u n d eve l o p e d . We h a d e a c h c a m p s i t e t o ourselves. The trail crosses numerous roads and civilization is not far away, but for the entire 80 kilometers there are no visitor centers, shops or

other manned infrastructure. After a couple days, we really had the feeling of being on trail. It’s a great trail for a beginner long-distance trek. If you are looking for a fall hike, the prime season for hiking the Shinetsu Trail must be autumn. There were so many varieties of Japanese maple lining the trail that it must amazing to experience during peak season. More information about the Shinestu Trail can be found at the Shinetsu Trail Club website at www.s-trail.net.

Tina Shang

is a recovering lawyer who has given up climbing the corporate ladder for pursuing her passion of ascending mountains in Japan, Taiwan and overseas. She's currently dragging her backpack along the John Muir Trail, which she hopes to complete before the snow flies this fall in the Range of Light. This winter, you’ll find her in Nozawa Onsen where she works at The Schneider Hotel when not riding powder.

AUTUMN 2017

49


Travel & Adventure

Directory

Amazingly Dry Powder Snow

Head to Hokkaido's last frontier ' ' www.facebook.com/HokkaidoPowderBelt 50

TRAVELER


Travel & Adventure

Directory

AUTUMN 2017

51


Travel & Adventure

Directory

GUNMA

Refresh your Mind, Body & Soul

Refreshing outdoor adventure experiences under 2 hours from Tokyo!

Whitewater rafting, canyoning, adventure combos..... 0278-72-2811 www.canyons.jp 52

TRAVELER


Travel & Adventure

PPYRA A H

Directory

rR te

SHIKO FT

n`s B est Whi te pa -W Ja a

i ng a nd Ca nyo a ft ni ng

res. ntu ve Ad

. KU

.com appyraft info@h 500 0 5 7 ho 0887 toyo-c ahara O n 789-0158 10-4 Iw e k ih c o com ft..c raft a-gun K app yra Nagaok ://www.h

ft http aft HappyR

CELEBRATING HUMAN POWER AND INTRODUCING THE QUIET BACKSTREETS, BEAUTIFUL PARKS AND UNIQUE CULTURE OF TOKYO NOT FOUND ON TOURIST MAPS.

freewheeling.jp AUTUMN 2017

53


Travel & Adventure

Directory

癒しの空間で... 波を心いくまで満喫...

Feel at home... Enjoy the ride...

SNOWBOARD WITH THE LOCALS Nagano ◊ Niseko Alaska ◊ USA ◊ Canada www.cloudlinetours.com

54

TRAVELER

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

Surf Guiding Surf Coaching Luxury Accommodation

www.thechillhouse.com


(&5JOTQJSFE FYQMPSFKBQBO #PPLBUPVS

Every season is a new adventure. Discover yours.

outdoor japan

adventures

www.outdoorjapanadventures.com

Travel &Tour Booking Engine XXXKOUPHPKQ


Outdoor Japan Traveler | Issue 65 | Autumn 2017  

Our Autumn issue (Issue #65) is filled with great journeys, from a walk on the Michinoku Coast Trail to traveler’s journals on the Shinetsu...