Ken Chin-Purcell

May 26, 2023

Japan day 10: Yoko-o

We woke up to clear skies and a view of the mountains around us.


Ahh, that’s what was up there behind the clouds! The true mountaineers were up and out the door by 6 am, headed for the high peaks. We were more leisurely and enjoyed a Japanese breakfast before setting out for Yoko-o, the next river crossing up the valley.


The swing bridges were all a little different but I liked how they usually made the support pillar in the style of a torii, the gate to a temple. We crossed over the river at a junction called Yoko-o and headed up a side canyon.


The melt water was absolutely clear, no sediment at all.  There’s probably still giardia in there, but I’ve never seen water look cleaner. The four of us proceeded up the valley a ways, with a dramatic rock face across from us.


After a few more miles Michele thought it it was a good turn around point for her and Pam.


Ken and Bill were channeling their inner 25 year olds and forged ahead. Excelsior!


Michele called it exactly right though. Another 100 yards on the snow began, and after a river crossing the trail began to climb.


The views were pretty great though. Somewhere above us was Karasawa, a mountain hut in a saddle between peaks, probably still surrounded by snow. We turned around though when the snow crossings got long and steep - I just didn’t have the right shoes or gear. We disappointed our inner 25 year olds and turned back down.


On they way we opened the bag lunch Tokusawa-en had packed for us.


It was a tasty packet of rice with pickles and goodies mixed in, along with a rather mysterious tube.


It was an orange tube with a little slit at one end. At first I thought it was something like cheese whiz and gave it a good squeeze, but it just bounced back. Then I unwrapped it - some kind of jelly? tofu? Took a bite. Ahhh, the smell of dashi. It’s a fish paste hot dog.

The rice was good. The fish dog I don’t have to repeat.

We caught up with the gals on the way back, they had taken a wrong turn at a trail detour, and arrived at the lodge together. A good hike made the onsen and dinner even better.