By Rey Waters
The Northern Alps of Japan consists of several mountains in the 3,000 meter class such as Mt. Yari and Mt. Hodaka. The gateway to them is Kamikochi. On a crisp, clear morning in early October, we walked along the Azusa River up to Myojin. The view from the forest trail was fascinating; Mt. Yake-dake was covered with a mystical morning mist and thick forests reflected on the shimmering river. Under the sunlight filtering in through the trees, we listened to the birds singing and enjoyed the colorful autumn leaves. We made our way at a leisurely pace and took about 2 hours from Kappa-bashi Bridge to Hodaka Shrine. After stopping by the shrine and its inner pond, we crossed the river on a rope bridge. When we turned around to look, Mt. Myojin was magnificent against the blue sky. Hiking trails flank both sides of the Azusa River, but “Ugan” (go up to the left from Kappa-bashi Bridge) has more viewpoints along the way.
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Japan is a small island nation, but we have a huge number of surprising things to discover here. Many of these delights can be found when you step off the main street onto small side paths. I really enjoy studying about and researching various aspects of traditional Japanese culture, and then sharing this information with visitors to Japan. I hope you will enjoy it, too! ARTICLE INDEX & PHOTOS: An index of most of my Japan Travel articles can be found at the entry page of my blog, and my photos are shown here. 日本はとても小さな国ですが、大通りから一本小道に入ればたくさんの発見があります。日本人が積み重ねてきた歴史を学びながら、古い建物や庭を訪ね、物語の舞台となった景色を眺めて、皆様といっしょに日本文化の奥深さを探求していきたいと思います。