In summer of 2012, August, I was lucky enough to be able to take a twelve-day trip in central Honshu (the main, largest island of Japan).
Although there are plenty of problems with my job, one of the huge plusses is the long vacation periods. Granted, it isn't paid vacation, most of the time, but it is time that the schools are closed, and I have time to myself, which I must say is fantastic.
While some people earn a week or two of vacation a year, I got four weeks off, and another two when I was "on call." That means, my company might call me and tell me to do something, but I don't have to go to school, and theoretically, must stay home and work. Work on what, is not clear, as usually, I cannot possibly think of enough busy work related to teaching to occupy me for two forty-hour weeks without teaching classes.
So first, a summary of the trip, with much more detail to follow.
Day 1: trains to Okutama, bus to the trailhead, and climb to the top of Mt. Kumotori (Saitama Prefecture), and sleep overnight in the free emergency hut.
Day 2: climb down the other side of Mt. Kumotori to Mitsumine Shrine, catch a bus to Chichibu and ride the train to Nagano, stay overnight in a hostel.
Day 3: rest in Nagano.
Day 4: trains and buses to the trailhead for Mt. Hiuchi (Niigata Prefecture). Climb up Hiuchi and stay overnight in Koya Ike Hut.
Day 5: Climb down Hiuchi, up Mt. Myoko, and down Mt. Myoko to the Tsubame Onsen area, catch a bus and trains to Toyama and stay the night in a business hotel.
Day 6: rest in Toyama.
Day 7: day trip: take the Alpine Transportation Route to Murodo Station to climb up to Tateyama. Descend, and take trains to Kanazawa.
Day 8: rest in Kanazawa. [meant to be a day trip, hiking Hakusan, but I miscalculated, from Kanazawa, at least, Hakusan cannot be climbed in one day using public transportation--not enough time between first and last bus]
Day 9: rest in Kanazawa.
Day 10: trains to Takayama.
Day 11: rest in Takayama.
Day 12: return to home in Yokosuka.
Here is a map of the path my travels took me on.
(Note: The red arrows don't reflect the actual paths taken on trains and buses.)
In following entries, I'll write about the actual experiences of the trip--which was, I must say, an overall good trip, even with a few rough days, some awful muscle soreness from the hiking, and some miscalculations.
I hope you enjoy reading!