Karasawa, Nagano

Why I climb?

As a person with full time job in Tokyo area, I have no time, always exposed to competition. Competing time, collogue, and requirement asked by customers. Even in private time outside of my work, I lead the house since I am the only one who understand Japanese. My mother is elder and relying on me for anything digital, which is invading her life day by day.

Please, let me alone. Let me stay in a silent place without motor nor computer.
Surprisingly, I see increasing number of women in high mountain over 3000 meter these days with the same mental state. Japan has changed.

Kami-Kochi (上高地)

  • I took a bus leaving from Sinjuku at 22:30 PM for Kamikochi. Unlike my previous trip in 2018, The bus was too shaky to sleep.  
  • Arrived Kamikochi around 5:30am. 
  • As I walked along Azusa river, I passed a couple of loud people several times. They seem to be prepared for tent, but carrying not so big backup. They asked me where I am going, and I replied I am going Karasawa. I did not see them after Tokusawa. I think they are going to stay at Tokusawa tent area.
  • After walking 1 hours, I took a rest at Tarako rice ball at Mojin.
  • An old guy with pick axe passed me several time. He had quite impressive quick pacing. Later, I met this guy in the Karasawa hut
  • Used bathroom at Tokusawa, and Yokoo. Paid 500 yen instead of 100


  • At Yokoo, I ate Cream bum here

  • Passed a group of late mid age guys in the Karasawa course, at stair case. I assume they are professional mountain worker (rescuer?) coming down from hut area.
  • I met a guy before the Hontani bridge. He told me "Will shake a bit!" Ooh, yes. the Hontani bridge is hanging bridge.
    • After the bridge, the rocky road started to be steep, seriously steep. I had to stop and took a rest having purple sweet potato doughnuts here.
    • I passed a old, short lady. She has oddly light backup for this path... I wondered if she was prepared enough for this hike.
    • The path after the "S gare" was covered with snow due to the avalanche happened a couple weeks ago.
    • I tried to climb up without crampon, but turned around since I decided to wear them after climbing up for 3 meter. 
    • A couple came down, said, slippery slippery! I asked if it would be hard coming down? They said, "It's actually fun! Weeee!"
    • After I saw the roof of Karasawa hutte, I went wrong path following some wrong foot steps, and eventually had to go through the bush to return to the right path. 2 guys came down the staircase to the hutte, they said they also mistook the way to here, and they were the people who left the wrong steps


    • When I reached to Hutte, and asked the master if I could go to Mt. Oku Hotaka from that point. it was 11:10 am. He asked me if I have been there, and I replied no. He said "You better not." I followed the suggestion. After I checked in, I went up the balcony, there was the old professional dude and a lady who I passed in S gare. She was already drinking a can of beer there. (800 yen)
    • It started rainy right after I arrived Hutte. 
    • I rented out my husband's good rain wear, and it was a bit too bulky. I walked around Karasawa snow spoon area. The both path to Kita Hotaka and the path to Oku Hotaka was covered with snow, and really really steep. Ok. I don't think I am equipped for this.
    • I had plum onigiri and bean bread on the balcony, staring at stormy peak of Oku Hotaka.
    • The lady was interesting. She is from Iwate. She is already retired and have a lot of time. She seem not knowing around here, no knowing what is major path, mountains. 
    • She said she stayed Yokoo Inn last night, and said Inn master there told her not to go if she cannot help herself. 
    • She does not have plan where to go next, and asked me if she can go to Yarigatake from there. Even though there is a harder short cut, you have to go back Yokoo to go Yari from there.  She did not know the basic emergency goods such as shelter tent. And she mistook Karasawa hutte and the other one Karasawa koya. It turned out she made reservation in Karasawa Koya.
    • I wondered if she was just reckless, or intended to be reckless. I worried and took her to Karasawa Koya with me. At the tiny corner of my mind, I was hoping she did not come here looking for death.
    • Inn for a night with dinner + breakfast for 13000 yen. 
    • Meals and facilities are better than Sessho Hutte in 2018, for the same price. There was western style bathroooms, although I did not like the meal with too much of carb. I know this is the typical JP meal, especially in mountain huts. 

    • Dinner at 17:30 and breakfast 6:00, turn off lights at 9:00pm
    • I ate white rice after a while, made my stomach gassy. I would not order dinner in this hut any longer.
    • At night time, I read Manga in the Inn, and wrote some diary.
    Next time, I should get to be equipped well, and I should have make reservation on Oku Hotaka Hutte, so that I can use the day light efficiently.

    • Next morning, I woke up a bit after 3 am, walked around spoon are again, hoping to see sunrise. But it was rather sun mist. 
    • I left right after meal, around 6:30. I think I will skip breakfast next time, so that I have liberty to decide what time to leave.
    • That Professional climber with pick axe and aged guy, and another young guy passed me even though they left later than me. Their speed to coming done was amazing for me. I wish I could do that.

    I saw attractive and strange plants on the way to coming down.

    The view of the mountain where I had just came down from Kamikochi

    "Byobu-Iwa": The notorious rock wall where many climbers challenge and fall.

    Returning to Bus terminal in Kamikochi, I saw monkeys around Azusa river, mocking tourists. Kamikochi used to have shower service, but they shut down the service temporarily due to Covid-19. I just changed to dry clothings.

    I could see the city of Matsumoto is trying to attract more climbers who are in younger generations. I liked that idea, but how comes all those manga characters on trains are girls?

    I have a mixed feeling. While I want many people visit mountains, but their way to attract people is only looking at male who like fictional character with big boobs. I believe this is the sign this country still materialize girls, and thinking business opportunity in gender biased manner. Sadly speaking, that is the place where I run into when I need silence from city life.

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