This is Rick Cogley from Yokohama making a quick companion podcast about my Hakone Myojin Gatake hike.

I went on 3rd September to Saijoji first.

This was basically going down to Odawara and then taking the Daiyuzan line up in the morning to the last stop and finding out right when I got there that there were no buses until 9 o’clock or whatever it was.

So luckily I took a taxi and went up to Saijoji temple.

It was just gorgeous in the morning with no people there basically.

I think I saw two people eventually but basically it was very quiet, very beautiful, a lot of mist, that sort of thing.

Very nice place to be in the morning and more importantly it was you know open so you could walk through it without trouble.

So I walked through there was actually a trailhead sort of down at the bottom of it to the left but I knew there was another trailhead up behind it so I wanted to try that.

So I went up sort of through the temple and there was just a you know a massive number of steps going up and up and up.

I think the last staircase was something like 230 steps or something crazy and then you basically get up to a cedar forest and you’re ascending a ridge.

I think it was about nine kilometers altogether and probably the first five were all ascent and it was about 903 meters up so it was a pretty good hike, pretty tiring.

When you get to the top of the ridge it flattens out and there’s no real indication where you are except on the map it says it’s you know it says it’s the peak but it’s like okay well where’s the marker?

There wasn’t any marker so I kind of kept going, kept looking around for it, finally found it.

It’s kind of just below the summit probably down a couple meters anyway.

I think they just needed a place to build the area for the picnic tables and that sort of thing.

Unfortunately I couldn’t see Mount Fuji.

It was supposed to be visible beyond Kintoki but it wasn’t that day.

You could basically just see the base of it and the rest was covered in cloud and it was you know it was just a really great day.

On the way up by the way I saw a doe.

I was kind of I guess it was about seven o’clock or so 7 a.m and I was walking up.

It was misty, very sort of kind of a spiritual feeling almost.

I heard this rustling on the right and looked over and there’s this doe about I don’t know a few meters away and it was coming closer and I just kind of stared at it and it kind of stared at me and it just reminded me of my dog so it was kind of cool to see.

This doe was probably curious.

I don’t know if that’s very safe for an animal to be curious about humans but at any rate it came kind of a little bit closer and I kind of just stared at it, took a quick video of it, took a couple pictures and then it ran and so that was kind of a kind of a cool little experience on the way up.

A couple places on the way up it’s a little bit dicey.

There’s a couple areas where you lose the trail because there isn’t any so you really need either a compass or you need an app that helps you get pointed in the right direct direction.

There’s a kind of a couple areas that go up look to go up riverbeds and there is a riverbed on the way up but basically that’s not the trail.

It’s kind of more higher and up to the left of that.

You have to look around a bit.

You finally find it and then anyway on the way down I kind of went down the same way when I hiked Miojougatake which is the next peak over.

You just go down and then basically you’re kind of heading down towards the Miyagino area on route 138.

So this is you know it’s basically coming up the back going up and over Miojougatake and then down to sort of the main drag that goes down to Hakone Yumoto.

So anyway I finally made it down.

It was I don’t know what time but it was probably around noon I would I would imagine.

I had a little break at the top.

I came down and then basically you know had a had a drink from a vending machine because I was kind of parched.

It was pretty hot still and then used the toilet at the bus stop and then I got the bus down to Kami Tonosawa which is a station near this onsen I like to go to.

There’s a link I linked it’s called Hakone Yuryo and basically it’s just a nice it’s a it’s basically a day spa.

I mean I think they have rooms pretty sure but essentially you go in you pay I don’t know what it is a couple thousand yen and you can just sit there and soak however much you want and they have a little restaurant so you can get a meal which is really great after a hike because you’re dirty and smelly and muddy and so it’s pretty pretty good to to be able to soak before you you know get changed and get a meal and then get on your way.

So anyway just it was a great a great hike and then like a couple days later I was telling a hiking friend about it and he’s a retired police officer.

He said that he went he did training on this mountain for when he was in the police academy basically they have a kind of training course that all of them have to complete which is he called it mountain climbing training but anyway you know he went up there and there was a there was this kind of older officer he said who during the hike just fell over dead just kind of unbelievable was kind of a shock to hear this story but he said that you know if there’s not you know not other people there you have to think about that think about what’s going to happen what you’re going to do how you’re going to contact people so it kind of just reminded me that safety has to be first on the mountain you have to be prepared and careful that was a little bit of a chilling story to hear after I went up that peak but anyway it was a it was a lot of fun and then I mean the hike itself was fun not the story and then the other thing kind of a new thing I created a I created a translation of Japan’s hike grading assessment there’s basically a grading system that they use which had been agreed by various prefectures so it’s you know it’s ranking hikes on stamina and technical difficulty and so this was a level three and technical difficulty b but anyway if you check out the post you can see the mountain hike grading system that Japan uses and you can learn about that and kind of apply it to your own hikes to give an idea of you know how long it should take and how much how much energy it’s going to require and you can even quickly convert to how many calories you’re going to need so that’s kind of cool too but anyway until next time thanks a lot bye