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Tue, Apr. 5, 2016 Yatsugatake: Outdoor Winter Play
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The Yatsugatake mountain range-just 150 kilometers west of Tokyo-is a convenient destination for outdoor winters sports. Ice climbing is one of its popular attractions. Beginners can even get in practice on an artificial ice wall near a mountain hut before taking on the area's many waterfalls.
On Journeys in Japan we practice ice climbing and head to the summit of Yatsugatake's highest mountain, Mt. Akadake (2,899 m), passing through a ravine with a series of frozen waterfalls.
Cveto Podlogar is an experienced alpinist who has scaled numerous peaks around the world. He is not only our reporter, but also our guide to the area's fantastic ice climbing and snow trekking.

Jogo Ravine
Jogo Ravine
The Jogo Ravine, which runs north of Mt. Akadake, has a number of waterfalls, and attracts many novice climbers. This time, we scaled F1, F2 and the Niagara-all of which have routes for people with limited experience.
Just a three-hour walk from Minotoguchi-the gateway to the Yatsugatake mountains-many climbers use this site as a base camp in winter. The mountain lodge is open year-round, but its bathing facilities are closed during winter. Rooms with beds are also available.
TEL: +81-90-4824-9986
Ice Candy
Ice Candy
The owners of the Akadake-kosen lodge built this artificial ice wall for ice climbing practice. Climbers are required to register at the lodge. Rental equipment is available. Lessons must be pre-booked. Beginners should always partner up with an experienced ice climber.
Mt. Akadake
Mt. Akadake
There are two major routes to reach Mt. Akadake from the western side: Jizo-one and Bunzaburo-one ridges. We chose to climb via Bunzaburo-one. The peak is about 3,000 meters above sea level, so temperatures are low and winds strong. It's advisable to climb with an experienced hiker.
This ocarina studio is in Hara, Nagano Prefecture, at the foot of Yatsugatake. June's owners produce rare wooden ocarinas, hold workshops on their craftsmanship and organize concerts.
For more information, call Hococo, at +81-266-75-3533
Direct bus services are available between Tokyo and the gateway to the Yatsugatake mountain range.
You can also take the JR Chuo Line to Chino station, and catch a bus from there.
Travel Log

Traveler: Cveto Podlogar > More Info


Occupation:UAIGM International guide

Length of residence in Japan:25years

Reason: Journey!!!
By Trans-Siberian railway to China; spent 6 months in Tibet; then came to Japan and made a journey all over Honshu Island by bicycle; interviewed by Yamagata NHK at the time; met Chiharu-san (partner)... and stayed!!

Traveler's Archives:

> Mt. Tsurugi: Attacking the Palace of Crags

> Mt. Hotaka: Climbing to the roof of Japan

A relatively short drive from Tokyo, when the weather is fine, you may be in luck to glimpse Mt. Fuji. Then, a while a later, the Yatsugatake mountain range will come into view. According to legend, Yatsugatake-which translates literally into eight peaks-once soared higher than Mt. Fuji.

Yatsugatake is a leading destination for climbers of all ability levels, year-round. Many huts stay open in the winter season, making it convenient for climbers who wish to challenge serious ascents to the more demanding summits.

And that's what we did on this program. We scaled the highest summit, Mt. Akadake (2899m), via a normal route in perfect weather. The 360-panorama view was breathtaking: Mt. Fuji, the Northern and Southern Alps, the active volcanoes Asamayama, Ontake... This is a view you don't get very often.

The winter temperatures often drop very low at Yatsugatake, which makes conditions excellent for the destination's second popular attraction: ice climbing. People of all ages enjoy taking on the frozen waterfalls... if not on natural ice then on artificial ice. Ice Candy is the name of an ice wall built for practice. If you get cold you can escape to the Akadake-kosen mountain hut, which operates Ice Candy.

Even if you're not a climber, you will certainly enjoy the beautiful scenery of the amazing "eight peaks," just two hours drive from Tokyo. Plus there are many more local attractions everywhere at the base of the mountain.

For me, as professional guide, Yatsugatake has a special place in my heart and I'm always returning with joy to challenge the fine ice lines, ridges and frozen gullies...

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