Ogawayama (Mount Ogawa) is known as a "rock climber's paradise." Located near Kawakami Village in Nagano Prefecture, it takes about three hours to reach from Tokyo by car. The mountain is popular for having climbing spots located near its main base. The closest is only minutes away, while the farthest is only about an hour's walk.
On this edition of Journeys in Japan we introduce the appeal of Ogawayama rock climbing, including bouldering. Our reporter Cveto Podlogar takes on the longest climbing route of Ogawayama, called "Eboshi Iwa Sa Ryosen." The route affords the thrill of heights and magnificent views along the way. After much climbing, Cveto enjoys creature comforts-he's glamping, Japanese-style.
Inquiry: Awesome Barbeque (Takateru Fujiwara) Tel: +81-80-4095-1103
Inquiry: Iwane Sanso Tel: +31-267-99-2200
Inquiry: Kimpu Sanso Tel: +81-267-99-2428
To reach it from Tokyo, take the JR Chuo Line to Kobuchizawa Station.
From there, change to the Koumi Line for Shinano Kawakami Station and hop in a taxi.
Traveler: Cveto Podologar > More Info
Occupation:UAIGM International guide
Length of residence in Japan:26 years
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!!
On this climbing tour of Ogawayama for Journeys in Japan, we were really the Team! The conditions were harsh, we didn't expect that...and that made the challenge even greater. I was not simply a guide in charge of the group safety, but just a link in the teamwork chain. Without a great team any challenge on a mountain is not viable.
The start was comfortable: warm weather, dry rock, and just one pitch; though a slight challenge for our director Ichino, who I was guiding. But he made it-and enjoyed it?! And then we moved onto the crack climbing on the "Ogawayama lay back" route, which involved different styles and challenges-and was much harder...But we forgot it all by evening beside the campfire, where we shared a delicious BBQ and wine with climbers from many countries who are based in China.
Next morning, the big finale day... Shock...everything was white, covered with ice and snow.
It was a big challenge for me to decide; go or not to go...the route at Eboshi Iwa has 16 pitches and there is almost no escape line to bring you safely down to the valley.
We went ahead and made it. And I can proudly say we were the team of heroes!
From the viewpoint of high level climbers, it may have seemed not a big deal, but for a newcomer like director Ichino he used all his power, courage and talent to reach the top.
Ogawayama is my favorite free climbing playground in Japan with free style camping,
different styles of climbing (face, crack, multi-pitch, bouldering), safety and close walking distance to the rocks, as well as an easy drive from Tokyo.
A true climbing paradise…So for your worldwide climbing tour list, I definitely recommend Ogawayama.