Tagged hiking

Return to Mount Kumotori

Having immensely enjoyed the same trail in 2017, in early February this year, I embarked on the overnight hike from Mitsumine Shrine (三峯神社), up to Mt. Kumotori (雲取山), and down to Kamosawa (鴨沢) for the second year running. This time I did it alone and, with snow up to my knees at some points, it was a bit of an invigorating ordeal. Read more

Neuschwanstein Castle

I spent Christmas 2017 with family in the UK but after the festivities and before the New Year managed to squeeze in a short trip to Munich, Salzburg and Zurich.

It was the first time for me to visit all three places and, after spending the last decade predominantly in Asia, I’d almost forgotten just how exceptional the old European cities are. Read more

Traversing Jiankou Great Wall

Almost exactly 10 years after I first arrived in Beijing in 2007 I found myself back there in March 2017. As has sadly become the norm, the city was shrouded in a thick blanket of smog so we decided to head out of the city for the weekend for a hike in the mountains.
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Mt. Kumotori Snow Hike

In recent years I’ve discovered the joys of hiking in Japan, where all levels of experience are catered for with well-maintained trails and some of the best mountain huts in the world. Up until this January, I’d never ventured out during the winter and, as this trip proved, I was missing out! Read more

Kumano Kodō Day 5: Hongū

A gloriously bright morning greeted me on Day 5, the Kumano-gawa River acting as a perfect mirror to the mountains and sky above. Leaving the ryokan just before 8 am, I walked back to the Hatenashi-toge pass trailhead by way of Yanagimoto-bashi bridge. Read more

Kumano Kodō Day 4: Totsukawa Onsen

It rained hard overnight and the valley was shrouded in mist when I awoke at 5 am to the sound of breakfast cooking in the adjacent kitchen. I dozed off till breakfast at 7 am, another feast of local ingredients. Read more

Kumano Kodō Day 3: Miura-guchi

After a fitful nights sleep, I awoke early on Day 3 and had a healthy breakfast of fish, rice and salad before heading out the door at 8.30am. My legs were starting to feel the strain but I was in high spirits. Read more

Kumano Kodō Day 2: Omata

After a good nights sleep at Sekisho-in temple, I got up early to attend the 7 am morning prayer service. It was cold to the bone in the main hall which I was surprised to find packed to overflowing with adherents and curious bystanders like myself. I sat next to a mother with her disabled son who had a special prayer said for him. Read more