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.
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
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
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
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
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