07/24/2010

Mt. Ibuki...Suki!

Well last Monday was an absolutely glorious Summer Day around these parts and it also happened to be one of many unique National Holidays in J-Land- Ocean Day!

So what did our Elite Trio of Kyoto Kommandos decide to do for this salty Sea celebration?

Why...climb a Mountain, of course.
Specifically this one.

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(a view from the road)

This is Mt. Ibuki (Ibukiyama to you) and for the uninformed this intimidating cloudbuster, topping off at 1377m, is the highest peak in the Kansai area and an inviting challenge for local hikers and outdoorsmen of all ages, genders and stripes and last holiday Monday with its spectacular weather surely brought out some of the best.
If you Happy Travellers out there happen to be feeling fresh, strong and in need of some clean, cool mountain air to go along with some very, very vigorous exercise then look no further. About an hour from Kyoto by train and bus (we roadtripped in our hi-tech Kommandomobile) it's always best to start at the beginning and this is it.

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Pleasant, smallish, traditional and unassuming this peaceful welcome to your climb will doubtless add a smile to your pack and a bounce to your stride.
Our Crew met a group of Seniors here who were full of good cheer and words of encouragement as we said goodbye then bent our backs into the trail, bursting with enthusiasm and pumping energy along with our elbows.




About 90 mins, later we straggled, weary and ready to drop, at what, for my money, was the real beginning of the hike so if you've made it here.......
you've just begun, my Friend!

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Yea it says 880m which surely is more than halfway there, but as we dropped our packs, chugged our water and collapsed at the rest stop we were forced to crane our necks up and squint our eyes as we attempted to locate the the teeny, tiny specks of humanity that were our fellow climbers nearing the peak.
I realized at this point that what we had done so far was simply a lovely uphill stroll in the forest compared with what we had in front our our rapidly sobering, novice faces and feet.

But we soldiered on (along with everyone else) and tackled the more challenging 2nd half of the hill (while enjoying copious water breaks) before fighting our way up the most challenging final steep, harsh, rocky, rocky path to the finish line.
Wait......
Did I just type soldiered, tackled and fighting?
Sorry.....
I meant- wheezed, hung on, and struggling.

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(the previous pic was looking up, this is looking straight down at where we were)

So as we gratefully, finally, after around 3 and 1/2 hrs of pleasure/pain, reached the peak, this being J-Land, what were we greeted by you may not be asking?

Why, mobs of tourists, crowds of sight-seers, clusters of food stands, beer stalls and souvenier shops and all manner of J-Land Holiday thrill seekers of course.
Well, to go along with a grand panoramic view of Lake Biwa and all of Kansai!

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(if you look reeeaaaal close you can see my house)

And the Ice Cream was DeeeeeeLiiiiiCiousssssss!

Turns out you can take the back door and actually drive all the way to the top, park in the spacious parking lot then stroll around at your leisure and snap photos with your friends family, GF's, BF's or perfect strangers.

Who knew?

Anywho...

We got down in around 2 plus tough hours but along the way we spotted a group of guys who had figured out the best way to get down the Hill!

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Mountain breezes just don't get any cooler than that and they got skiing in the winter too!




posted by Billy at 15:40 | Kyoto (Japan)
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