6:42 am – Got up
7:54 am – Off we go
8:58 am – 東山 Trail board #52-2
9:05 am – 東山 Trail board #53
9:07 am – 東山 Trail board #54
9:08 am – 東山 Trail board #55
9:13 am – 東山 Trail board #56-1
9:16 am – 東山 Trail board #56-2
9:35 am – 東山 Trail board #57-1
There were two paths from here. I took the one that led to the top of Mt. Uryuzan.
9:39 am – 東山 Trail board #58-1
I missed #57-2.
9:41 am – 東山 Trail board #58-3
I missed #58-2.
9:49 am – 東山 Trail board #59-1
9:50 am – 東山 Trail board #59-2
9:55 am – 東山 Trail board #59-3
9:57 am – Mt. Uryuzan
There’s also a shrine here.
9:58 am – 東山 Trail board #59-4
10:01 am – 東山 Trail board #59-5
10:02 am – Snow
First patch of snow encountered. It gets better. Way better.
10:05 am – 東山 Trail board #60-1
10:11 am – 東山 Trail board #61
It felt like there should have been a #60-2. There’s none, not even on the map.
10:15 am – Another peak
The name is written on the map in Japanese.
10:19 am – 東山 Trail board #62
10:23 am – Another view
I found a decent walking stick somewhere around here.
10:26 am – 東山 Trail board #63
10:29 am – 東山 Trail board #64
10:36 am – Trail blocked
I could probably have crawled under but instead I went through the trees on the right side.
10:42 am – Snow again
10:47 am – More snow
At this point I was just taking pictures of snow patches.
10:51 am – 東山 Trail board #65
11:03 am – 東山 Trail board #66
Two guys on mountain bikes passed me by as I was leaving #66.
11:25 am – A stone torii
11:26 am – 東山 Trail board #67
11:50 am – 東山 Trail board #68
11:53 am – 東山 Trail board #69
11:56 am – Another view
Those are power lines.
12:16 pm – 東山 Trail board #70
It was a climb to around 500 meters. The snow was getting thicker too.
12:21 pm – 東山 Trail board #71
There’s a rest area here.
12:35 pm – 東山 Trail board #72
12:40 pm – 東山 Trail board #73-1
A few steps after leaving #72, the path curves to an uphill climb in snow. This image shows the path from #72. After getting to #73-1, I thought to myself, “What did I get myself into?”
12:45 pm – 東山 Trail board #73-2
An uphill path on the side of the mountain in snow.
12:50 pm – 東山 Trail board #73-3
12:52 pm – Hiei view spot
I had no idea what those were.
12:57 pm – 東山 Trail board #74
This is the last marker for the Higashiyama (東山) Course. See that branch on the right side of the trail board? That’s the walking stick I found back at #62. I stuck it in the snow with the intention of leaving it. My rationale was that I wasn’t going to need it anymore.
These looked like “I was here” notes.
The place was covered in ankle-deep snow.
This was taken under a shed on the far side of where the previous photo was taken. There’s a vending machine to my left. Cable-Hiei station is located a few meters to the right.
1:02 pm – 北山 (East) Trail board #1
This is the start of the Kitayama (北山) Course (East). Remember the walking stick I left back at #74? When I saw this, I immediately went back to get it.
1:18 pm – 北山 (East) Trail board #2
1:20 pm – Ski area
1:24 pm – 北山 (East) Trail board #3
1:31 pm – 北山 (East) Trail board #4
Another rest area.
1:45 pm – 北山 (East) Trail board #5
1:52 pm – 北山 (East) Trail board #6
1:55 pm – 北山 (East) Trail board #7
This was the bridge that separated #6 and #7. I slipped on the far side of the picture (near #6).
Road below the bridge.
1:56 pm – Stairs going down
2:00 pm – More stairs
2:02 pm – Last ones
That’s Jodoin shrine. I peeked inside but didn’t see anybody.
2:04 pm – View from the bottom
2:06 pm – Frozen
2:10 pm – Path to #8
2:12 pm – 北山 (East) Trail board #8
Path that leads to another temple (I think).
2:23 pm – 北山 (East) Trail board #9-1
2:25 pm – 北山 (East) Trail board #9-2
There was a bathroom before I got here but it was closed.
2:29 pm – 北山 (East) Trail board #10-1
2:32 pm – A tunnel
Went through to #10-2. It was echo-y.
2:33 pm – 北山 (East) Trail board #10-2
2:50 pm – 北山 (East) Trail board #11-1
3:03 pm – 北山 (East) Trail board #11-2
3:18 pm – Afternoon sun
3:24 pm – 北山 (East) Trail board #12
3:36 pm – Steep slope
This is an image (looking down) of the steep ~80 meter climb to the peak of Mt. Yokotaka.
3:39 pm – 北山 (East) Trail board #13
It was getting a bit late and I was still at 700+ meters up. I was worried I won’t be able to make it back down before dark. I checked the map further and realized I won’t be out of the mountains until #24.
3:53 pm – 北山 (East) Trail board #15
I missed #14.
4:12 pm – 北山 (East) Trail board #16-1
Another peak (Mt. Mizuiyama, 794 m: highest in the trail) after another steep snowy climb from #15.
4:20 pm – 北山 (East) Trail board #16-2
4:30 pm – 北山 (East) Trail board #16-3
4:38 pm – 北山 (East) Trail board #16-4
4:54 pm – 北山 (East) Trail board #17
5:05 pm – 北山 (East) Trail board #18
5:17 pm – 北山 (East) Trail board #19
This was the start of a very long downhill path as the light from the sun was slowly fading.
5:38 pm – 北山 (East) Trail board #20
At this point it was already dark. I was actually biting on a tiny flashlight as I took this picture. This was at the bottom of the downhill path from #19.
5:41 pm – 北山 (East) Trail board #21
Getting here was kind of tricky. First of all it was already dark, I couldn’t be sure if I’m still on the right path. Second, because the area had less snow, I couldn’t really see any footprints that I can follow.
5:56 pm – A gate
A few meters after #21 there weren’t much snow at all. Some parts of the path were moist and a few were on ice. In fact, I slipped again and this time my ass landed on a hard surface. I did not really see that I was stepping on ice (I had a tiny flashlight with three LEDs). Anyway, after a few meters of slower paced walking, I ran into this gate. Naturally, I panicked. Checked the map and there was indeed a gate. Even with the help of the phone’s flashlight, all I could see were more trees. I calmed down a bit and thought things through. I then entertained the possibility of spending the night there. Changed my mind and further checked the gate to see if I could climb over it (probably a little over 6 feet). The gate looked a bit flimsy so I decided against it, thinking I wouldn’t want to get deported for destruction of property.
6:01 pm – Tiny latch
As I was examining the gate, I saw a tiny piece of metal sticking out near the bottom of one of the gate posts. I tried moving it and as it went up, it opened a smaller part on the left side of the gate. This is what the latch looked like from the other side of the gate.
6:04 pm – 北山 (East) Trail board #22
6:06 pm – 北山 (East) Trail board #23
Ah, sweet concrete.
6:10 pm – Goodbye my friend
I said goodbye to my faithful side-stick (Get it? It rhymes with sidekick). Thank you for the numerous times you’ve kept me from falling over.
6:11 pm – 北山 (East) Trail board #24
I saw a bus stop nearby and decided to call it a day.
7:54 pm – Home sweet home
10:01 pm – Finally finished doing laundry