May 31, 2009

Kusatsu, Gunma (May 29th - 31st)

The buses after we got off at the Mt. Kusatsu Shiranesan BS.

On the second day of our trip to Kusatsu, we went to Mt. Kusatsu Shiranesan to see the caldera.
Unfortunately the whole area was covered with mist, so we couldn't get any nice view. It was interesting to ride the ropeway in such a misty situation.

At the entrance to the caldera, which was closed on that day.

Epigaea asiatica (Iwa Nashi).

Prunus nipponica (Mine Zakura).

The road was disappearing!

The view from the ropeway... It was a little scary.

A pond near the ropeway stop at the bottom.

Rhododendron albrechtii (Murasaki-yashio-tsutsuji).

Schizocodon soldanelloides (Iwakagami).

Rhododendron degronianum, or Rhododendron japonicum var. pentamerum (Azuma shakunage).

Rhododendron albrechtii (Murasaki-yashio-tsutsuji).

Rhododendron degronianum, or Rhododendron japonicum var. pentamerum (Azuma shakunage).

Birch forest.

Rhododendron molle subsp. japonicum (Renge Tsutsuji).

Trientalis europaea (Tsumatori-sou).

Kusatsu, Gunma (May 29th - 31st)

Sai-no-kawara in Kusatsu. The hot spring water runs in the river.
You can see the steam in this picture.

Here are some pictures taken near the center of the Kusatsu town.
There are more than a dozen of small public bath for the local people, which are also available for the visitors like us. This area has several hot springs, so you can enjoy different kinds of water depends on each bath. Most of them are really hot and strong acid. So you have to be careful not to bathe for too long.

One of the local public bath.

The inside of the bath above. It was really hot, so we can't even move in the bath, because the tiny movement of the hot water made us feel even hotter.

Our favorite restaurant near Yubatake, named 'Dan'.
This one is the pork ginger set. The pork is really thick and tasty!

At the same restaurant, I ordered the Tuna Sashimi set on the second day.
Some part of the tuna tasted like so-called 'Toro'.

May 16, 2009

Mt. Kumotori - Nippara, Okutama (May 16th)

The hut on the top of Mt. Kumotori.

Today's course:
Mt. Kumotori (6:00) - Mt. Nanatsuishi (7:30) - Mt. Takamaru (8:15) - Mt. Hikage-naguri-hou (9:20) - Mt. Takanosu (10:30) - Nippara (13:50) - Higashi Nippara BS (14:50) - bus - JR Okutama Sta. - Moegi-no-yu hot spring.

This morning the summit of Mt. Kumotori was covered with clouds. The temprature was about 4 degrees. We couldn't get any clear view almost all the way to Mt. Nanatsuishi, but we found quite a few of Viola hirtipes (Sakura Sumire) flowers. We found this kind of violet for the first time. We picked some Pteridium aquilinum (Warabi) sprouts. You can't eat them raw, but it tastes pretty good after cooking properly.

Forest in the clouds.

A shadow dissapearing into the clouds.

It looked different from the day before.

Viburnum furcatum (Mushikari, Oo-kame-no-ki).

Larch young leaves with dew.

Mt. Takamaru.

Viola hirtipes (Sakura Sumire).

Viola hirtipes (Sakura Sumire).
It is hairy in side of the flower, and you can't usually see the inside of the flower.

Viola hirtipes (Sakura Sumire).
We found some bigger ones hiding under the leaves of Ligularia dentata (Marubadakebuki).
I wonder that they like to grow at such a place because deer don't eat Ligularia dentata (Marubadakebuki).

Viola hirtipes (Sakura Sumire).
The leave stem has lots of hair.

Viola hirtipes (Sakura Sumire).

Viola hirtipes (Sakura Sumire).
The flower colors are whitish purple with purple veins all over.

Viola hirtipes (Sakura Sumire).

Viola hirtipes (Sakura Sumire).

Viola hirtipes (Sakura Sumire).

Mt. Takanosu.

Pretty steep way continued from the summit of Mt. Takanosu to Nippara.
We saw quite a few people comming up to Mt. Takanosu, but I wouldn't even try this trail to go up...

The trail was pretty hard, but the forest was really amazing.

Acer japonicum (Hauchiwa-kaede).

Fagus crenata (Buna, Japanese Beech).

The rock named Inamura-iwa.

On the way down from Inamura-iwa to Nippara.

Nippara River.


Kamosawa - Mt. Kumotori (May 15th)

Beautiful greens from Kamosawa BS.

Today's course: JR Okutama Sta. (8:45) - bus - Kamosawa BS (9:20 -9:45) - on foot - Kosode (10:15) - trail in the forest - Doudoko (a small flat place, 12:00) - Mt. Nanatsuishi (13:30 - lunch - 14:00) - Okutamagoya Hut (15:00) - Mt. Kumotori (16:30) - stayed at the hut on the summit.

We went to Mt. Kumotori today. We usually carry a tent with us, but this time we decided to stay at the hut on the summit. At the beginning of the trail we saw some deer and monkeys. The greens were really beautiful all the way, too. Around Mt. Nanatsuishi and Mt. Kumotori, larch leaves were just starting to come out and we found quite a few Viburnum furcatum (Mushikari, Ookamenoki) flowers. In the evening we saw lots of deer, Cervus nippon (Nihon-jika) at the summit of Mt. Kumotori and also we happened to see a Martes melampus melampus (Hondo-ten) passing in the light of our flashlight. It was pretty cute one with yellowish orangish fur. The summit was covered with clouds in the night and got really cold.

Green leaves.

Cervus nippon (Nihon-jika).
It looks like a scene from "Princess Mononoke".

Macaca fuscata (Nihon-zaru).
We saw a group of mokeys including some kid ones. This one was pretty quiet and just sat down there for a while.

On the way to Doudoko.

Maple leaves.

Can you see the white Mt. Fuji?

The view of the trail up to Mt. Kumotori from the top of Mt. Nanatsuishi.

The top of Mt. Nanatsuishi.
The spring is just starting now up there.

The trail to Mt. Kumotori with larch forest.

Viburnum furcatum (Mushikari, Ookamenoki).

Viburnum furcatum (Mushikari, Ookamenoki).

Japanese larch.

Viburnum furcatum (Mushikari, Ookamenoki).

Larch forest with blue sky.

A view from the place on the way to Mt. Kumotori.

Parus ater (Higara).

Tarsiger cyanurus (Ruri-bitaki).

Tarsiger cyanurus (Ruri-bitaki).

The hut on the summit of Mt. Kumotori, where we stayed.

Cherry blossoms were still blooming at the top of Mt. Kumotori.

Tarsiger cyanurus (Ruri-bitaki).

Mt. Kumotori.

Cervus nippon (Nihon-jika).

Cervus nippon (Nihon-jika).

Cervus nippon (Nihon-jika).

Our shadows when we stood at the top of Mt. Kumotori.

View from the top of Mt. Kumotori.

After the sunset.

Cervus nippon (Nihon-jika).
It is not an alien.