Visiting Kawamata and Iitate, and climbing Mt. Megami, October 27, 2019. (女神山に登り、川俣町、飯舘村に行く 2019年10月27日。)

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Today I participated in one-day group tour through Kawamata and Iitate area organized by Environment Restoration Plaza in Fukushima. The tour included climbing Mount Megami (599m) in the morning, having Kawamata Shamo lunch, which was a popular local specialty food, tea break at Chieko teahouse, and stopping at Yamada Cattle Farm. About 20 people participated in the tour from across eastern part of Japan and we had a good exercise climbing the local mountain. Photo above was a view at the top of Mt. Megami in Kawamata.
本日は、環境再生プラザ(環境省/福島県)主催の、川俣町と飯舘村を巡るツアーに参加しました。内容は、川俣地元の女神山(599m)登山、特産の川俣シャモランチ、飯舘のちえこのきまぐれ茶屋と山田牧場、と多彩でした。首都圏含み20人ほどが参加し、最初は登山で汗を流しました。写真は、女神山山頂です。

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The mountain trail started from Akiyama community center as shown above. This was located not far from the famous Akiyama Komazakura cherry tree.
登山道は、写真の秋山集会所からスタートです。有名な、秋山の駒ザクラに近いです。

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Although it was not a very high mountain, a first order triangulation point was placed at the summit, as shown above, due to its fine surrounding view.
女神山は低山ですが、周囲が見渡せるので一等三角点が置かれています。

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We enjoyed autumn leaves along the trail as shown above. I measured radiation exposure during the mountain trekking. Although mountain trails have not been decontaminated since Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant accident, the resulting accumulated radiation was 3.26μSv, which was just normal and negligible compared to natural background radiation.
写真のように、一部紅葉も鮮やかでした。道中、放射線量を測りましたが、山は特別な除染をしていませんが、積算線量として3.26μSvと自然放射線の中で誤差の範囲でした。

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There were a couple of shrines at the top: Otehime Shrine and Hebi (or Snake) Shrine, as shown above in the back and in the forefront. Both were based on a legend which dates back to 6th century. A couple of elderly local volunteer guides led us climbing the mountain and they also told us importance of mountain, water, and woods. Many of us were impressed by the powerful talk.
山頂には、小手姫神社(写真後ろ)とヘビ神社(写真手前)の2つが置かれ、6世紀頃の伝説に因みます。地元の年配の山のガイドさんの導きで登り、ガイドさんは山、水、森の大切さを良く話してくださり、その迫力に感動しました。

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We found a rare wild edible plant called Gonboppa as shown above. The leaves are used to make Shimimochi, a local specialty rice cake made from glutinous rice and leaves of wild plants.
また、「ごんぼっぱ」と呼ぶ写真の珍しい野草も沿道にありました。この葉っぱを餅米に入れて凍らし、特産の凍もち(しみもち)を作ります。

At lunch time, we stopped at a restaurant “Shinkawa” in the city center of Kawamata. We had a local specialty menu of Kawamata Shamo chicken and egg bowl which was juicy and excellent.
ランチは、川俣町中心部の割烹新川で、特産の川俣シャモの親子丼をいただきました。柔らかく極上でした。

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In the afternoon, we stopped at Chieko’s teahouse, as shown above, which opened on the 1st of this May, which was the first day of Reiwa Era. Gramma Chieko in her 70’s was born and lived in Iitate Village. She had hard times before and after the Great East Japan earthquake with her cancer treatment, evacuation, her husband’s death and difficulties starting up her new business. But she started producing local specialty shimimochi and finally reopened her antique style cafeteria for serving shimimochi dessert dish. She told us her story of hardship as well as success of reopening the teahouse, while we tasted the excellent shimimochi dessert with home-grown vegetables. Many of us were moved by her resilience.
午後は、飯舘村の写真の「ちえこのきまぐれ茶屋」に寄りました。今年5月1日(令和初日)に再オープンしました。70代のちえこさんは、飯舘生まれ飯舘育ちですが、震災前後から色々な困難(ガン治療、避難、死別、起業の苦労など)に出会いましたが、凍もち作りなどを始め茶屋の再オープンにもこぎつけました。写真のように、アンティーク風の茶屋では、ちえこさんの話を聞きながら凍もちと自家野菜を大変おいしくいただきました。ちえこさんのパワフルな生き方に皆さん感動しました。

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The final stop was Yamada Cattle Farm in Iitate Village, as shown above, which raises quality beef cattle. Due to the entire village evacuation caused by the nuclear plant accident in 2011, the farm was once forced to close, but it restarted this July with new cowsheds. Iitate beef was quality brand beef before the accident and we felt the family’s powerful momentum toward the revitalization of the region.
最後は、飯舘村の山田牧場です(写真)。高品質の黒毛和牛を飼育しています。2011年の原発事故に伴う全村避難で一時中断しましたが、今年7月に再開しました。事故前は、飯舘牛はブランド牛でしたが、地域の復興に向けてその勢いを感じさせるお話でした。

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Finally, we came to Kikori Hall, as shown above, which was Iitate Village community center as well as accommodation facility. We had 1.5hr discussion on how we felt meeting and hearing from three local residents, all of them were tough, powerful and resilient toward the future of their life and regional revitalization. On the other hand, it might be difficult to tell the actual reality to other people. Maybe the best way to understand the right situation in the region is to go and see firsthand the reality and communicate with local people.
最後は、村のコミュニティホール兼宿泊施設の写真の「きこり」に集まり、1時間半ほど本日のまとめをしました。本日は、女神山ガイドさん、ちえこさん、山田さんの3名から多くの話を聞き、将来の復興に向けての力強い思いとその粘り強い姿に感動しました。一方で、これを他人に伝えるには限界があり、やはり直接来て見て話してみる大切さを認識しました。

I visited Iitate and Kawamata in 2012, 1.5-year after the disaster, when Iitate was still restricted access area as shown in the 2012visit. This time I could see more and more people actually returned to the town and could feel much vitalization than before.
飯舘と川俣は、震災の翌年の2012年にも訪問しており(参照)、飯舘はまだ居住制限区域でした。今回は、住民帰還も進み復興の息遣いを実感できました。

The exact route and locations are shown in the map below. The map can be scaled up and down with a click and scroll.
ルートと場所は、下の地図を参照ください。地図は、クリックとスクロールで、拡大・縮小が可能です。
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Mt. Hiuchi climbing and autumn landscape of Oze, September 25-27, 2019. (燧ヶ岳登山と尾瀬の秋景色 2019年9月25-27日)

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(Mt. Hiuchi view, Oze, September 27, 2019. 燧ヶ岳 尾瀬沼 檜枝岐 9/27/2019)
During this 3-day period, an autumn high pressure system covered Fukushima Prefecture and it was perfect days for outing. I headed to Oze National Park located in the most southwestern part of the prefecture. My main purpose was climbing Mt. Hiuchi which has the highest peak of 2,356 meters above sea level. This is the highest among all the mountains in northern Japan including Tohoku and Hokkaido. Photo above was an early morning view of Mt. Hiuchi reflected on misty water of Lake Ozenuma just after sunrise. This was taken in the next morning after I luckily made to the summit of the mountain. The view was from backyard observatory of Chozogoya lodge where I stayed overnight.
この3日間、秋の移動性高気圧が福島県を覆い絶好の外出日和でした。県の最も南西部にある尾瀬国立公園に行きました。目的は、標高2,356mの燧ヶ岳に登ることでした。この山は、東北・北海道を含めて一番高い山です。写真は、早朝日の出後の尾瀬沼の朝霧に反映した燧ヶ岳です。登った日の次の朝に、泊まった長蔵小屋の裏の展望デッキから撮りました。
朝霧に 逆さも霞む 燧岳

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Photo above shows a sign post for the highest peak called Shibayasugura (2,356m).
写真は、燧ヶ岳の最高峰の柴安嵓(しばやすぐら、2,356m)の頂上です。

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Photo above shows the largest marsh in Honshu Island called Ozegahara taken from Shibauyasugura. The high mountain in the back is Mt. Shibutsu (2,228m) in Gunma Prefecture.
柴安嵓から望む、本州最大の尾瀬ヶ原湿原です。向こうに見える山は、群馬県の至仏山(2,228m)です。

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Photo above shows a view at the second highest peak of Mt. Hiuchi called Manaitagura (2,346m). A post seen in the rightmost is the second order triangulation point.
燧ヶ岳の2番目の峰が、爼嵓(まないたぐら、2,346m)で、写真の一番右に二等三角点が見えます。

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(Minobuchidake and Lake Ozenuma view from Manaitagura, September 26, 2019. 爼嵓より見るミノブチ岳と尾瀬沼 9/26/2019)
I chose Choeishindo trail for the round trip to get to the higher level of the mountain. This trail first took me to Minobuchidake peak (2,210m) where one can overlook Lake Ozenuma (1,660m) on the foot as shown above. This picture was taken from Manaitagura and the small mountain near the center was Minobuchidake..
山に登る道は、往復とも長英新道を使いました。これで行くと、最初にミノブチ岳(2,210m)にでます。ここから、写真で見るように尾瀬沼が見下ろせます。この写真は、爼嵓から撮ったもので手前の小高い山がミノブチ岳になります。

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(Manaitagura view, from Minobuchidake, September 26, 2019. ミノブチ岳より見た爼嵓 9/26/2019)
From Minobuchidake I had to head for Manaitagura which stood ahead with a steep rocky slope as shown above.
ミノブチ岳からは、写真の険しい岩だらけの爼嵓を目指します。

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(Shibayasugura view, from Manaitagura, September 26, 2019. 爼嵓より見た柴安嵓 9/26/2019)
From Manaitagura peak you can see the final destination, the highest peak Shibayasugura as shown above, with down and up the trail.
爼嵓に到着すると、最終目的地の写真の柴安嵓と、下ってまた上る道が見えます。

The climbing took place in the middle day which was 26th. I started at 7 in the morning from Chozogoya lodge, and after I made the summit I descended and I could finally reach the lodge at 5:30 in the evening. It took 10.5 hours for me with my legs entirely exhausted. (This was much slower than average in general.) However, I am grateful for the perfect weather and safe return.
登山は、中日の26日にしましたが、朝7時に長蔵小屋を出発し、頂上に着いた後下って小屋に戻ったのが夕方の5時半でした。標準よりはるかに遅い10時間半もかかってしまい、足はがくがくです。ただ天気は最高で、無事帰着しただけで感謝です。

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(Autumn view of Oe Marsh, Oze, September 25, 2019. 大江湿原 草紅葉 9/25/2019)
In the first day, I entered Oze National Park via Numayamatoge, Hinoemata. A local Aizu Bus took me to a trailhead for the pass. Soon after passing Numayama Pass, autumn color marsh field appeared as shown above. This was Oe Marsh, which is abundant of a variety of alpine flowers between June and August.
初日は、檜枝岐の沼山峠口から尾瀬に入りました。会津高原尾瀬口駅から会津バスで、登山口まで行きます。歩いて沼山峠を通過して間もなく、写真の草紅葉の景色が広がります。ここは、6月から8月までは高山植物の花でいっぱいの大江湿原です。

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(Gentiana triflora at Oe Marsh, Oze, September 25, 2019. 大江湿原 エゾリンドウ 9/25/2019)
The last flower at this marsh in late September was gentiana triflora as shown above.
大江湿原も、9月の下旬になると写真のエゾリンドウが最後の花となります。
湿原の リンドウ語る 秋さなか

There are six mountains in Fukushima Prefecture which were designated as the best 100 in Japan: Mt. Adatara, Mt. Bandai, Mt. Azuma, Mt. Aizukoma, Mt. Iide, and Mt. Hiuchi. Mount Hiuchi was the last one I made to the summit.
福島には、日本百名山と言われる山が6座あります。安達太良山、磐梯山、吾妻山、会津駒ヶ岳、飯豊山、そして燧ヶ岳です。今回の燧ヶ岳が私にとっては最後でした。

The exact route and locations are shown in the map below. The map can be scaled up and down with a click and scroll.
ルートと場所は、下の地図を参照ください。地図は、クリックとスクロールで、拡大・縮小が可能です。
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Japanese serow on Mt. Karo trail, July 1, 2019. 新地町 鹿狼山の山道で日本カモシカに出会う 2019年7月1日。

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(Japanese serow at Mt. Karo, Shinchi, July 1, 2019. 鹿狼山 の 日本カモシカ 新地 7/1/2019)
Today I walked along a countryside road and mountain trail in Shinchi Town which was a northernmost town in the coastal Fukushima. The route was mostly along Shinchi section of Michinoku Coastal Trail or walking trail along the coastal area of Tohoku Region. This was defined and promoted by Ministry of the Environment of Japan aiming to revitalize the coastal region which was devastated by the earthquake and tsunami in March 2011. Today’s route was 17km long and included light trekking on Mt. Karo (430m). When I was descending along the ridge, I suddenly came across a Japanese serow near the northern end of the trail. He was grazing on the vegetation. Both of us were frightened but he just stared at me and showed no sign of intimidation. I took his picture as shown above and then he moved away.
本日は、福島県沿岸部の最北端の新地町を歩きました。コースは主に、みちのく潮風トレイルの新地町部分です。東日本大震災で被災した東北沿岸部の復興を目指し、環境省が設定した歩くコースです。本日のルートは、約17kmで鹿狼山(430m)の軽い登山を含みます。今日後半、尾根伝いに降りていたら、山道の終わり近くで、日本カモシカに出会いました。両者共にびっくりしましたが、カモシカは私の方をじっと見たまま脅かす様子はありませんでした。私は熊鈴を鳴らしていましたが、カモシカには効かないようです。そういうわけで、写真を撮っていたらそのうち逃げていきました。

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I started to walk from JR Shinchi Station this morning as shown above. When I visited the town four years ago (2015) by bike there was no railway station. It was destroyed and washed away by the tsunami. But today the new station was built as well as many new public facilities, hotels, and residential area with new homes in the vicinity.
今朝は、写真のJR新地駅から歩き始めました。4年前(2015年)に来たときは、駅も無かったです。破壊され津波に流されていました。でも今日は、新しい駅舎で電車の運行もしており、周りには新しい公共施設やホテル、住宅地の新しい家もたくさん建っていました。

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In about two hours of walking I arrived at the trailhead for Mt. Karo. A pair of animal stones called “komainu”, deer on the left and wolf on the right, welcomed me as shown above. These were for Karosan shrine or Mt. Karo shrine, where deity of the mountain was enshrined. A local legend described on the panel shown above said the animals were always with the god.
2時間ほどで、鹿狼山の登山口に着きました。写真の狛犬、鹿狼山神社の鹿と狼が出迎えます。神社には、この山の神が祀られています。現地の説明板(写真)には、この地の伝説が語られています。

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Shortly after, I came to a hydrangea habitat as shown above. But today it seemed not the best season for this flower.
登っていくと、すぐに写真のアジサイの自生地が現れます。でも、旬の時期ではなかったようです。

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In about an hour I came to the summit where second-order triangulation point was placed. It was very foggy, misty and even rainy at the top, but for a very short period of time a glimpse of blue sky appeared on top of sea of clouds as shown above.
1時間ほどで、2等三角点のある頂上に着きます。今日は、霧やもやがかかり雨も時折降る天気でしたが、一瞬だけ写真のように青空と下の雲海がのぞきました。

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In the last half of the route there were two watering places along the way which was very grateful for walkers. Both were natural spring water. The first one was Mayumi spring water as shown above. This has even been used as the source of public tap water supply for local residents until some 40 years ago.
後半には、有り難い水場が2カ所あります。湧き出る清水です。最初は、写真の「真弓の清水」と言い、40年前の昭和時代にこの地区の公共水道としても使われてきました。

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Another one was called Ukon spring water. A small rest area with roof has been built as shown above. “Ukon” was named after Date Ukon who was a descendant of Date family and who lived and loved this place and the water. I also refreshed myself with these excellent spring waters. It took 7.5 hours to get back to Shinchi Station.
もう1つは、右近の清水と言い、写真のように屋根付きの休場もありました。伊達家の子孫である伊達右近が、この地区に住みこの水を愛飲したことにちなみ、名前がつけられました。私も両方の水場で水を補給し休みました。7時間半かかり、新地駅に戻りました。

The exact route and locations are shown in the map below. The map can be scaled up and down with a click and scroll. However, today, the GPS data did not reach the goal of Shinchi Station due to battery outage.
ルートと場所は、下の地図を参照ください。地図は、クリックとスクロールで、拡大・縮小が可能です。但し、GPSのバッテリ切れで終点の新地駅まで描いていません。
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Welcome! 福が満開、福のしま。
Welcome to Fukushima 2019 
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A man who loves Fukushima (福島大好きおじさん)

Author:A man who loves Fukushima (福島大好きおじさん)
Local guide for Fukushima (English)(福島地域通訳案内士(英語))
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おもてなし福島通訳ガイドの会会員

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