Superb but hard experience on Mount Iide, July 28-30, 2017 (飯豊の集い に参加して 2017年7月28-30日)

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I participated in Iide-no-tsudoi or Mount Iide climbing tour promoted by Yamatomachi, Kitakata City, where the summit was located. It was a 3-day tour with two overnight stays at a mountain hut. Mount Iide (2105m) was known as a sacred mountain which was best suited for experienced climbers, as well as an attractive mountain where beautiful alpine flowers start blooming right after the thaw. It was designated as one of the best 100 mountains in Japan. Although I was still a beginner hiker, I challenged the mountain this time by joining the Iide-no-tsudoi party in order to experience the superb mountain. The excellent party took best care of every climber’s security with experienced leaders, local fire and police officials attended. I was grateful to all of those who supported for the safe trail tour. Photo above was a beautiful Chinguruma plant blooming in clusters at a little walk from Kiriawase mountain hut toward the summit on the second day.

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Talking from the beginning, on the night before the tour I stayed at a private house or “minshuku” as shown above, at a small village of Kawairi which was the nearest village to the starting point (Osawa camp ground) of the tour.

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On the first day, the party started climbing with all the 43 participants and 11 leaders and security support staffs, from Osawa camp site at Kawairi. We headed for Kiriawase mountain hut (1769m) in the middle. It was a hard climbing for me (but not for everyone) with steep rocky trail of Kengamine and Akaiwa. There was no photo for this day because I was busy keeping pace with the party and also because it was a rainy day. We all reached the goal of Kiriawase hut in the late afternoon, which looked like as shown above on the right end early next morning. The mountain in the center was Mount Iide.

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In the next morning we started toward the summit of Mount Iide. First, we met with a stone image called “Ubagongen” as shown above.

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Then we came to another risky rock climbing place called “Ohisho” as shown above. The photo was taken after passing the site.

Climbing toward the summit, we found some of alpine flowers as shown below.

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Photo shows pretty violet flowers of Hakusanfuro or Geranium yesoemse var. nipponicum.

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Photo shows a cluster of Takanetsumekusa or Minuartia with pretty white flowers.

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Photo above shows violet flowers of Yotsubashiogama or Pedicularis japonica.

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Photo above shows indigenous species of gentian called Iide-rindo which grows only on this mountain.

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Finally we made it to the summit of Mount Iide (2105m) as shown above. This was a first order triangulation point.

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On the return trail we could see Nikko-kisuge flower field on the right slope as shown above. We spent another night at Kiriawasegoya hut tonight.

In the neighborhood of the hut I could see some other flowers as shown below. There were many of them around.

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Photo shows orange flowers of Kurumayuri or Lilium medeoloides.

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Photo above shows blue flowers of Takane-matsumushiso or Scabiosa japonica var. alpine.

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On the third day, we left the hut and headed toward the starting point at Kawairi. On the way we were lucky to find pretty pink Himesayuri or Lilium rubellum flowers along the trail as shown above.

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The party finally arrived at the goal or the starting point with all members safe. I was the last member to goal. I really appreciate the full support by leaders and security staff members otherwise I might not have made the goal safe. Finally we had a nice Yamato-soba lunch which was a great local specialty at Iidenoyu rest house which looked as shown above.

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All of us were given a certificate of the accomplishment as shown above. I believe this Iide-no-tsudoi tour promoted by Kitakata City is an excellent occasion for those who want to experience climbing to Mount Iide for the first time.

The exact route and locations are shown in the map below. The map can be scaled up and down with a click and scroll.
20170728飯豊の集い_1 (560x421)

20170729飯豊の集い_2 (560x421)

You can play back the route and altitude on the map below. But this time the GPS trace was not complete or accurate maybe due to device problem.

Cycling event “Hashitte-mippe” in Minamiaizu Town, July 17, 2017 (走ってみっぺ南会津!サイクリングに参加 2017年7月17日)

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I participated in a cycling event “Hashitte-mippe” or “let’s go cycling” held in Minamiaizu Town on July 17th, 2017 which was a national holiday “Marine Day”. The route covered western part of the town area, which was mostly mountainous with green forests and rivers making it really refreshing to ride. About 700 cycling fans gathered for the event from across Japan including many from Tokyo metropolitan area. A photo above shows Byobuiwa Site with rocky landscape along the upper stream of the Ina River. The site was located at the southwestern end of the route near the border with Hinoemata Village. We had a light lunch and a short break on the rock at this aid station.

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A photo above shows a scene just before the start at Takatsue ski resort located 950m above sea level.

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Major part of the cycling route ran south to north along the Ina River which was beautiful as shown above. Many anglers enjoyed ayu fishing soaking into the river.

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At a roadside station “Kirara 289” located along national Route 289 in the northwestern part of the town, new wooden bike stands which were made from local wood were installed as shown above.

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Luckily I could successfully complete the course and got the certificate as shown above. The last 3km hill climb to the goal was extremely hard for me being already exhausted.

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The day before, I packed my bike and traveled to Aizukogen-0zeguchi Station which was the nearest to the event site, although it still took another 18km bike tour including a mountain pass to get to the site. I was lucky that I could experience a new limited express train “Revaty” as shown above between Aizutajima and Aizukogen-Ozeguchi Station introduced from just last April. The limited express train was comfortable and required no extra charge between the two stations.

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Also on return trip, I could again take the limited express Revaty which came from Asakusa, Tokyo. Photo above shows the train coming into Aizukogen-Ozeguchi Station where I got on.

The exact route and locations are shown in the map below. The map can be scaled up and down with a click and scroll.
20170717走ってみっぺ南会津 (560x419)

You can play back the route and altitude on the map below.

Shiramizu Amidado lotus garden blooms. July 10, 2017 (白水阿弥陀堂 の ハス 咲く 2017年7月10日)

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Today I visited Shramizu Amidado lotus garden in Iwaki City. The garden sees its best season in this time of year, around July 10th. The garden looked as shown above today. Although it’s already in its high season, there were not so many lotus flowers blooming in the garden. Still it was beautiful. Local people told me that many of the plants were eaten and damaged by wild boar this season.

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Photo above shows the lotus garden from a different angle. The whole garden was designed as Jodo or the Pure Land style garden.

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Photo above shows Shiramizu Amidado Hall in the far back with a part of the lotus garden in front. The building was built in 1160, which was during Heian Period, by a woman called Tokuhime for the memorial of her husband. The structure was designated as a national treasure.

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Many ducks were strolling around the garden as shown above. The location of the garden is 30-minute walk from Uchigo Station of JR Joban Line.

The exact route and locations are shown in the map below. The map can be scaled up and down with a click and scroll.
20170710白水阿弥陀堂ハス (560x420)
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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)
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