Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Japanese Hiking Club

Saturday Jeff and I had a much needed lazy day.  We didn't do much and it was lovely.

Sunday we went hiking.  I found a Japanese hiking club that is based out of Hiroshima.  They do a group hike about once a month.  I thought it would be a fun way to get to see things and meet people who like being outside.  

The hike this month was up a pyramid shaped mountain called Mount Ashitake (pronounced Ah-shi-ta-ke).  We met up with another car full of people at the train station, and followed them.  Picked up another couple of cars along the way.  There was 9 of us total, Jeff and I, 2 Americans that have lived in Japan for over 20 years and teach English, and 5 Japanese.  Everyone was very  nice and spoke at least a little English.    We were told that this was a small group, they usually have way more people.  

We got to the hike start and were happily walking down the path, but the further we got, the less the path seemed like a path.  Eventually someone spoke up that there was an arrow right at the very beginning that we passed.  So, we turned around and sure enough, 20 feet from the start was the correct trail - lol!  Reminded me of my collage hiking club days.

The hike was steep.  It started in a cedar forest which changed in to more deciduous trees and then in to pines.  At the top on one peak was some ruins from a temple, the date was uncertain but several thousands of years.  At the top of the second peak was a beautiful view and a lunch break.  

Deciduous forest

Column from the temple ruins

Layers of hills in the distance from the top of the mountain

The view the other direction

The hiking group at the top ready for a lunch break
 After the hike they decided to make a short detour to a temple that was for a sky god.  They thought it was cool because of my name.  It was a cool little temple with two enormous cedar trees.  It took 5 of us linking hands to circle one tree.  It also was unique because the lion statues that guard the temple were looking up at the sky where they normally always look forward.

Huge cedar tree
The second detour was to a enormous park.  It was the size of an amusement park in the US.  It had different flower gardens for different seasons, lakes, bike paths and a huge playground.  I could have spent a whole day wandering around.  The reason for the detour was the cosmos flowers.  They had a beautiful garden of late summer flowers.

Cosmos flowers
More flowers
It was a fun day and we are hoping to be able to join the group for their October hike.

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