Mt. Hanazawa

I woke up Tuesday morning to discover it was gorgeous: cool, blue skies, clear air. I immediately decided to skive off work for the morning and hike up a mountain.

The mountain was Hanazawa, which sits along the coast between Yaizu and Shizuoka City. The trail head is at [A] on the picture below, near the big spa-hotels that overlook Yaizu. The trail winds its way along the ridge to [B], the peak of Hanazawa, and then goes down the far side into Shizuoka City. The peak is only 450 m high, but there was a lot of up-and-down along that ridge.

At the trail head. There’s some very pretty red flower which blooms in profusion at this time of year. I really should learn its name.

The lower parts of the climb wound through tea plantations. Along the ridge there were occasional peekaboo views back toward Yaizu, as well as Pacific vistas. This part of the coastline is called Okuzure, which means “Big Landslide”. There used to be a highway running along the water, but it got blocked by a huge landslide. Now for safety the highway runs on pillars 100 m offshore.

Higher up the forest was mostly cedar. The last typhoon did a lot of damage here, and in places there were 20 or more trees down in a small area. Someone had been through with a chainsaw to clear the worst obstacles, and also the path was covered with a carpet of fallen cedar branches. As a result, the smell of cedar was heavenly (although I do feel bad for all the downed trees).

My favorite place on the trail was a bench built overlooking the Pacific. Someone had left a small Buddha to watch over hikers. I sat here to rest and enjoy an orange.

All down the north side I was hoping to see Mt. Fuji, but the forest was too thick. Finally, quite closed to the bottom, a bend in the trail provided a view of Shizuoka City with Fuji in the background. That mountain is at least 60 km away in this picture, which gives you a sense of how enormous it is. All through the summer the air is too hazy for Fuji to be visible, so it’s only in the fall and winter that you start to get views like this.

Needless to say, after this excellent morning hike I spent the afternoon hard at work to make up!

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