Asahikawa and Mount Asahi, Hokkaido

After the sun’s usual appearance at 4am, I was up and ready to roll after my photo shoot with the lion. It actually took ages because I have no tripod and ended up yelling ‘cheers!’ in order to try and make the voice capture work #lonetravelproblems.

Back on good old route 12 which is apparently Japan’s longest straight road. 30 odd kms of straight highway, luckily not too many cars on the road at 5am though.

I have come to know Japan as a country of giant bugs and have seen ants the size of mice, millipedes like shinkansen and moths like small birds.

There’s also a bit of a caterpillar epidemic.

Route 12 also provides a nice cycling route for about 10kms which appears to be a former road. Perfect for my descent into Asahikawa, where the river runs gold with Asahi beer. Kawa means river….

Another kind soul from couch-surfing agreed to host me for 2 nights. His name is David and he owns the best British pub in Asahikawa. While waiting for a respectable time to have a brew at his bar, I called an old mate from KPMG, Curls. We chatted about work and job searching which I’m still not missing thankfully. Eventually I went to the bar and had a few drinks with David and the regulars who were a pretty rowdy bunch of 20-odd year olds. I had decided to climb up Mount Asahi the following day, so I tried to keep level headed but still woke up a little dusty in the morning.

The buses to the mountain are few and far between, like 7am then 10am are your only real options. Mount Asahi (旭岳 Asahi-dake) is a mountain located in the town of Higashikawa, Hokkaido and the tallest mountain in the Japanese island of Hokkaido. It is part of the Daisetsuzan Volcanic Group of the Ishikari Mountains, and is located in the northern part of the Daisets. Standing at 2,290m high, it’s not the shortest hike with an elevation change at 1,100. You can take a cable car, which I usually avoid like the plague but when I climbed in early June I was walking up un-trodden ski runs with almost no signs or directions. I felt a little like the horse in ‘Beauty and the Beast’ at this intersection:

This was by far the hardest part, trekking up the snow runs for like… 6kms I think. Verrrry painstakingly slow.

Once you get near the top you finally see some people (who took the cable car up), not even another footprint where I was. Here you get some amazing views of Mount Asahi.

There’s a lot of scree so be careful. Once you get to the top, there were some amazing views. Also met a German dude hiking up from the other side, legend gave me a banana.

Back to the pub which was not so rowdy tonight. David had another couch surfer as well. This French girl was basically hitch hiking around Hokkaido (which seems to be a pretty common thing to do…). The next day I was headed for the most northern point of Japan so said thanks to David and said our goodbyes.


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