May 2017 - Vikingess Voyages

Tuesday, May 30, 2017

Sagamihara: The First Reebok Spartan Race in Japan

10:22:00 PM
Last weekend it was time for Japan's first Reebok Spartan Race! The race is known as one of the world’s largest obstacle courses, and this time the event took place in the U.S. Army Sagami General Depot in Sagamihara, approximately 50 minutes by train from Shinjuku.

Sagamihara is a part of Kanagawa prefecture, an area most known for tourist destinations such as Yokohama and Hakone. Along with a group of friends we set out to Sagamihara to find our inner Spartans.

Sunday, May 21, 2017

Hiking in Tokyo: Mt. Fuji View from Okutama's Mt. Mito (三頭山)

10:35:00 PM
Believe it or not; you don't even have to leave Tokyo to find good hiking spots. The metropolitan area of Tokyo stretches far outside the city itself, and in the area west of Tokyo known as Okutama you can find a number of popular hiking destinations. 
Many people have heard about or visited the popular and accessible Mt. Takao which also can be found to the west of Tokyo, but there are other lesser known mountains that can provide an interesting alternative to this slightly crowded favorite. One of my personal favorites is Mt. Nokogiri in Chiba, where you in additional to enjoying the hike also can see some traditional temple and not to mention Japan's largest Buddha statue cut from a single rock. For this trip, however, we went to check out Mt. Mito (三頭山) in Okutama, a mountain known most of all for its good view of Mt. Fuji. 
Mt. Mito has been listed as one of Japan's top three hundred mountain destinations(日本三百名山), and stands at a height of 1,531 meters above sea level. Situated in the western part of Okutama this hiking destination can be reached either by car or by bus from the nearest station (check my table at the bottom at this post for more details).
In our case we took the train to Akikawa Station (秋川駅) where we rented a car heading toward the starting point of the hike; the Citizens’ Forest (tomin no mori 都民の森). Here they have a number of courses you can choose from with varying difficulties. We chose the Bunanoro Course (ブナの路コース), a hike estimated to take approximately 3-4 hours.
But first, when you arrive at the tomin no mori area you'll find a souvenir shop selling local products. This is the last shop you get to before the hike so if you're hungry you might want to try out some of the food they sell.

After a few minutes of walking from the parking lot area there is a building called the shinrinkan (森林館) where visitors among other things can find information about the wildlife and flora in the area.

During the Edo period Mt. Mito was kept off limits to the public, and thanks to this you can find a wide range of large beech trees covering the mountain. This might have contributed to Mt. Mito's particularly varied flora with both rare plants and birds to be seen in the woods.

And don't despair if you didn't bring any hiking booths; At the Shinrinkan they have mountain boots available for rental. They also kindly offer maps of the area in foreign languages like English, Korean and Chinese.

For those who are looking for activities to do beside the hiking there is an area outside the Shinrinkan where visitors can try to use a saw to cut up logs, and you're even free to take the pieces of wood with you home.

For those with kids there are some playground equipment that they can enjoy.

In other words; lots of potential activities in addition to just the hike! When you're ready for the hike you can head for the pathway behind the building to the left of the mountain.

Above: On Mt. Mito you can see a number of birdwatchers who are out to spot some of the mountain's rare birds.

The first sight you'll get to is the Mito Otaki Waterfall, which you'll get to after around 25 minutes of walking. There is a suspension bridge leading to nowhere that has been made just for the sole purpose of getting a good view of the waterfall, so if you want to you can take the opportunity to walk out on it and take a closer look before heading back to the main path.

For the rest of the hike you'll pass by a couple of resting spots before reaching the summit of Mt. Mito. The trail is properly marked so it is easy finding the way, and there are not too many visitors either compared to more popular mountains.

Arriving at the summit of Mt. Mito you'll find - if you're lucky with the weather - a pretty spectacular view of Mt. Fuji. I recommend starting the hike early to increase your chances of seeing Mt. Fuji more clearly as it often gets increasingly clouded throughout the afternoon due to the heat from the earth.

Getting up to the summit took us around 1 1/2 hours and it was not a too tough hike. We had a lunch break on the top (again, make sure to bring your own lunch as there are no places to buy food at the summit) before heading back down again.

Above: On the way down you'll also pass by a couple of lookouts where you can enjoy the view of the nearby mountains.

Mt. Mito was a good alternative for a one-day hike from Tokyo. It is great to get out of the city and do some shinrinyoku (森林浴; lit. forest bathing) from time to time to release some stress! After the hike was over we visited a local onsen, which I would recommend as an addition to your hike if you have time (and preferably a car to get around). Hiking Mt. Mito was a great way to spend the day, and hopefully we'll get the chance to visit again soon.

That's all for now, I hope you enjoyed the post! Please let me know if you have any questions or comments in the comment section below.

Basic Info
  • ・Place: Mt. Mito (三頭山)
  • ・Address:Kouchi Okutama, Nishitama District, Tokyo 198-0224
  • ・Height: 1,531 m

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This page contains affiliate links, and if you follow a link and make a hotel reservation through these links you help support this blog without any additional cost to you. Thank you so much for your kind support!

Thank you for reading! Please feel free to leave any comments or questions below
- Anette

Tuesday, May 9, 2017

[Hotel Review] Tokyo's First Robot Hotel - The Strange Henn na Hotel Maihama Tokyo Bay

9:47:00 PM
This April (2017) the tech-heavy Tokyo finally got its first robot hotel; Henn na Hotel Maihama Tokyo Bay!
This is the second one in Japan, as Henn na Hotel opened up Japan's first robot hotel in Nagasaki (Huis Ten Bosch Henn na Hotel) last year. The concept has proven to be a great success, and now their second hotel is ready to welcome guests with their impeccable robot service.
The second hotel is more specifically located in Maihama. This area is most known as the location of Disneyland Tokyo, and is ironically not per se a part of Tokyo but rather included in the prefecture Chiba. I had the chance to spend a night at the newly opened hotel, and have summarized the experience below.

See also: 

Monday, May 1, 2017

Sakura and Bunad in Tokyo - Et Lite Stykke Norge by Joe Photography

11:38:00 PM
As a Norwegian living in Tokyo I try to represent my home country the best I can. There is not that many people here who know that much about Norway; usually most people only associate it with salmon. One thing that however is very typical Norwegian (and little known in Japan) is the national attire called bunad. This traditional outfit comes in various colors and designs varying around the country, and it is common for each local community to have their own distinguished design. People can actually figure out which part of the country you come from by looking at the style of your bunad.

Recently my friend and colleague asked me to do a photo shoot for his page Joe Photography. I wanted to do something different, so I asked him to do a shooting with the blooming sakura (cherry blossoms) and my bunad. It is common for Norwegians to get a bunad for their coming of age ceremony, and I have had mine since I was 12 years old. This particular design is from my home town Bergen, and it brings back found memories of my childhood.
For the photo shoot we met up in Roppongi, and walked around Shiba Koen searching for good photo spots. Unfortunately the weather wasn't too good, so we didn't manage to capture Toyo Tower that well, but we still got some nice photos by a traditional Japanese house inside the park.

Shiba park was a great place to take photos thanks to the many beautiful cherry trees. The temperature was finally starting to get closer to spring and lot of people were in the park to enjoy the view of the flowers and to do hanami. The park had a very cozy atmosphere, and it would be nice to come back here next year when the cherry blossoms are in bloom again to hang out with friends in the park..

Thanks for reading! I hope you enjoyed the post! Please let me know if you have any questions or comments in the comment section below.

Basic Info

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This page contains affiliate links, and if you follow a link and make a hotel reservation through these links you help support this blog without any additional cost to you. Thank you so much for your kind support!

Thank you for reading! Please feel free to leave any comments or questions below

About Me

Adventures ofAnette

A modern day shield-maiden who loves to explore the unbeaten paths of the world. From her base in Tokyo, Anette takes on both rural and urban challenges, and goes by the motto "No challenge too big, no adventure too small"!
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