TIM BUNTING

KIWI YAMABUSHI

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I’ve been lazy

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I’ve been lazy.

And I’m sorry.

I do blame it partially on Mailchimp having such a horrendous writing experience. Medium is much better, plus they reinstated the ability to write on mobile which is a huge plus for me (I can write in bed!). But Mailchimp really takes the joy out of writing. Ghost.org was definitely on to something, it just wasn’t for me at the moment. 

Either way, this hasn’t stopped me from continuing on with the project.

I have slowly been working my way through the 100 Famous Mountains of Yamagata List, and am now more than a quarter through. Last Sunday’s Okina-san was #26, and yesterday’s Sabane-yama #27. 

I have also either written an article or a Mountain Preview for half of the mountains now. A complete list is on that main page. Mountain Previews basically involve me translating the Yamagatayama.com website, adding the maps, and collecting resources to essentially help me for when I actually climb the mountains, but there should be enough information there for you to go on a hike with (just make sure to check the conditions yourself beforehand). 

In July, I climbed Zao-san which has two peaks on the list; Kumano-dake and Jizo-dake. The accompanying article was intense, so much to say, and kudos if you managed to read it all! It’s nearly as long as my Gassan article (I also have updates to my Haguro article in the works, so far it’s a 40-minute read…). 

At the end of July I climbed Yakushi-san, a very short hike in Kaneyama with a huge history. As you can tell the article’s done, and I’m working on the video as we speak, but this one was also special, the pyramids of Japan!

Then as mentioned earlier, on Sunday I climbed Okina-san, which turned out to be amazing, to say the least. A foggy day meant the view from the summit was all but ruined, just endless white cloud, but the forests! The forests were simply magical! I’m looking forward to putting the video together soon (the nearby Futatsu-mori also looks like a fun little peak!). 

In all honesty, I had actually tried to get to Kamuro-dake, a peak in the north east of Yamagata Prefecture that is the highest point of a caldera primarily in Miyagi Prefecture. The road was blocked about 5km from the trailhead, so I made the decision to go south to Okina-san instead. I’m really looking forward to the road opening at the end of September, right when the autumn leaves should be making an appearance. 

And yesterday’s Sabane-yama was a real adventure. It started out in a residential area but quickly turned into a forest hike until you come out at a mountain temple with views out over the Mogami River and even to Murayama Hayama and Gassan.

Where to from here?

I’m looking forward to a busy autumn. 

I’m organising a hike of Chokai-zan with a YouTuber friend of mine for the end of the month. Whenever you go to Chokai, it’s epic. I’m not sure which route we’ll take, probably the normal one from Hokodate, but I’d also like to try some other trails from the south. 

On October 8th, I’ve been invited to climb Murayama Hayama by a friend who works for Sagae City. There are two Hayamas in Yamagata Prefecture alone. This one is in Murayama. Japan should be covered with Hayamas, I’ll explain it later, but the ‘ha’ means ‘on the edge’, and Hayamas are always either part of or next to other main mountains, in this case the Dewa Sanzan

Anyway, since Sagae is on the exact opposite side of Gassan, it’s about a 2-hour drive, so I’m going to see if I can’t hit up any other peaks along the way (I’m looking at you Daizumori-yama, Murayama Tengu-yama, Taruishi-yama, and Otakane-yama!). 

Then Tate-yama in Murayama City is home to the Higashi-zawa Park that is famous for its roses. The roses should be out in full bloom this month, so I’m hoping to at least hit up this mountain this month, perhaps on the way to Futatsu-mori or somewhere else (although I wanted to save that one for the autumn leaves). 

So yeah, I’m looking forward to bringing all of these mountains to you, but for now, it’s back to editing the Yakushi-san video!

Tim.

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Tim Bunting Kiwi Yamabushi

Tim Bunting Kiwi Yamabushi

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Sakata City, Yamagata, Japan 

tim@timbunting.com

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