山伏

Mt. Chokai seen from Mt. Yonetaihei

キウイ

Snowshoeing Mt. Yonetaihei in Sakegawa

If you go the wrong way up a mountain and have to turn back, does it still count? It’s hard to say it was the wrong way when the sign leads into a dead-end, but I spent about an hour looking for the rest of the trail up Mt. Yonetaihei this afternoon to no avail.

In the end I was tired from snowshoeing for a few hours, and also frustrated that the path seemingly just disappeared. I must have been so close, the mountain isn’t that big, but it was enough to really give me a run for my money. I started contemplating having to spend a night on the mountain, would I survive if it came to that? It would be a very cold night up there.

The only other person I saw on the mountain I also happened to see at the exact spot where the trail is supposed to exist, but it simply doesn’t. The best I got out of them was a maybe (in English at that!).

In all, the effort expended getting up and down was worth the views of Mt. Chokai, Mt. Gassan, and the surrounding villages and rice fields strewn with snow. Would I do it again tomorrow? Probably, but I would take a different route, that’s for sure.

I’m going to have to come back now either with a guide, or once the snow melts. I forgot how taxing walking on deep snow gets, even with the right equipment, should be a completely different story in the spring. Either way, it was a fun little hike, in spite of not reaching the destination. I think it still counts.

Tim Bunting Kiwi Yamabushi

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Hi, I’m Tim Bunting AKA the Kiwi Yamabushi, a New Zealander who became a Yamabushi Ascetic in the Dewa Sanzan mountains of north Japan. I’m part of the Yamabushido team, and we host life-altering Yamabushi training on the Dewa Sanzan (website link). People come to us for the ultimate mindfulness experience, to reach the next level, or simply connect with nature and themselves.


I’m on a mission to summit all 100 Famous Mountains of Yamagata Prefecture to spread the splendour of this fabulous location, and in dedication to all those who lost their lives out in nature, including my father.


On my daily blog I post thoughts of a practicing Yamabushi that I hope people can use to better themselves and live as fulfilling a life as possible.


Sign up to the weekly Mountains of Wisdom newsletter, follow me on social (Instagram, Facebook, YouTube, Twitter, TikTok, Clubhouse, all @kiwiyamabushi), or send me an email via the link below to stay in touch.


Tim.

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Sakata City, Yamagata, Japan 

timb008@gmail.com

All photos my own. Contact for more. 

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