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  • Get ready for an epic adventure down Japan's deepest gorge.

  • It takes determination to make it there, and it requires perseverance to finish.

  • Those who accomplish it are rewarded with some of the best views in Japan,

  • but watch your step because it's a long ways down.

  • It's time for our biggest Life in Japan adventure to date:

  • we're hiking Kurobe Gorge.

  • [Life in Japan Theme Song]

  • Well, I am off!

  • Does it look like I'm going for a big expedition, because it sure feels like I am.

  • From here we're going to go to Shinjuku and catch an overnight bus to our destination.

  • What is Kurobe most famous for?

  • Right now the fall foliage.

  • It's the deepest gorge.

  • It's the deepest gorge in Japan.

  • A few months ago my friend Kazu told me about a trip he was planning to do

  • a hike through Japan's deepest gorge at the height of fall.

  • I immediately knew I wanted to go along.

  • Little did I know the true scope of the adventure to come.

  • OK, we're ready for this thing here.

  • Looking good. We've got a nice comfy seat here.

  • Uh huh. A nice privacy curtain.

  • Kurobe Gorge is located in Toyama Prefecture, a 6 hour overnight drive to the northwest of Tokyo to the other side of Japan.

  • Oooo going there!

  • And we are on our 2 hour train ride.

  • Is this to the trail head or do we still have one more after this?

  • One more after this.

  • There's a scenic train. A scenic train.

  • Oh common, alright.

  • And now we power hike to the next train!

  • We are just going to make this.

  • It's like a miniature train.

  • Alright!

  • It takes several hours on trains just to get to the trail head,

  • but the last train you ride is one especially built to service the interior part of the gorge.

  • You see some incredible sights along the way,

  • and the drop offs are enough to take your breath away.

  • It makes you wonder what else is ahead.

  • That's a bridge for monkeys.

  • I don't know how the monkeys made it, but...

  • It's trying to clear off, John.

  • Yeah, it's trying. Look, there's a hole!

  • There's a hole! We can see some blue sky. Common!

  • We are finally at the end of the line here. We're going to start our hike.

  • OK, here we go. This is it, right?

  • It goes up fast! Holy cow.

  • Last year 5 people died.

  • Last year 5 people died on this? Thanks for bringing me here, Kazu.

  • This year only one person.

  • OK, we're going to keep it that way.

  • It starts off quite interesting, doesn't it?

  • I was going to say, boy this starts off with a bang, doesn't it?

  • It's like a 200 or 300 meter climb straight up.

  • And then it will be flat. Like 40 minutes of climbing.

  • So this first part of our train just goes up, up, up and then it will level out

  • We're getting up there. Look at that.

  • Lots and lots of stairs. More and more and more.

  • Oh, there's some color coming out.

  • That's a cool sign.

  • Whew, downhill.

  • When is the most treacherous part of this trail?

  • Tomorrow.

  • I'm wearing the official cap today as we are trekking, trekking, trekking.

  • Hopefully we're going to see some really cool fall colors.

  • The big part of the climb is done. Now we get to start traversing.

  • We're going to get over to the gorge.

  • Hello! Look this amazing view!

  • And there's Nate.

  • Alright! We're going to do this thing.

  • We're starting to get a look at the gorge we're going to be hiking.

  • There's the trail. It just winds along the side of the gorge.

  • And goes up up away.

  • It's just beautiful up here, my goodness.

  • This is where it becomes dangerous now.

  • So as if it's not dangerous enough, if the fall won't get you, the power lines right next to you can.

  • So...

  • Awesome!

  • We go around a corner

  • Awesome!

  • Every corner

  • This is incredible that they even could build this here.

  • If whoever build this is watching, thank you very much.

  • Please comment and let me know.

  • But this is incredible. Look!

  • It just goes down, my goodness!

  • It's great!

  • Thank you

  • Be careful

  • Ah! My wire's back, yeah!

  • Wow, we got some thick grass here.

  • Hello!

  • Everything good? It's good.

  • It almost looks like a trail there, but it wouldn't be a trail, huh? No.

  • Slide. Yeah, slide.

  • A monkey slide. Leave slide.

  • We've been going for how long now? An hour and half maybe?

  • An hour and forty minutes.

  • And it just keeps getting more and more beautiful.

  • We'll probably take a breather here in just a little bit.

  • If Kazu lets us!

  • I've never ever been on something quite like this.

  • Look at the colors here, oh my goodness!

  • We're getting into some good good stuff.

  • Uncle Tim's going to capture this memory.

  • Looks like we've got a little cave here.

  • Lower bridge.

  • Because me and my backpack aren't getting through otherwise.

  • I think I just crushed my lunch.

  • So we're going to camp out on the trail tonight.

  • Cook our own food. Setup our tents that we brought. Our sleeping bags.

  • And hopefully there's some nice soft earth, or at least flat earth, that we can put our tents down on.

  • Well we should be getting close to our marker.

  • Oooo, getting close to the lunch marker.

  • Whoa yeah!

  • Hand rail!

  • There's probably no way to tell from the video just how far down it goes right there.

  • Hey everyone, what do you think?

  • Tomorrow is Japanese only day?

  • And today too?

  • English only for Kazu.

  • Opposite Day.

  • There's the river way down there.

  • You can see how the path just cuts, literally, right through the mountain. Look at that.

  • I have to bend down here because otherwise my pack gets stuck.

  • Oh, before it looks like the path went around.

  • Wha?! That's right, they did have it going around.

  • Lower bridge.

  • We hear a stream, that's a good sign.

  • That means our rest/lunch area is nearby.

  • I got some of my food out. Today I'm having some beef jerky, nuts and a peanut butter and jelly that John inspired me to make.

  • How much time we looking at to get to the campsite?

  • Oh man, well we're about 3 hours to go if we can keep a decent pace.

  • There's the trail we're about to follow.

  • We can do it.

  • Here we go.

  • Light on.

  • So here's where a tunnel goes in.

  • We gotta turn on our lights and go in this tunnel.

  • And it's going to go through this whole ridge of the mountain.

  • And come out the other side there.

  • Alright. Here we go.

  • How did they dig this thing in here? Did they start curving and hope they made it right?

  • Wait a second. Let me take a picture of you guys.

  • It looks to be a little steamy in here or foggy.

  • This is certainly just an absolutely wild trail.

  • Amazing.

  • I'm glad I had waterproof shoes though

  • Because my feet were in the stream, there was no way around it.

  • You had to duck so low to get through that tunnel so the backpack could pass

  • And then walk through water at the same time.

  • It's clearing up over there.

  • And this right here just drops off like nobody's business.

  • What a feeling!

  • Good feeling!

  • That is quite the place! Holy moly!

  • Holy moly!

  • What in the world?!

  • Hold on tight. Yea hold on tight with both hands.

  • Oh my goodness. That one moves, that's even freakier!

  • This is really amazing!

  • Be careful!

  • That's the understatement of the day.

  • Dude, it's true. You shouldn't look down and try to walk at the same time.

  • Oh man!

  • That was I guess where the station was. Yea.

  • From our vantage point here right now you can see where we started this morning.

  • Way down atwhat's the name of the station?

  • Keyakidaira

  • It just doesn't let up, it's just awesome all the time.

  • It's the nature paparazzi team here.

  • Approaching a waterfall here.

  • Aw, look at that!

  • We have deemed this place a place worthy of a break.

  • Break time!

  • This trail is amazing, but I'm really glad my family is not here.

  • Because this is not the type of trail to bring the family on.

  • Unless they're grown and able to handle it.

  • Going under the waterfall.

  • Our break is over. We're going to try to make it to the campsite by 4:30. That's our goal.

  • And we've got about 2 hours of hiking left.

  • Whoa!

  • What a gorge! What a waterfall!

  • Holy cow!

  • You get a little bit of everything on this!

  • Ahhhhhh!

  • Yea, it's definitely not that waterproof.

  • Let me take a picture of where we're going to be tonight.

  • And now we can finally see the campsite.

  • There's a couple tents. Plenty of space for ours.

  • An onsen down there!

  • That was just the motivation I needed right there.

  • Campsite in sight.

  • Get some hot food. Get a tent setup.

  • In my sleeping bag by 6:00 PM.

  • You think all is good. "I can see the campsite!"

  • And then they hit you with a huge stair.

  • Which only makes me assume there's going to be an even bigger one going down.

  • Is there an escalator up here?

  • It was like "Yea, we could see it!"

  • OK, now just go up this huge cliff face and then go back down it.

  • Oh, there it is. Across the valley there.

  • (Singing) "Down the valley where the green grass grows"

  • Whew! Yea!

  • Ah! We made it!

  • John, you have quite the tent there, bro.

  • You like it?

  • This is a tent.

  • Wow! Tiny.

  • Here's our tent for the night. Uncle Tim and I are going to be very friendly.

  • Well, we're heading down the onsen now.

  • I don't know how much I'll be able to show because, well, you get in naked!

  • Girls and guys take turns, so that they're not in at the same time.

  • But tonight there are no girls here.

  • So it should be cool to have some onsen time.

  • We got back from the onsen, and now we're going to have a bite to eat.

  • And we're going to get to bed early tonightlike 6 or 7

  • Because we plan on waking up at 3 AM so we can get all ready to go by 4? Is that right?

  • That gives us 12 hours to do a 9 hour hike so we can make the last cable car out of the gorge.

  • We've got some pepperochini.

  • Oh yea, looking good here.

  • And Kazu?

  • Tomato and Cheese Risotto

  • Good!

  • 3 Minutes to gourmet dinner! Gourmet, heh?

  • It's so dark now you can barely see the sky.

  • We're going to sleep.

  • And then get up early at 3:00.

  • Well, good morning.

  • It's a little after 3 in the morning.

  • It was kind of a rough night's sleep. It was pretty cold.

  • Had to get up in the middle of the night and go to the bathroom. That was really cold.

  • Then after that we slept pretty well for a couple of hours.

  • And now we're ready. We've got to hit it early today.

  • It's 4 o'clock and we're on our way.

  • Got the heart rate going nice and early.

  • Oh my shoelace came untied!

  • Of all the places!

  • I wonder if I shouldn't tie it real quick.

  • Just a moment. Nate is tying his boots.

  • OK? Yep!

  • Whew! It feels nice in here!

  • It is warm in here! Holy cow! It's like a sauna.

  • Our path has brought us right over the dam.

  • You can barely see it, but boy is that a long ways down and it's