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  • We're hopping on the train and heading out to Mt Koubou,

  • which is said to be one of the easiest mountain hikes near Tokyo,

  • but will this easy hike be more than we expected

  • will it all be worth it in the end?

  • Find out in this episode of Life in Japan.

  • [Life in Japan Theme Song]

  • This is fun, but you better be there and get on.

  • This year we've been more intentional with getting out and exploring more of the world around us,

  • and today even though it's cloudy, we're going to conquer a small mountain.

  • To get there, we've chosen to ride the Romance Car down to Hadano

  • where we will get off an ascend the nearby Mount Koubou.

  • It is pretty glorious, huh? A lot of space.

  • Riding on these trains is really relaxing

  • Big windows, lots of space, it's the way to travel.

  • Normally you can see those mountains over there no problem, but today? A little bit cloudy.

  • Ah, the Japanese countryside. So pretty.

  • I want to plant rice. If somebody knows how I can do the rice-field thing...

  • I really want to try a rice-field with my kids.

  • So if any of you know how I can do that, please let me know.

  • There's the ridge we're going to be walking.

  • Here comes Hadano!

  • We will soon arrive at Hadano.

  • Ok, shall we go? Let's go.

  • Off in Hadano, here we go!

  • Well, there you go.

  • So it's about a 15 minute walk from the station to the trailhead.

  • And you can even see where we're going up here on the ridge.

  • And the ridge is supposed to take a couple of hours to hike.

  • OK good sign, we found it!

  • It's the entrance and a bunch of signs.

  • It looks like we're going to be walking a little ways.

  • And the girlfriend's getting ready to hike. Taking the jacket off.

  • Oh cool. OK, here we go.

  • Up that way.

  • This is supposed to be one of the easiest hikes for beginners.

  • Praise the Lord!

  • Yes, it gradually goes up and then gradually comes back down.

  • And very beautiful, especially in Sakura.

  • Well, it's not Sakura now, but maybe we'll want to come back during that time.

  • Or the Fall maybe... With the kids.

  • With the kids.

  • Good morning!

  • Welcome to the trail.

  • Does this feel easy?

  • Nope.

  • Ruth says she's burning her donut off

  • And it does feel like that

  • Because this first part just goes up, up, up

  • And that makes sense, you're walking up the the peak.

  • But helpfully, from what I've heard, the rest of it is nice and level and then goes back down.

  • So pay the price right up here, up front.

  • Whew! Getting towards the end of the stairs!

  • Which feels really nice.

  • Oh, I think this is it, I think we made it to the first part of the top.

  • Way to go.

  • The easiest of all easy trails they say.

  • OK here we go, a sign.

  • There's a toilet in 0.2 km. Nice.

  • One of the mountains that we're going up is not only one of the easiest hikes that you can do in the Tokyo area,

  • It also has one of the best views of Mt Fuji

  • Well, one of the 100 best views from the Kanto area.

  • I don't know who decides that or what,

  • I don't think we're seeing Mt Fuji today,

  • But it would be fun to come back and see what that looks like.

  • Look at these bathrooms, they look like little hobbit holes. How cute.

  • OK, here's what we're doing.

  • We started way down here, climbed up,

  • And now we're right here.

  • And it looks like we still have a good point of the climb to do

  • And then most of it's up on this ridge.

  • Nate's bring me hiking on a trail in the Tokyo area that I have to watch for bears.

  • What in the world?!

  • Yes lookwatch for bears! OK...

  • The last big up, here it comes.

  • Yes, send Ruth up in front to scare them away!

  • Mama Bear will take care of them.

  • OK

  • It might be considered easy but it's not that easy.

  • Here comes the last little bit because I can see the observation tower up there.

  • That means we're at the top! The rest of it should be downhill from there, yea!

  • Ah! Yes, yes!

  • Yes! We did it!

  • Let's go see what it looks like on top of this lookout tower. That looks interesting to me.

  • Ruth's like "I don't need a lookout tower, that's alright."

  • I'll just look from there.

  • You can actually see Mt Fuji.

  • Can you see it? Very faint, the outline of it.

  • Well no doubt about it, it's beautiful up here. It's not even a clear day, and it's beautiful.

  • Ok now it's time... For a road.

  • For a road.

  • 4.6 km it says still.

  • Oh, that's not bad.

  • That's not bad at all.

  • This part right here is famous during Sakura because these are Sakura trees.

  • It would be really pretty. Help the climb not feel so bad.

  • There's lot's of Hydrangeas.

  • Lot's a Hydrangeas

  • And a vending machine with Wilkinson Lemon and Fruit Water!

  • There's some good choices there.

  • You can imagine that on a clear day, this looks awesome here.

  • Today you can barely tell that there's anything out there.

  • Oh, this is the bird sanctuary.

  • A bird sanctuary here, huh?

  • Tag Silvia, she's a birder, isn't she? She is a birder.

  • She would love this.

  • Alright! OK Dokey.

  • Down we go.

  • Down we go.

  • All signs lead that way.

  • Well trail etiquette in Japan is really cool.

  • You say "Konichiwa" to everyone who goes by

  • In the city, it's definitely not that way.

  • You just go about your business and do your thing.

  • But on the trail, everyone says "Konichiwa"

  • If you stop, taking a break, it's fun to meet people and talk with them and see where they're from

  • That's one of the things I really love about hiking trails in Japan, is that trail etiquette.

  • Goodness, this right here is mud fest.

  • Yikes!

  • Mud fest? Mud.

  • And oh yes. I got a little drink,

  • And we just saw that we're about halfway on this trail.

  • Half About half.

  • Let's go.

  • These are some pretty pine trees here.

  • There's our sign.

  • We go into the caves.

  • Go into the darkness.

  • Don't worry girlfriend, I'm with you.

  • [laughs]

  • We've gone 3.83 km since we turned this on.

  • Who? We have!

  • 3.83 km

  • Here we go girlfriend, 2.8 km 2.8 km.

  • We got this.

  • You come across all kinds of people on a trail like this

  • And it's fun, you get to chat a little bit

  • Try your Japanese out, and a lot of people will try their English out with us.

  • Which is really fun.

  • Then you just try to guess what the other person's saying.

  • OK, some decisions to make here.

  • We want to keep going towards that station though, don't we?

  • Yea, I think so. I think this is the way we want to go right here.

  • Well Ruth was just saying how much she wished she would have brought a hard candy,

  • And wouldn't you know it... Someone gave us one!

  • We met someone and started talking with him

  • And he's like "Oh here, try some of these, they're really good while you're hiking."

  • It was a hard candy and it's awesome.

  • Well, we're getting close now.

  • Which way do we want to go?

  • We want to go that wayoh!

  • Not that way,

  • That way

  • [stumbles]

  • Whatever you do, don't drop the camera! That's right.

  • Well you can see where you're at.

  • Yes you can, look at this.

  • Big view here, that's cool.

  • We could go sit right down here.

  • Wow. That just like goes off into Netherland.

  • So going down this side is much more gradually

  • You still have some of these stairs and different things,

  • but not nearly as much as going up that other side.

  • Nice. And look at this! Sunlight!

  • Yea.

  • Right there.

  • Down that way.

  • Ruth with her straddle walk.

  • Whoa, look at that! Whoa!

  • Watch your step here!

  • Will he make it?

  • There's the Tomei [Expressway]

  • Hitchhike back home.

  • Ruth's making sure her Instagram followers have something to watch.

  • This trail going up is just like a little hole in the woods.