Tag Archives: Saitama

April was a good month

Spring came in a hurry. It always seems to and yet it still takes me by surprise. Each year I swear that April is my favourite month as I feel inspired to get up early and get out to photograph somewhere. During the winter, my early morning outings are limited to Sundays as I need to be home early on other days. Monday to Friday my kids need to go to school and I go to work early some days, and Saturdays I also have to leave for work early. But in April the sun rises early enough that I have time to get out and do some shooting.

My first trip was out to part of the Tsuki River just before the Ranzan Gorge, which I have visited a few times before. First, I stopped on some countryside road to shoot some misty fields when I stumbled upon a large old tree spreading out majestically.

tree

Then I moved on to the river and checked out the Toyama Pothole before exploring the gorge a little from the entrance end.

pothole

Soon it was time for the cherry blossoms, and I went to a favourite old location, the burial mounds at Sakitama in Gyoda.

blossomsmound

As I am working on completing a new book called, Waterside, I wanted to visit a few more waterside locations and decided to visit Onuma, a crater lake on Akagisan, a volcanic mountain less than two hour’s drive north of where I live. I went out early to get there before the sunrise but I didn’t anticipate the -5 degrees temperature or the blasting icy wind. I wasn’t dressed for it, so I stuffed my spring jacket with a cloth shopping bag from the car for extra insulation.

Akagi 08

Akagi 12

My last outing was another early morning start, this time to Ryogamisan, a mountain in Saitama and again less than two hours way by car. I hiked up the trail to photograph the stream where it flows over some exposed chert beds. I’ve climbed the mountain twice before and each time wanted more time to photograph the rocks and the stream.

Ryogami 14

Ryogami 15

I have one more location to hit for my book project. But there will likely be a second one to add. Early this month, I was asked to go to Daisetsusan in Hokkaido for another episode of Journeys in Japan. I am sure to get some waterside photos up there.

One final bit of good news, my book Little Inaka was reviewed briefly in Fuukei Shashin – 風景写真, a Japanese landscape photography magazine.

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Little Inaka

When my son was born in 2008, I still had a fair bit of freedom. It was a good year for earnings from photography and writing and I was beginning in earnest to complete my book project on the Japan Alps. When I was away, my wife took our infant son to her parents’ home.

In 2010 things changed. My wife became pregnant with our second child and it was not so easy for her to bring our growing boy to her parents’ house as there was not enough space and he was restless. I wrapped up my book project a little early, managed a few more hikes and a trip abroad to attend my sister’s wedding. After that, my adventures seemed to have come to an end, at least for the time being.

Not wanting to give up photography entirely, I began a project of shooting locally. I purchased a used DSLR and chose some places that were within reach. I would wake up in the early morning and go out somewhere to shoot, trying to make it home by 7:30 to help get ready for the day. Three years later, my son entered elementary school and I had to be home by 6:45. We moved house and autumn brought later sunrises. My three years of early morning photography were also temporarily wrapped up. I had, however, amassed a few hundred photographs or more and set about putting them into a book. The result is this: Little Inaka.

The locations are the Sakitama Burial Mounds in Gyoda City, Hatcho Park in Yoshimi Town, a rural area in Higashi Matsuyama City, and a rural area straddling Ina Town and Ageo City. All places are in Saitama Prefecture, Japan.

IF

A tumulus at the Sakitama Burial Mound Park in Gyoda City

February Snow

It all started on February 4th. I stepped outside of my workplace and watched feather-sized clusters of snow flakes falling from a heavy grey sky. It was as though the gods were in the throes of a pillow fight.

Cluster flakes!

Cluster flakes!

I looked forward to the following day because after a busy working morning I would have time for a leisurely stroll through a rural area in Ina Town.

Melting snow in a rural area in Ina Town, Saitama

Melting snow in a rural area in Ina Town, Saitama

The sun was up that morning, however, and the snow was already melting by the time I set out with my camera around my neck. Not sure if and when we might get snow next, I tried to at least get a few record shots for my photographic files of the area.

A small chestnut tree casts its shadow over the rapidly melting snow.

A small chestnut tree casts its shadow over the rapidly melting snow.

I was barely aware on Friday the 7th that things were about to get a little more serious. A heavy snow warning was issued and I was told that my morning classes on Saturday were cancelled. We would see about the afternoon and evening. The moon was still visible in the sky that night but by Saturday morning a gentle shroud of powder was settling over the ground. Not trusting the trains, I drove to work against my wife’s protests. With only summer tires on the car she was very worried about whether or not I would be able to come home that night.

Falling snow in a wetland area between Ina and Hasuda in Saitama

Falling snow in a wetland area between Ina and Hasuda in Saitama

The snow fell heavily – over 20 centimetres – but I not only successfully drove the car home again but also managed to head over to a supermarket and pick up a few things in case we couldn’t get out the next day.

It’s surprising to see how many drivers don’t know how to drive safely in snow. On a tertiary highway, I was able to keep a speed of 30 to 40 km/h and only slowed down for curves and intersections. But I encountered drivers who barely attained a speed of 15 km/h and – on the way to work in the morning – an idiot who thought tailgating me in the snow as I followed a truck was an entirely proper and sane thing to do. I also had to pass a driver who drove in the middle of a two-lane highway and when I did try to pass, the car moved in front of me without evening a signal flash. Then there was the driver with 20 centimetres of snow piled on his roof. As he turned through the intersection, greats cakes of snow calved off and slid over his windshield. And the final fool of the night was the man riding his bicycle on the highway, against the traffic, while holding an umbrella in one hand.

The next morning the news was reporting 28cm of snow in Tokyo, the most in 45 years! I spent much of the morning with my neighbour’s snow shovel and a couple of other neighbours digging out our cars and street.

The morning after the February 8th snowfall in my neighbourhood.

The morning after the February 8th snowfall in my neighbourhood.

A tree in my garden was bent over the street and I had to snip off some branches. This would have been a great time for winter scene photography but it wasn’t until Tuesday morning that I finally took a bit of time to visit Higashi Matsuyama for some rural photography. That day was February 11th – a national holiday – but I had to go on a school trip that day. The good news for me was that after the working day was done, I was treated to a fairly decent sunset as I drove through Hanyu Town.

A rice field under the snow

A rice field under the snow

A dirt road is only just becoming exposed three days after the snowfall.

A dirt road is only just becoming exposed three days after the snowfall.

Sunset in Hanyu

Sunset in Hanyu

By Friday the real trouble was about to begin. Once again the snow began to fall and as I walked from the station back home I thought how beautiful the snow looked in the lights of the local warehouses and courier depot. Without my camera, I had to resort to some iPhone snaps.

At my train station

At my train station

Walking home

Walking home

A tree in the lights of a warehouse

A tree in the lights of a warehouse

The warehouse fence

The warehouse fence

IMG_3832

Snow-covered tree under a street light

Snow-covered tree under a street light

But the next morning the snow had turned to rain and the worse case scenario occurred: a thick layer of water-soaked snow. In Kumagaya, not far from where I live, they had received a record-breaking 61cm. The roof of the gymnasium at Fujimi High School collapsed from the weight. Green houses and car port covers bent and folded. The roof of the sports dome at the Kumagaya Sports Park tore in great gaping holes. My trees were almost touching the street from the weight of the snow they bore. My neighbour’s son had to take an entrance exam in Omiya that day and they fought and struggled to get out of our neighbourhood in their car. I helped push three times as they got stuck. No one came out to clear their cars or the street until the sopping rain had stopped by early afternoon. My train was not running and my car was blocked in. My neighbour had taken his shovel to Omiya and so I used a dust pan to excavate my car. As a neighbour across the street stepped out to inspect the circumstances, a great avalanche thundered from her roof and came down over her garden wall, knocking an ornamental picket fence to the street and bending her mailbox post to an 80 degree angle.

Me with a dust pan and my neighbour with a snow shovel - man we cleared a lot of snow!

Me with a dust pan and my neighbour with a snow shovel – man we cleared a lot of snow!

There was no pleasant sunshine today to help melt the snow as there had been the previous weekend. Tokyo reported the most snow in 120 years. Kofu in Yamanashi reported 140cm! In Chichibu, Saitama, the local train line was immobilized and as of the 27th of February it was still not running past Chichibu Station and into the mountains. To make things worse, hundreds of trucks were stranded on the Usui Pass between Nagano and Gunma. A visit to the supermarket brought back memories of the 11/3/11 earthquake as bread, milk, and other commodities with short expiry dates were unavailable.

Got milk?

Got milk?

Give us this day our daily bread...

Give us this day our daily bread…

As the snow began to melt floods began occurring as the drains were blocked. The news reported only about the snow and the Winter Olympics.

A tumulus at the Sakitama Burial Mound Park in Gyoda City

A tumulus at the Sakitama Burial Mound Park in Gyoda City

Benches facing a lake of windblown snow and thick ice

Benches facing a lake of windblown snow and thick ice

A field near the Sakitama Burial Mounds

A field near the Sakitama Burial Mounds

But the days warmed up and the snow once more began to disappear. On Thursday night, as I stepped out of the supermarket across the street from my station, I looked over to the taxi rotary and saw a mini Alaskan Range. A chain of snow mountains shone under the rotary lights like peaks in the moonlight. At one end there stood an enormous hulking mass of snow – the Denali Peak of the scene. I wished to photograph my impression but the orange plastic poles blocking off the area to vehicular traffic stood in front of the scene like security poles without a rope at a museum exhibit.

Damage done: A collapsed green house in Konosu City, Saitama

Damage done: A collapsed green house in Konosu City, Saitama

Expensive repair job: the new roof with air conditioning and sunroof at the Kumagaya Sports Park

Expensive repair job: the new roof with air conditioning and sunroof at the Kumagaya Sports Park

Above the Falls and Beneath the Mountain

Image

Several years ago, before we were married, my wife and I stayed at a ryokan located a ways off the highway in the forested mountain slopes of Ryogami Village, near Chichibu City, Saitama. It was a memorable stay for a few reasons, one of which being that it was election night in Saitama, and the TV only received three channels – two of them covering the election ballot count and one broadcasting a symphony orchestra’s performance. The building itself was very old and the surrounding trees seemed to be making every effort to reclaim the wood within its sagging structure. The local wildlife, a wasp confused by the light in our room and a centipede of appreciable size found on the corridor wall, seemed right at home. The much touted mineral hot spring was indeed nice though the bath itself was a plain square concrete enclosure. However, the thing that made the biggest impression on me was how the rainwater that night sloshed its way down through holes in the roof and splashed like a running faucet in the corridors on either side of the rooms. One hole opened just next to the stairway to the front entrance and the water freely used the steps to make an indoor cataract. On the opposite side, just before the shared toilets, two more showers splashed onto the floor and one had to take care not to get a wet yukata hem while accessing the facilities. The proprietor, who rarely appeared (except for my wife and I the place seemed deserted), was apparently unconcerned about the shower and waterfall within her forest inn.

The following day, we went in the intermittent rain to see Marugami-no-Taki, the only one of Japan’s hyakusen waterfalls (one hundred selected waterfalls) in Saitama. Our trek up the muddy path was met by a few grumpy-looking mountain toads who, in spite of their natural disgruntled expression, were undoubtedly enjoyed a soggy stroll in the slick muck. At the base of the falls we could appreciate at least the beauty of ribbons of water sliding rapidly over the face of the dark rock; however, the weather and trail conditions discouraged us from climbing up the steep switchback path to view the falls from a higher vantage point.

Skip ahead to the present and on March 29th of this year my co-worker, Basti, and I decided to take a day off for a hike. I had my sights set on another hyakumeizan at first, but Basti’s ankle was still recovering from a very bad break that occurred last autumn in a skateboarding accident. When I suggested waterfalls he seemed to favour them over a long climb. As luck would have it, my Internet mountaineering friend, Chris White, was staying in Yokoze, near Chichibu. Chris and I have known each other since May of 2008 when I saw photos of his Golden Week climb of Kaikomagatake and he saw mine of neighbouring Houousan. We had climbed the two mountains during the same period and through photo sharing on Flickr we came to know each other. Yet in all that time we had never met. Chris was up for a visit to MarugamiFalls and Basti and I met up with him that morning at Yokoze Station.

Part of the lower portion of Marugami Falls in Ryogami Village, Saitama.

Part of the lower portion of Marugami Falls in Ryogami Village, Saitama.

The drive to the falls took us through a narrow mountain valley that at times looked more like a canyon with steep cliffs on either side of us. At the car park, we took the short hike up to the base of the waterfall. As there had not been much rain recently the falls were rather tame looking. After some time shooting around the base of the falls, we followed the switchback trail to the top, but instead of turning right to view the falls in their full glory, we turned left and began hiking above the falls and up the course of the small stream deep into the upper reaches of the valley above. Spring was only just shaking off the brown curled autumn leaves on the ground. The scenery was pleasant, the weather agreeable, the photography satisfactory. But our hike seemed only to lead ultimately to the mountain ridge beyond. And so we decided to begin turning back, shooting as we went.

A mysterious stone structure, possibly an oven for something.

A mysterious stone structure, possibly an oven for something.

One curiosity we encountered was two man-made stone structures. They looked like domes of large rocks built into the earth of the mountain. At one, we discovered a chimney that dropped a metre or so into darkness and some old rusting tools. Chris explored a little farther up the mountain and found a third structure in fairly good shape with an opening serving as an entrance way. We pondered the purposed of these now moss-covered and crumbling assemblages of rocks.

Marugami Falls - 丸神ノ滝

Marugami Falls – 丸神ノ滝

On the way back we finally stopped to take in the full view of the falls – two shorter falls above the long slope’s main cascade. Next we planned to drive down to the Ara River and shoot around some exposed rocks I knew about; however, access was via a privately run campsite and we were told that it was closed until April 1st. Instead, we headed over to a small limestone cave located near the Urayama Dam, near the western base of Bukouzan. Situated beneath an impressive limestone wall, the cave requires a 200 yen fee in order to enter. The path first descends into an opening in the limestone, though in many places “windows” to the outside have been patched up with concrete and rocks. Electric lights illuminate the way and it’s interesting to see moss and small leaved-plants growing inside the cave, around the artificial light sources.

Into the limestone cave

Into the limestone cave

The cave has several usual limestone cave features such as flow stone and stalagmites, but it is not particularly large nor is it anywhere near as impressive as some of the world’s most famous caves. In comparison to even Japan’s most famous caves, this one is hardly worth mentioning. But as it is the only one I have visited in Japan so far I find it interesting enough that this was my third time there. The limestone is grey and rough where it is exposed to the air but where pieces had recently broken off the stone inside looked like a rugged, unpolished smoky blue marble. And where the exposed rock intruded on the pathway and had been smoothened by thousands of feet, it resembled the blue ice deep within a glacier.

Cave growth

Cave growth

Doesn't this remind you of the space jockey in the first 'Alien' movie?

Doesn’t this remind you of the space jockey in the first ‘Alien’ movie?

Upon returning from the cave with our cameras about our necks, the caretaker woman directed our attention to a sign saying that photography inside the cave was forbidden. This came as a surprise to me. She explained, however, that some people had not taken care enough while taking photos on the steep and narrow ladders and there had been accidents, namely people falling off the ladders with camera in hand! As some parts of the route through the cave look up into dark open chasms above and oblique views into gaps and openings all around, I can understand how one could become a little disoriented while looking through a viewfinder and clinging onto the short rails of the ladders.

Spot the photographer

Spot the photographer

Our cave exploration over, we spent a little more time looking at a collection of photos showing how Bukouzan has changed over the last four decades. Chichibu Cement, now owned and operated by Taiheiyo Cement, has been excavating limestone from the mountain for more than a few decades and the face of the mountain has been drastically altered as it is hacked away at, a sad thing to see so unmistakably obvious in the photo collection.

The final thoughts for the day concerned a sign whose illustrations indicated a bizarre world of limestone formations above the wall that loomed over us. I had attempted to climb up some 13 years ago with a friend but we mistook the sign and ended up following the slope of the mountain until we hit upon the private road of the cement company. Now the clouds were coming in and the day was getting late. Chris and I both knew that we wanted to know how the rocks looked up there but it was not something we would attempt this day. Perhaps another time. There are always things to explore in this part of Saitama.

Tres amigos

Tres amigos

How Many Mountains?

At the start of July, 1999 I came to Japan for the third time and this time was not for a visit but with the intention to stay at least six months, hopefully longer if the lifestyle and culture agreed with me. Thanks to a woman I had met in Vancouver, I was able to secure a room for rent in Okegawa, Saitama and within the same week I got a job at an English school in Kumagaya, a few stops along the Takasaki Line from my station.

After a week or two of commuting by train and staring out the window at the small cities and suburbs interspersed with remnant rural scenes, I one day noticed that there were mountains to the west. Until that day the haze had remained too thick to see that far, but indeed there was a range of mountains out there. Once at work, I wasted no time in examining the map of Saitama that hung on the wall in the office. I had noticed the mountains on the map before but had not realized just how close they might be. Thus I became acquainted with the proximity of the Chichibu Mountains to Okegawa and Kumagaya.

Perhaps I had mentioned this to my landlord’s wife, because I recall her telling me that Mount Fuji was visible from Okegawa. I went to the rooftop parking of a nearby 3-story department store but saw only the blue skyline of the Chichibu Mountains. Then one clear October day I remember standing in that parking lot and to my great surprise I clearly saw the white tent shape of Fujisan. Though much farther away that the local mountains, Fujisan demanded attention, seemingly to dominate that distant corner of the sky. In August of ’97, during my first visit to Japan, my girlfriend had taken me to Hakone where we had hoped to see Fujisan from Lake Ashi. But the thick haze had dashed our hopes. Now I was getting my first view of the famous mountain, albeit from 100 kilometres away!

Over the next few years, I slowly became familiar with many of the famous mountains in Japan, some of them near, some far away. I began climbing some of those peaks and learned to recognize many more. When I found out about the Hyakumeizan – that special list of 100 mountains in Japan – I was pleased to discover that I had already climbed 13 of them. Then I returned to Canada for 15 months and did some traveling and hiking abroad before returning to Japan. I stayed the first two years in a part of Saitama City before buying a house in Konosu, between my former haunts of Kumagaya and Okegawa. Now with a car for transportation and a family to drive around, I began to notice just how many mountains were visible from this part of the Kanto Plains, and gradually over the last year or so I have started to identify the Hyakumeizan that are visible from here. A couple of nights ago, I spread out on the floor a map of Japan’s mountains, included in Gakujin magazine’s January 2011 issue and I checked which mountains I should be able to see from here. Starting from the east and moving counter-clockwise to the west, here are the mountains I can or should be able to see from around Konosu.

Tsukubasan – The lowest of the Hyakumeizan, Tsukubasan is a small mountain island in the eastern part of the Kanto Plains. Connected to no chain or range, Tsukuba is easy to identify because it stands as an isolated mountain to the east of here. According to my map, Nasudake should have no obstructing mountains high enough between Konosu and Nasu, but I have not yet had the chance to compare a clear view of the mountains out that with the map. From a rooftop parkade or bridge it is possible to make out some distant mountains out that way, but as yet I don’t know what I am looking at.

Nantaisan and Shiranesan – I have known about Nantaisan for many years. Its distinctive volcanic cone rises high over the surrounding mountains and in winter and spring it sports vertical stripes of snow down its flanks. Nikko Shiranesan only just became familiar to me during my visit to Nikko last month but since then I have been able to easily pick out the white snow-covered and treeless cone of that volcano. The to right of Nantaisan is the Nihyakumeizan, Nyohosan.

Sukaisan 皇海山 (second high peak from left) and Nikko Shiranesan 日光白根山 (white peak) as seen from the highest of the burial mounds at the Sakitama Burial Mound Park in Gyoda City. Photo added November 21, 2012.

Sukaisan and Hotakayama – Next, according to the map and what I can find on Google Earth, I should be able to see clearly Sukaisan and quite possibly, in the far distance beyond many smaller mountains, I can see on a clear day Hotakayama. The other day, I looked carefully at the peaks to the left of Shiranesan and indeed there were two high mountains – Kesamaruyama standing in front of Sukaisan. Hotakayama should also be one of the mountains I can see out that way, just to the right of Akagiyama, and last weekend I was indeed able to see a higher peak with snow out that way. Far beyond that lies Shibutsusan, however, unless someone or a photograph could actually point that one out to me I can not confirm being able to actually see Shibutsusan. From around Konosu, if it is visible at all, it is likely that it would appear only as a distant blue hump among other blue humps. (After this post I confirmed that from ground level this mountain is not visible.)

Akagiyama – With out a doubt, the next visible mountain is Akagiyama. Though not the nearest mountain to me, it appears as the largest. From my house I can reach the crater lake of Onuma within two and a half hours. I was first introduced to this mountain in December of 1999 and in September, 2007 my wife and I climbed it together. Farther to the left is another Nihyakumeizan, Harunasan. Both mountains are ancient volcanoes with multiple summits and lakes.

Akagiyama 赤城山 from the highest burial mound at the Sakitama Burial Mound Park in Gyoda City. Photo added November 21, 2012.

Tanigawadake – Perhaps it was last winter (2010/11) that I was surprised one day to see a chain of white mountains far off in the distance behind Harunasan and extending in behind Akagiyama. The only high range I could think of out that way was the Tanigawa Range that borders Gunma and Niigata Prefectures. So, the other weekend, when the range was visible again, I checked with map on my phone and discovered that Tanigawadake was the higher, more rugged looking peak just off the left shoulder of Akagiyama. In fact, I felt I could almost make out the cliffs at Ichinosawa.

Asamayama – The most exciting of the nearby mountains for me is the active volcano, Asamayama. In September of 2004, the volcano coughed and a couple of mornings later I found a thin layer of grey ash on my bicycle seat. Sometimes, even when the view to other mountains is relatively clear, Asamayama is hidden in haze. But it is visible throughout much of the autumn and winter season as a distinctive high cone, often with a small plume of smoke issuing from its crater. Because of its recent and frequent activity, the slopes have no forest cover and thus it sports a stark white cloak in winter, another factor that makes it stand out from the other mountains whose trees hide the snow cover. Just below Asama and to the left of the mountain is the rotten-stump skyline of Myogisan – another ancient volcano and Nihyakumeizan. To the right of Asama and far in the distance lies Kusatsu Shiranesan, however, even though it lies in a direct line from Konosu without any higher peaks in front, since beginning this mountain identity quest in earnest I have not been able to confirm if it is visible from Konosu or if the hulking form of Asama doesn’t block the view.

Asamayama 浅間山 seen from Arakawa Panorama Park in Konosu City. Photo added November 21, 2012.


The low but ragged peaks of Myogisan 妙義山 as seen from Arakawa Panorama Park in Konosu. Photo added November 21, 2012.

Tateshinayama? – One day last year I looked over to Ryogamisan on a clear January day and thought I could see some white peaks in the distance, behind the mountain. Were they mountains or just clouds? Because haze frequently obscures views beyond the nearest mountains, it was quite some time before I had a chance to see those mysterious white “peaks” again. I kept it in mind to check the map and last week, after spotting them again, I decided to check and found that in that direction, just to the right of Ryogamisan, I might be able to see the north end of Yatsugatake, including Tateshinayama. I had believed these mountains were just too far away to see but the map confirms that there are no higher mountains between Tateshinayama and Ryogamisan. If I can indeed see a range of white mountains in winter they should be Tateshinayama and its neighbours.

(Update: November 21, 2012. From Gyoda it’s possible to see Tengudake, Ioudake, Yokodake, and the final slope of Akadake. See photo below. From Kumagaya, Akadake should be visible too.)

The white peaks in the far distance are those of Yatsugatake 八ヶ岳, 90 kilometres away. Seen here from the highest burial mound at the Sakitama Burial Mound Park in Gyoda City. Photo added November 21, 2012.


From right to left, the distant snowy peaks are: Ioudake 硫黄岳, Yokodake 横岳, and the slope leading up and disappearing behind the closer blue peak is the slope to the peak of Akadake 赤岳.


The distant white peak is Tengudake 天狗岳 of Yatsugatake.

Ryogamisan, Kobushigatake, Kumotoriyama – Ryogamisan is one of the most easily identifiable mountains around Konosu and the one with the most distinctive shape. For many years I have looked at its serrated incisor-like shape, biting into the sky. I long since thought about climbing it and in September of 2010 I finally did. I returned again in May of 2011 because I enjoyed the short but steep climb so much and the scenery was beautiful on the way up. Kobushigatake and Kumotoriyama I knew should be visible from Konosu because from the upper deck at Kita Konosu Station I have a great view of the Okutama Chichibu Mountains and some peaks in the background are definitely higher than other closer ones. Checking with my phone map the other morning I found Kobushigatake but couldn’t confirm which was Kumotoriyama exactly before my train arrived.

Kumotoriyama 雲取山 is the distant peak just slightly left of the exact centre of this image. The prominent peak in the right side of the photo is Bukozan 武甲山, a Nihyakumeizan. Seen from Arakawa Panorama Park in Konosu City. Photo added November 21, 2012.

Daibosatsurei 大菩薩嶺 – Left of the higher Okutama Chichibu Mountains are a few more peaks in front of Fujisan. I never paid them much attention until I discovered (just last night) that another Hyakumeizan, Daibosatsurei, raises its summit there. For now I can’t be sure exactly which peak it is, but there are no higher mountains between Konosu and Daibosatsurei, so I think I can count it on my list of visible Hyakumeizan.

Fujisan – Easily identified when visible, Fujisan this morning was a gorgeous white swam wing that looked positively huge in spite of the 100 kilometre distance.

Fujisan 富士山 seen from Arakawa Panorama Park in Konosu City. Photo added November 21, 2012.

Tanzawasan 丹沢山 – From the roof of the five-story building in Saitama City where my work place used to be located, I could see a crest of mountains just to the left of Fujisan. Were these the mountains of Hakone? Or were they the Tansawa Mountains? Last week I checked the map and learned that they were the Tansawa Mountains. From a bridge in Konosu, I looked over towards Fujisan and to the left of it I spotted the same crest of mountains. Which summit is exactly Tanzawasan I am not sure but I would guess the highest one is.

So, from around Konosu, Gyoda and Kumagaya Cities in Saitama, it is possible to see:
Tsukubasan
Nantaisan
Nikko Shiranesan
Sukaisan
Hotakayama
Akagiyama
Tanigawadake
Asamayama
Akadake
Ryogamisan
Kobushigatake
Kumotoriyama
Daibosatsurei
Fujisan
Tanzawasan

And it may be possible to see:
Nasudake
Kusatsu Shiranesan

I will be looking at the mountains carefully when the sky is clear, though spring haze will begin making them harder to see. And someday I hope to add my own photos and re-post this in parts with maps and satellite images. That would be cool.