Wednesday, September 11, 2013

Japan vacation, hiking day eight.

After a breakfast that is much better than we had expected from the hotel, we are underway at around 7:30. We seek out the gondola station in the Happo One ski area, buy tickets, and head up the mountain. One gondola and two chair lifts later (funny chair lifts set in summer mode so that we can almost drag our feet on the ground) and we are at around 1830m, with a bunch of other people, and we head up the trail. Down in town and on the lifts up the sun was shining, but up here we are in clouds. Crap.
chairlift with botanic guide
We get started with the climbing, working our way through the crowd, until we hit the pond at about 2070 m and see the real trail ahead heading up into the clouds. The thought of spending another day doing ridge hiking through a cloud and then the bad weather forecast for the next day leads us to sit down for a bit and take stock.

all in clouds ....
After a bit of back and forth and discussion, we make the call to skip the next ridge and just head back for a couple extra days in Tokyo. Back down we go to the lifts and then the gondola, and then we are back in Happo. We stop at the tourist info office to find out about connections back to Tokyo and then start the walk back to the train station. About 10 minutes after leaving the office we realize that the bus connection we want to Nagano probably starts there and then goes to the station, so we are doing a stupid walk, but now it's too late. Ah well...

We take the very scenic bus ride through the mountains to Nagano, pick up some lunch stuff there, and then take the Shinkansen to Tokyo. This is fast, smooth, and painless (aside from the fact that there's no wifi on the train and greg keeps losing his 3G connection).
Back in Tokyo we head to the Japanese National Tourist Office to get some help booking a hotel room (we learned something last night). It's tough because of the upcoming three day weekend, but three of the staff together manage to find us a place in Shinjuku, which is what we're looking for. We find the hotel, check in, shower, grab some excellent tempura, pick up our bag from the last hotel, and then retire for the evening.

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