27. Jun 2009
One week ago I bought a hiking book in a outdoor store close to my house. All hiking books about local mountains are available in Japanese only. Of cause I understood nothing. But the staff was so friendly to explain me the main hiking courses and translated most important points (mountain names, starting points, ropeway, …) into English. I think it took about 45 minutes for explanation and translation; I was surprised about such a service. Later this shop became to my favorite outdoor shop in Japan due to very good service.
I left Takasaki about 6:30 am and arrived at the starting point about 8:30 am. There was a huge parking area but already most parking slots have been taken by other hikers. I think I was one of the last who arrived. The sunrise in Japan is very early, about 4:30 am, and people who life in Tokyo leave home about this time. They arrive about 7:30 at the hiking starting point, hike until 3:00 pm, then go to Onzen, have dinner and leave back home about 7:00 pm. It already becomes dark at this time. For me it seems that the daylight-time zone is shifted to the morning in Japan.
The trail leads strait up the mountain; sometimes 1 meter big rocks have to be climbed. This is not difficult but tiring. At 2.200 m there is a beautiful pond at the bottom of Nikko-Shirane peak. Around the pond some very rare flowers are growing, to avoid damage by any animal or human they are protected by electrical fence.
Some meters have to be climbed using a rope, which is easy. I reach the top around lunch time. Lots of hikers are sitting around the top and enjoy their lunch-boxes and the great view. With 2.578 m Nikko-Shirane-san is the highest mountain in Gunma.
I continue hiking to Mae-Nikko-Shirane-san, beautiful flowers which I have never seen before grow next to the trail. There is a deer which seems not to be afraid of humans, we hikers pass about 10 meters close to it.
My route is little longer as the regular one day route, it leads up to五色山Goshikisan from where I wanted to continue to金精山Konseisan. But to my lack in Kanji knowledge I mistake the way. After about 40 minutes down I get some doubt. After checking the map, attitude and direction I recognized that I was wrong. I had to hike up again from where I smoothly continued on the right way.
At 4:20 pm I returned to the parking area. Around this area gifts and food is offered, lots of one-day tourists stop at this point to enjoy the landscape. From the local food I choose a small, coal-grilled trout. They are much smaller in Japan, only about 150 gram each, but really delicious. Another very special local snack are grilled grasshopper. They are made with lots of sugar. My impression was “sweet and cross” – I could not recognize any special taste. I bought a box for the family and retuned to Takasaki around 7:00 pm.
日光白根山 Nikko-Shiranesan 27. Jul 2009
Start 菅沼登山口 Suganuma Trailhead Parking 8:30 am 1.740 m
Top 日光白根山Nikko-Shiranesan 11:15 am 2.578 m
Top 前白根山 Maeshiranesan 1:10 pm 2.373 m
Top 五色山Goshikisan 2:00 pm 2.379 m
Top 金精山Konseisan 2:45 pm 2.244 m
Finish 菅沼登山口Suganuma Trailhead Parking 4:20 pm 1.740 m
Duration: 7 h 50 min Distance: 14 km Height: 1.278 m