In the mountains of Echigo Yuzawa is a hidden onsen lodge established in the 1800s. The only way it can be reached is by foot on a mountain trail. The lodge maintains 3 separate, open-air baths that sit by the river. It's even possible to go from the onsen water, into the cool river water, and back into the warm bath. The lodge has a large dining room and several small tatami rooms to stay overnight in. A trail leading to the lodge continues all the way to the broad and marsh-covered summit of Naebasan (a top-100 mountain). On a typical year, this will be the time of peak autumn colors. I anticipate this will be a popular trip, but it has limited space (6 members total). If you don't sign up in time, let me know and I'll add you to a waiting list, as it's not uncommon that spaces become available later. Reservations for Akayu Onsen have already been made.
The strategy for this trip (and most of my trips) is to work hard on Friday and Saturday, then completely relax on Saturday night and Sunday. This trip exemplifies this strategy. You will need to bust your hump getting your gear ready during the week ahead, especially getting to Asakadai on time Friday. It's a 3 hour drive to the trailhead. Then, we must hike two hours IN THE DARK (yorumori 夜森) with headlamps on a sometimes narrow (but safe) trail to the campsite. We'll quietly set up our tents (maybe other people around) in a small flat area near the stream and get some sleep before an ambitious day.
After about only 5 hours of sleep we have an ALPINE START (5am wake-up) followed by a day of SEVERE hiking with 1,200m of vertical and 12km distance. We'll have a quick breakfast (oatmeal & coffee) and begin the hike up Naebasan (5 hours map time - one way). Enjoy the summit and head down the same way, through a beautiful and colorful forest that resembles fruity pebbles. We should reach the lodge around dinner time where we can finally relax with a delicious lodge meal (last time the proprietors shared the local mushrooms they foraged in the surrounding forest), local Niigata nihonshu (we must bring), and onsens until our heart's content. We'll treat ourselves to a nights stay at the lodge.
Sunday we'll have a hearty lodge breakfast, more onsen, and take the two-hour walk back to the car. We can return to Tokyo leisurely, maybe even have a bonus onsen in the way home (I know some!).
Friday 23 October
19:00 - Meet at Asakadai Station
21:30 - Arrive at trailhead
23:30 - Arrive at campsite
Saturday 24 October
5:00 - breakfast (oatmeal & coffee)
6:00 - begin hike
13:00 - summit or designated turn around time
17:00 - lodge
18:00 - dinner at lodge
Sunday 25 October
- breakfast at lodge
- return to car
- bonus onsen (I know some places!)
- sushi dinner
19:00 - Asakadai Station
Event Grade, Safety (イベント等級, 安全)
Fitness Grade 7 - Severe
8:30 hours walking time & 1,200m altitude climb
Technical 3 MODERATE - Above Beginner (初級上)
One section near the top with some chains
Sign Up Conditions, Contact Details:
ALL members who wish to join must reply to this post. Spaces are allocated on a first-come-first-serve basis. Only 5 spaces are available. If you did not sign up in time I can add you to a waiting list, and there is still a chance you can join.
Things to Bring (持参もの)
- tent (limited space, share if possible)
- sleeping pad
- sleeping bag
- cup/mug, bowl, spoon
- proper hiking sneakers or boots
- rain/wind gear (top and bottom)
- trail lunch
- energy food
- onsen towel
- 8,500yen cash for lodge
- BYOB (I recommend nihonshu)
Travel Details, Meeting Time & Place (旅行の詳細, 集合時間と場所):
19:00 - Asakadai Station (North Exit)/Kita-Asaka Station (East Exit) at McDonald's
Cost (estimate) per person:
6,500yen - transportation (estimate)
8,500yen - lodge fee (1 night 2 meals)
OCJ is funded by 500yen event attendance (up to 3 days). Collected by organizer who sends half of that to the club PayPal account for website costs.