Monday, 28 September 2009

Chokkai san

(Chokkai seems to be more commonly spelt as Chokai but the kk like the ss of Gassan indicates that there is a kind of  glottal stop in the middle of the word so it sounds like Chaw//kai not Chaaawkaaiii and Gu//san not Gusaaan).

From Kisakata we climbed up the  road that winds up  Chokkai san from the Yamagata side. Despite the haze, the view was spectacular.  Government efforts to have people spending money by lowering road tolls and having a five day holiday were working well if the cars in the carpark there were any guide.  There were cars from literally all over Japan.  We saw vehicles from every region (except Okinawa obviously as it is closer to Taiwan and has no bridge joining it to the main islands): neighbouring prefectures, Kanto, Kansai, southern parts of the Japan sea coast, Hiroshima & surrounds,  Shikoku, as well as Hokkaido.  Hiro had never seen such an array of differently plated cars in Tohoku  - even in Tokyo the number of Tokyo plates dilutes the rest considerably.

We started climbing from the Akita side, with no intention to climb the 8 km one way to the summit.  Hiro has been here many times, and had memories of a lake part way up - we climbed for a distance but upon being told it was a steep 4km hike from the carpark made a unanimous decision to skip the lake. 8kms isn't so far but becomes a lot further when it's steep and you haven't eaten much.

We went back down and had a late lunch at a michi no eki  - kind of travellers rest / farmers market - before setting off into Akita.  We spent Tues in Odate before making a gruelling 9 hour trip back to Tokyo! Fortunately we avoided traffic congestion of all description and it wasn't 12 hours :)

Chokkai san
Chokkai san in late March.