Running in Tokyo/Japan - Marathon/Clubs/Track Races


This is not a race report but a trail run report.
The course was very nice (but hard actually) so that I would like to share it with you. This will be your future travel option for coming to Japan.

First of all, people think Alps Mt. is in Switzerland. In fact, we, Japan also has North and South Alps in center of the main island, which locates in between Yamanashi & Nagano prefecture (and share with small part of Shizuoka prefecture)
I and Shoji-san (from Namban Rengo) went to the south Alps in last weekend. South Alps is gather with some mountains. We run (partially hiked) Ho-ou San Zan, wihch consist of Mt. Yakushi, Mt. Kannon and Mt. Zizou. The evelation for each mountains is more than 2600m.

Day1: 9th, Aug, Saturday. We left Shinjuku station 8:00 and drove to Minami Alps city in Yamanashi (about 3 hrs from Shinjuku station). Our plan was that we start from Yashyajin (1300m high) carrying our back pack and stay over night at a hut named Minami Omuro Koya by evening, then leave the hut (our heavy stuff, too) before 6:00 and run to the top of mountains.
Staying hut is my first experience. The hut is looks like this

The looks isn't nice but inside is comfortably worm and cozy. Worm...yes, the night was very cold as it was like in winter. I guess the temperature was around 15 C or less. The good thing staying at a hut is that you can talk with some other hikers. Very rarely you will meet other trail runners. In this time we only met hikers and most of them were middle ages, looks like 50s. As I like talking with others, we enjoyed talk with some people, especially a lady from Nagoya pref.

Day2: 10th, Aug, Sunday. The time schedule in mountain hut is very early. On Saturday, all light shut down at 20:00 and breakfirst on Sunday was 5:00. (the light bulb was fluorescent bulb, I guess. This is the concept of "environment friendly" isn't this?? ) We enjoy simple and traditional Japanese style breakfirst. It was simple but rice was very delicious which is harvested localy.

We left the hut at 5:30 and start run up almost 1000 more high. At 6:30, we got at first peak, Mt. Yakushi. We missed sun rise :( But the all situation, "early in the morning", "fresh air", "clear sky" were perfect for us keep running. Under chilly air, we didn't need much water. There are many mountain flowers. This is the thing you never expect in Mt. Fuji. Ash covers Mt. Fuji from middle to the summit so that Mt. Fuji is green-less mountain. The Alps mountains have many green as it's shown in photos.
The top of each mountains have rocks which made us impossible to run. Especially for people those who don't like down hill as me, it is scary thig. I was like a turtle...slowly down rock to rock. On the other hand, Shoji san was like a rabit. I wished I had would be...

At 7:30, we got the last mountain, Mt. Zizou (Zizou-Ga-Take in Japanese). We took small rest at each mountain's top and 2 hours later, finally we got the last point.

On the way to back to Ninami Omuro Hut, we met a trail runner who finished Hasegawa Tsuneo Trail Race 2007 within 11 hours (the race is 71.5Km long and people run within 24 hrs Actually we'd seen about 5 other trail runners. Such trail runners, I mean, long distance trail runners are light, relatively tall and having long legs (as Japanese). That is "Kakkoii- ;)". I can say I'd seen handsome trail runners, hahaha-.

We got the Hut around 9:30. Then we packed our stuff, took short rest with hot chocolate (200 yen for each) and run down back to Yasyajin where we parked Shoji-san' car.

We went local bath "Onsen" afterwards and ate delicious local fruits. Yamanashi prefecture is the popular place where grape, peach and plum are harvested.

Our travel cast is about 6000 yen (less??) for high way + 7800 yen for accomodation with 400 yen for 2 cups of hot chocolate + 550 yen for Onsen + lunch with ?? yen = 14000 - 15000 yen (140 - 150 USD) with priceless great experience ;)

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Comment by namban on August 17, 2008 at 6:59pm
Hey, great pics! I went up Mt. Kitadake a long time ago, similar great sights!
Comment by Gerard Robb on August 15, 2008 at 8:23pm
Comment by Chad Clark on August 15, 2008 at 5:07am
I wish I had gone too. I like this kind of experience, except I prefer later wake-up times (8am!??!). 5-ji wa hayasugiiiiiiiiii desuyo!
Comment by Jon Holmes on August 14, 2008 at 4:44pm
Well done. Very interesting report. You and Shoji-san must be amazingly strong!
Comment by Runfab on August 14, 2008 at 2:29pm
Well done Chika and nice report. I am looking forward to join this experience if it will be done again in future. Ciao Fabrizio

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