Hiking: Yama Girls

Photo above – First ‘hike’ as a new family.


The Japanese hiking world has a thing – yama girl. Young women, mostly in their twenties, often university students, heading to the mountains in groups of 4 or 5 (although solo hiking has become popular too) all in the latest hiking fashion. It’s not what you would usually expect when thinking about young Japanese women. Harajuku fashion, for me, is more likely to come to mind. But anything that gets the younger generations into the mountains and away from dirty polluted cities is a good thing. Good on them.

Why am I telling you this? Because although I couldn’t care less about hiking fashion one of my goals for my daughter is to teach her about the benefits of the outdoors, especially the mountains. If I can do that I truly believe she’ll be healthier, wiser, and a better human being than she would be if she stayed in the city. With the rare exception of a bear encounter or a twisted ankle not much bad has come from a walk in nature, right?

A short hike in Chigo-no-mori, Komaki, Aichi.

So from this hiking season onwards I’m going to add a new goal to my yearly goals – 2 hikes or walks a month on a forest trail with my daughter. We did this for the first time yesterday and she loved it. She’s not a yama girl yet, but I’d be more than happy helping her become one.

Cycled since I was a kid, moved to Japan in 2001, bought my first 'serious' camera in 2005. Spent the later half of the 1990s travelling in Australia, Hong Kong, India, Nepal, Japan, and the Philippines and wish I'd photographed a lot more back then.

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