A Torii gate inn Mie Prefecture

Hike: Mt. Tsubonegachō – Mt Hoppō

This was a good hike. Starting at sea level and climbing up to 310m to the summit of Mt. Tsubonegachō (局ヶ頂) it had deserted beaches, solid climbs, wonderful views along the Mie coast, and an encounter with a wild boar. Sketchy in a few places due to being right on the cliff edge it wasn’t a place where you’d want to lose your footing. Luckily I didn’t.

Sunrise over the bay.
Just after sunrise.

I left home at around 2:30 a.m. and reached the tiny fishing port of Nankai (南海) at around 4:30 a.m. giving me plenty of time to climb up high for a morning sunrise over the bay. It took about 5 hours in total. 

A wild boar.
Encounters with a boar.

As the first beach of the morning came into view I startled an adult wild boar feeding in the undergrowth. The boar, inoshishi 猪 in Japanese, was about 20 metres away and initially fled, but then stopped in its tracks, turned around and squared up to me as if it was deciding whether or not I was a threat, before scuttling off to a safe distance (for me) into the forest. I stood my ground, stretched out my arms to make myself seem bigger and then picked up a couple of rocks just run case it charged, although I have no idea whether a few rocks would make any difference. On the beach I saw boar tracks everywhere.

On the cliff's edge.
Sheer drop into the ocean.
Deserted beach. Minami Ise.
The Minami Ise area has numerous beaches like this.

I hiked the course solo but there were a few sketchy places with sheer drops off the cliff so next time I’d prefer to do it with a partner. If you’re just going to the summits of Mt. Tsubonegachō  and Mt. Hoppō (北峰) then hiking by oneself should be fine.

Japanese black kite.
Black kites.

Black kites (tobi 鳶) were everywhere and are very common near fishing ports. Their cries are some of my favourite to be heard amongst all of Japan’s wildlife.

Looking west towards Owase and Kumano.
Looking southwest towards Owase and Kumano.
A small fishing port.
The small fishing port where the hike begins.

As I type now I’m struggling to find the correct words (I’m no writer) but these kinds of mini adventures with plenty of different ingredients – the mountains, the ocean, small villages, thrills and occasional danger – along with photography and journaling goals are becoming more important as time goes by. Yes, keeping things simple and friction free is a philosophy I like to live by but one singular activity that lacks variety just doesn’t cut it anymore. The more days spent outdoors testing myself the more it becomes about a personal legacy, something to be documented in my private journal and on here – a new path hopefully leading towards my true self.

A few years ago it was just cycling, but now mixing things up is imperative.

Data for the day’s hike can be found here on YAMAP.

Screenshot of data for the hike.

Lived in central Japan since 2001 and spend free days exploring.