That train ride takes a good 90 minutes, so in addition to our boots, backpacks, and a can-do attitude, we also came with snacks and drinks. Nothing short of the available at Japan’s fine kombini establishments.
We would stay here in 2 Japanese-style rooms on the 3rd floor. Both rooms opened up to a spacious veranda perfect for barbecues overlooking the city.
But we arrived after 11PM and were ourselves somewhat tired, so the barbecuing would have to wait for later. We retired to our rooms in the the solitude of Yugawara’s hills.
Driving in Tokyo isn’t great, though that’s hardly exclusive to Tokyo alone. I find city driving world-wide is veritably intolerable. Traffic, construction, concrete everywhere, it can be a supremely uncomfortable experience. This is one reason I prefer bicycles over cars: while not perfect, they make moving around much easier.
Driving in inaka is another story. Japan’s natural beauty really opens up once you’re sufficiently outside the city limits. More often than not you’ll be cruising through luscious dreamscapes swirling with natural colors and devoid of humans. Inaka driving offers a reprieve from the never-ending barrage of anxiety that cities so easily provide.
So off we went, heading south towards the extremely isolated reaches of Izu City, the Amagi Mountain Range.
I thought he meant that this was a massive vacant ghost hotel that he’s been secretly renovating, but I was wrong. Instead, this was the very functional Hotel Harvest Amagi Kogen, and it had a spectacular view of Mt. Fuji he wanted to show us.
He was right — it was a striking view. But the fog was too heavy and we could just barely make out Mt. Fuji’s peak. So we tried to take pictures with the deer and explored the premises a bit, and got back into the car and continued on our way.
To the right and past the air conditioning unit, there is a path around back that gets a little hairy. Not for any overgrowth, but for the dilapidated stairs down the steep incline revealing the concrete foundation. This overlooks much of the woodlands behind it, as well as 2 nearby cabins, only one of which is inhabited.
It’s hard to not think that this is actually a very interesting setup. It could easily be used for a picnicking area with a wonderful view of the flora and occasional fauna, provided the stairs were fixed. From experience this shouldn’t be difficult if you’ve got a mallet or sledge, axe or wedge, and bamboo or wood . That’s all you need to make reinforcement walls down an incline, aka dirt stairs!
The End for Now
Each of these experiences have multiple people and places involved, all of whom interact with each other dynamically. I’m glad to explore these properties on my own, but to do so with friends really takes it to another level.
Speaking of which, I’m putting together a multi-day bike trek across Chiba to check out some properties there while getting in some camping. We’ve got other opportunities, too, including Shizuoka coming up. Lemme know if that sounds interesting — would love to get a troupe of explorers together for an Inaka Club experience!