Map number 19, hiked July 15, 2017
Mt. Asama is a highly active volcanic peak that is “enter at your own risk” for hikers. But you can still hike around the crater, and the scenery is quite peaceful.
I rode my Harley to this hike. It was about a 3 hour ride each way. My plan was to ride up, hike, find and onsen, and then head back. I started at Takaminekogen and made a loop, hiking along a string of smaller peaks forming a ridgeline that surrounds Asama. The last of the smaller peaks is Nokogiridake, From there you can hike down the ridgeline on a trail at the base of Asama. This trail takes to to a junction with a sign that says “WARNING, POSSIBLE ERUPTION, ENTER AT YOUR OWN RISK.” I am accustom to living in a “non-volcanic” part of the world, so I heeded the warnings and stayed out -especially after hearing the stories of what happend at Mt. Ontake in 2014.
So basically, I know I won’t reach every Hyakumeizan peak due to circumstances that I cannot control. I think of it as mostly symbolic anyway. The goal of the Hyakumeizan for me isn’t to take a selfie with the peak’s marker in the background while holding a thumbs up. What the Hyakumeizan means for me is partly the journey, partly the stories, partly the successes, but most memorably, the failures. And I’m OK with that.