These Walking Dreams: Day 96 (July 17, 2017)

Omisaka Trailhead, Mount Iwate → 🌋 Mount Iwate → Appi Plateau, Iwate

Map of Iwate prefecture with author’s route across Mount Iwate highlighted. 🗺 Open map in GaiaGPS ⇝


Two white up-arrows painted on black rocks point into a foggy void.

Purple flowers growing in dense, green undergrowth.

A yellow rope tied around the trunk of a mountain cherry for support.

Tiny pink roses covered in morning dew.

A mountain hut by an enormous black rock inside a foggy crater.

Komakusa, small pink flowers, bloom on a scree slope.

A man in white rubber boots, standing on a scree slope, looks into the fog.

A small Buddhist statue with a red bandanna around its shoulders.

Looking out over a layer of white clouds from a mountaintop. 📍 Mount Iwate

The crater, a red and black land of volcanic scree, was ringed with statues of the Buddha, and when I stepped up to its rim after hours of climbing in the thinning forest, I stepped into a fierce wind blowing from the northwest, and I was inside the sky, tugged by the violent gusts like a Cessna. Gaps in the racing clouds would reveal the end of Tōhoku, and I stood by the pink dots of komakusa in bloom, then bounded down the volcano, past streams running with hot, turquoise water, north, to the sea.


A couple of climbers walk on the rim of a volcanic crater.

A large, triangular, black rock stands in a green meadow.

Looking up from the undergrowth into a very dense forest.

The trunk of a birch making a 180-degree turn.

Panorama of a high meadow with duckboards leading across it.

Colorful slopes of volcanic scree slope towards a valley.

A meadow by a stream in a forest. 📍 Mount Iwate


A very 90s building, white and shaped like a child’s drawing of a European church, lies abandoned in the weeds.

A Hachi-Roku, a black and white Toyota AE86 sports car, takes a turn across a pedestrian crossing. 📍 Matsuo, Iwate

They’re still around, the old black and white Hachi-Rokus, trumpeting down the back roads and mountain passes of Japan, heroic battles against rust in this wet land, they’re over 30 now, edging into classic car territory, but they’re treated with racing gloves instead of kid gloves, as they should be, and they will be gone, and the new Hachi-Rokus will take their place, on the back roads, down the mountain passes.


Looking up at the Milky Way across the night sky, with a plane passing through the stars. 📍 Appi Plateau, Iwate

Next → Day 97, July 18

Prev. ← Day 95, July 16


These Walking Dreams is a visual field diary of a 4,300-kilometer walk from one end of Japan to the other, in the spring and summer of 2017.