Omisaka Trailhead, Mount Iwate โ†’ ๐ŸŒ‹ Mount Iwate โ†’ Appi Plateau, Iwate

Map of Iwate prefecture with authorโ€™s route across Mount Iwate highlighted. ๐Ÿ—บ Open map in GaiaGPS โ†’

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.

๐Ÿ“ 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 Tลhoku, 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. ๐Ÿ“ Mount Iwate

A very 90s building, white and shaped like a childโ€™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. ๐Ÿ“ Matsuo, Iwate

Theyโ€™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, theyโ€™re over 30 now, edging into classic car territory, but theyโ€™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. ๐Ÿ“ Appi Plateau, Iwate

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.