Makkari, Hokkaido β†’ πŸŒ‹ Mount Shiribeshi1 β†’ Nakayama Pass, Hokkaido

Map of Hokkaido with author’s route from Makkari to Nakayama Pass highlighted. πŸ—Ί Open map in GaiaGPS β†’

A mountain trail ducks under the gnarled branches of a birch.

Pink mountain flowers covered in droplets of rain.

A jagged crater rim barely visible through the clouds.

A person in a yellow rain coat walks on a trail through a wet-looking forest.

Pink flowers line a mountain trail covered with black volcanic rocks.

πŸ“ Mount Shiribeshi, Hokkaido

Into a grey cloud, into a drizzle which turned into driving rain, into a birch forest which thinned out as I climbed, a girl dressed like a deep-sea diver appearing and disappearing on the narrowing trail. A fierce, cold wind blew out of the crater, and I picked my way around its rim, between large slabs of volcanic rock. It was mountain life at its purest and most pointless. You walk up mountains because you walk up mountains. On the way down, into a proper downpour, I walked barefoot in the mud, similarly to how I had walked out of the thin air of Mount Muhavura in the Virungas, all those summers ago, and I was a tiny grey speck, alone, mesmerized.

A roadside stop in the evening light on a dark, rainy day.

πŸ“ Kimobetsu, Hokkaido

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.

  1. The volcano is also, and perhaps more commonly, known as Mount Yōtei.β†©οΈŽ