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Newer Page 31 of 966 Older Full Trip Report
Japan Hiking Mount Tanigawa Doai Station

6 November 2019

Fast run up an icy mountain

From Doai station to Mount Tanigawa and back in 4.5 hours

Lots and lots of photos today, so I will do most of my boring nonsense dribbling with the photos.

In summary, today was one of my best hikes ever, definitely top 3.
The vertical gain was greater than when you climb Fuji from the 5th station bus stop.
Snow fell on me, a rarity.
I made it to the summit and back without using the cable car in 4.5 hours, 20 minutes to spare before the train left.
This gave me enough time to properly explore Japan's deepest train station.

Now onto the many many pics.

Japan-Hiking-Mount Tanigawa-Doai Station - I was out the door at 6AM, and surprise rain had arrived. This was not part of the plan!

I was out the door at 6AM, and surprise rain had arrived. This was not part of the plan!


Japan-Hiking-Mount Tanigawa-Doai Station - As I went further south on the fast train, it was still raining a bit, but starting to clear up.

As I went further south on the fast train, it was still raining a bit, but starting to clear up.


Japan-Hiking-Mount Tanigawa-Doai Station - I think this is Nagaoka, sun starting to break through.

I think this is Nagaoka, sun starting to break through.


Japan-Hiking-Mount Tanigawa-Doai Station - Sunshine! The dark clouds on one half and bright sun on the other provided a great twilight effect. I am getting better at taking photos from a moving

Sunshine! The dark clouds on one half and bright sun on the other provided a great twilight effect. I am getting better at taking photos from a moving Shinkansen. When you read my Japan trips, the drinking game is Shinkansen. Each time I say it, drink.


Japan-Hiking-Mount Tanigawa-Doai Station - By the time I got to Doai station, it was very bright. Doai station has two platforms, this one above ground, and the other one, which is the deepest

By the time I got to Doai station, it was very bright. Doai station has two platforms, this one above ground, and the other one, which is the deepest in Japan for trains heading North. You will see it later as I went back towards Niigata from that platform.


Japan-Hiking-Mount Tanigawa-Doai Station - The first part of my journey was to run really fast up the hill on the regular road to the bottom cable car station. I had set myself a time limit, 2.

The first part of my journey was to run really fast up the hill on the regular road to the bottom cable car station. I had set myself a time limit, 2.75 hours max to get to the summit or turn back. I was making hay will the sun was shining at this point thinking it might rain later, going as fast as I could. Heart rate hit 175, my watch got angry.


Japan-Hiking-Mount Tanigawa-Doai Station - I followed the access road up to the top cable car station, heres proof I did not take the cable car. The access road is hard going, it can only be dr

I followed the access road up to the top cable car station, heres proof I did not take the cable car. The access road is hard going, it can only be driven on by things with caterpillar tracks. It is very steep and very rocky. A few times big rocks slid out from under my feet as I ran up it.... yes I ran where I could.


Japan-Hiking-Mount Tanigawa-Doai Station - Looking back down the rocky path. Rain was coming! I had options if the weather turned really bad, stop at the top cable car station and catch it back

Looking back down the rocky path. Rain was coming! I had options if the weather turned really bad, stop at the top cable car station and catch it back down being the least desired plan.


Japan-Hiking-Mount Tanigawa-Doai Station - I was gaining height very quickly. The hike starts at about 600 metres and ends at 2000 if you make the summit. The top cable car station is about 120

I was gaining height very quickly. The hike starts at about 600 metres and ends at 2000 if you make the summit. The top cable car station is about 1200m. So if you take the cable car you skip a lot of the challenge! DONT BE WEAK!


Japan-Hiking-Mount Tanigawa-Doai Station - Its raining on the next mountain over, which I also wanted to climb a few days ago but went to the volcano instead.

Its raining on the next mountain over, which I also wanted to climb a few days ago but went to the volcano instead.


Japan-Hiking-Mount Tanigawa-Doai Station - I arrived at the top cable car station after just over an hour, which included 5 minutes of stuffing about at the bottom getting on the right track. T

I arrived at the top cable car station after just over an hour, which included 5 minutes of stuffing about at the bottom getting on the right track. There are a few ski fields up here, but the big mountains are to the right of this pic and the big ski fields are further down the valley. I did not even stop here, had to keep going!


Japan-Hiking-Mount Tanigawa-Doai Station - Looking back down on the cable car / ski resort. This part of the trail was nice and smooth, with wooden planks in many places. It is a very popular t

Looking back down on the cable car / ski resort. This part of the trail was nice and smooth, with wooden planks in many places. It is a very popular trail from the top cable car station to the summit, however I was the only person who ran up from the station.


Japan-Hiking-Mount Tanigawa-Doai Station - I was headed up there, into the cloud. Well I was hoping to, as long as it didnt rain too hard and I had enough time to get there. Also, another rainb

I was headed up there, into the cloud. Well I was hoping to, as long as it didnt rain too hard and I had enough time to get there. Also, another rainbow. I was still running wherever I could at this point, soon it would get steeper. Under the rainbow there, that steep cliff, that is one of the most challenging ice rock cliff climb things in Japan. If you read about Mount Tanigawa you will read that it has killed over 800 people, more than Everest. This is largely from the ice climbing and also avalanches in winter. You can ignore all that if you are climbing it in hiking weather.


Japan-Hiking-Mount Tanigawa-Doai Station - Views started to appear. Amazing views. They would only get better.... until I entered the cloud that is.

Views started to appear. Amazing views. They would only get better.... until I entered the cloud that is.


Japan-Hiking-Mount Tanigawa-Doai Station - Lower down view in the other direction. Somehow the rain never arrived. I was very relieved, and puffing hard.

Lower down view in the other direction. Somehow the rain never arrived. I was very relieved, and puffing hard.


Japan-Hiking-Mount Tanigawa-Doai Station - Bonus view.

Bonus view.


Japan-Hiking-Mount Tanigawa-Doai Station - Getting higher.

Getting higher.


Japan-Hiking-Mount Tanigawa-Doai Station - Still blue sky.

Still blue sky.


Japan-Hiking-Mount Tanigawa-Doai Station - Now the steep parts started. There were ropes and chains but no ladders. They were not really needed, but have been added to this hike due to its popu

Now the steep parts started. There were ropes and chains but no ladders. They were not really needed, but have been added to this hike due to its popularity. I saw a lot of other people even though its a weekday with questionable weather.


Japan-Hiking-Mount Tanigawa-Doai Station - The view is starting to get pretty serious now.

The view is starting to get pretty serious now.


Japan-Hiking-Mount Tanigawa-Doai Station - This one is looking back down in the direction I had come from. I like the silvery trees and shrubs, caused by the icy winds.

This one is looking back down in the direction I had come from. I like the silvery trees and shrubs, caused by the icy winds.


Japan-Hiking-Mount Tanigawa-Doai Station - Even though I am only going up to the first peak in the range, which I think is highest, you can continue on for many days of camping over all those p

Even though I am only going up to the first peak in the range, which I think is highest, you can continue on for many days of camping over all those peaks. There are huts along the way to set up camp inside. The range is the border between Gunma and Niigata. The weather can change very suddenly.


Japan-Hiking-Mount Tanigawa-Doai Station - Another look down the valley.

Another look down the valley.


Japan-Hiking-Mount Tanigawa-Doai Station - And the other valley.

And the other valley.


Japan-Hiking-Mount Tanigawa-Doai Station - Now to keep going into the cloud and towards the summit.

Now to keep going into the cloud and towards the summit.


Japan-Hiking-Mount Tanigawa-Doai Station - It was getting very steep! But it was not very windy. So far...

It was getting very steep! But it was not very windy. So far...


Japan-Hiking-Mount Tanigawa-Doai Station - I hit the cloud, and it started snowing. Not enough to show on the ground though. Even though I was only wearing a long sleeve tshirt, I was not cold,

I hit the cloud, and it started snowing. Not enough to show on the ground though. Even though I was only wearing a long sleeve tshirt, I was not cold, despite it being about 0 degrees. The key is to keep going as fast as possible.


Japan-Hiking-Mount Tanigawa-Doai Station - Ice started to appear. Thankfully not enough for me to be worried about slipping.

Ice started to appear. Thankfully not enough for me to be worried about slipping.


Japan-Hiking-Mount Tanigawa-Doai Station - About 100m below the summit is this emergency hut. I think its where you are supposed to camp for the first night on multi day hikes.

About 100m below the summit is this emergency hut. I think its where you are supposed to camp for the first night on multi day hikes.


Japan-Hiking-Mount Tanigawa-Doai Station - Here I am on the summit. It was very windy on the summit, and very cold. I was ahead of schedule, but no time for happy snaps. I could not do THE STAN

Here I am on the summit. It was very windy on the summit, and very cold. I was ahead of schedule, but no time for happy snaps. I could not do THE STANCE because my camera would probably blow off the mountain. I am wearing my favourite, oldest long sleeve t-shirt that has appeared in many shots on the top of mountains.


Japan-Hiking-Mount Tanigawa-Doai Station - ICE ICE BABY.

ICE ICE BABY.


Japan-Hiking-Mount Tanigawa-Doai Station - For my fast descent I had to put my camera in my bag and put my gloves on so I could use my hands to lower myself down rocks. On the way down I went b

For my fast descent I had to put my camera in my bag and put my gloves on so I could use my hands to lower myself down rocks. On the way down I went back past a number of people I passed on my way up. They were very chatty, making triangles with their hands and asking Peak? Yes? And when I said yes they would clap. These were mostly older women. They like me on mountains because clearly I am not in Japan to impregnate their daughters if I am climbing a mountain. They would probably let me have an ice cream. Anyway I got distracted, this photo is proof I DID NOT take the cable car back down. I ran back down, fast.


Japan-Hiking-Mount Tanigawa-Doai Station - I was early back to the station. This is part of the station, a pedestrian footbridge going into the mountain, where the giant straight down staircase

I was early back to the station. This is part of the station, a pedestrian footbridge going into the mountain, where the giant straight down staircase starts.


Japan-Hiking-Mount Tanigawa-Doai Station - Before hitting the stairs, I checked out the chalet shop. A nice spot. I wonder if they stay open all winter or if they get completely snowed in?

Before hitting the stairs, I checked out the chalet shop. A nice spot. I wonder if they stay open all winter or if they get completely snowed in?


Japan-Hiking-Mount Tanigawa-Doai Station - Here is the actual station. There is no staff. You can not use SUICA/ICOCA. I am using my Nagano/Niigata all areas travel pass so I didnt have to worr

Here is the actual station. There is no staff. You can not use SUICA/ICOCA. I am using my Nagano/Niigata all areas travel pass so I didnt have to worry about buying a paper ticket. There is a ticket inspector woman on the train and she seemed to catch a few people that got on at other stations. My pass was checked twice in both directions, riding for free is not an option if you plan to steal from Japan!


Japan-Hiking-Mount Tanigawa-Doai Station - I am assuming that sign says its 486 steps. There is no lift, there are no escalators.

I am assuming that sign says its 486 steps. There is no lift, there are no escalators.


Japan-Hiking-Mount Tanigawa-Doai Station - Here is the inside of that pedestrian walkway I showed the outside of before. It could fall down any day now.

Here is the inside of that pedestrian walkway I showed the outside of before. It could fall down any day now.


Japan-Hiking-Mount Tanigawa-Doai Station - Steps, all the way down. No bends, no turns, just a straight down staircase. They are all in groups of 5 with a mini landing after every 5 steps. Ever

Steps, all the way down. No bends, no turns, just a straight down staircase. They are all in groups of 5 with a mini landing after every 5 steps. Every 50 steps they have painted a number. It sounds like a lot of steps but its really not that many. I went half way back up again as I had time.


Japan-Hiking-Mount Tanigawa-Doai Station - Heres the view from the bottom looking back up again.

Heres the view from the bottom looking back up again.


Japan-Hiking-Mount Tanigawa-Doai Station - The deep, deep platform. People come here in the middle of the night and go ghost hunting. They also come in the day time to check out the steps. You

The deep, deep platform. People come here in the middle of the night and go ghost hunting. They also come in the day time to check out the steps. You can see other people in my photos of the steps, but none of them actually boarded the train, I was the only person who got on the train at this station. I am lead to believe on average only 22 people a day use this station, that number includes the top and bottom stations.


Japan-Hiking-Mount Tanigawa-Doai Station - There is a toilet at the bottom. I have no idea where it drains to. Theres no door on it!

There is a toilet at the bottom. I have no idea where it drains to. Theres no door on it!


Japan-Hiking-Mount Tanigawa-Doai Station - The waiting room is filled with hungry / angry ghosts.

The waiting room is filled with hungry / angry ghosts.


Japan-Hiking-Mount Tanigawa-Doai Station - I walked to the end and took a long exposure, nothing much to see. I aint afraid of no ghosts.

I walked to the end and took a long exposure, nothing much to see. I aint afraid of no ghosts.


Japan-Hiking-Mount Tanigawa-Doai Station - The local train took me back to EchigoYuzawa where I changed back to the Shinkansen. This is a very popular onsen town and ski resort. The main ski fi

The local train took me back to EchigoYuzawa where I changed back to the Shinkansen. This is a very popular onsen town and ski resort. The main ski fields are a few km away, I saw lots and lots of huge hotels on the sides of hills, and lots of chair lifts. No snow yet though. Because its such a popular spot, the station has lots of high end shopping for tourists.


Japan-Hiking-Mount Tanigawa-Doai Station - Out in the street people were soaking their feet in volcanic boiling water. Hopefully its hot enough to kill tinea.

Out in the street people were soaking their feet in volcanic boiling water. Hopefully its hot enough to kill tinea.


Japan-Hiking-Mount Tanigawa-Doai Station - The station forecourt is not really representative of the Yuzawa area, the much fancier hotels are all on the ski fields. The station is built on the

The station forecourt is not really representative of the Yuzawa area, the much fancier hotels are all on the ski fields. The station is built on the side of a hill.


Japan-Hiking-Mount Tanigawa-Doai Station - The shops inside the station however, are all very nice.

The shops inside the station however, are all very nice.


Japan-Hiking-Mount Tanigawa-Doai Station - On the bullet train back to Niigata, clear blue sky again! I missed all the weather apart from some welcome snow. Actually, all of a sudden the train

On the bullet train back to Niigata, clear blue sky again! I missed all the weather apart from some welcome snow. Actually, all of a sudden the train got wet like we hit a sudden downpour, but I think we went through a train wash.


NewerPage 31 of 966OlderFull Trip Report