Daibosatsu + Kumotori – Excess baggage

Must have been some nasty accident, I idly assumed. From a distance, they had looked like workmen at the turn-off to Kasayama, but as I cornered the bend, they were clearly policemen. At 7 am on a Thursday morning? Another few kilometers on, and the other turn-off to Kasayama was similarly staffed with police. Something must have happened up there. But I didn’t stop to think. I was on my way home after an evening walk up Daibosatsu accompanied by the eerie screeches of deer under a full moon, followed by a dawn piston up Kumotori.

As I drove further down the sweeping curves toward Enzan, there were police at every road and track connecting with route 411. And what were all these young men doing, bags slung over their shoulders, loitering in the open spaces? Then I noticed one of them adjusting his earpiece, and it was not an ipod. I pulled up alongside, startling him. “Are you police?” I asked directly. He nodded. “And why are there police everywhere this morning?” I continued. “The Crown Prince is coming to hike.”

10 minutes later, after three patrol cars at intervals and several intimidating white police motorcycles, the whirring of a helicopter heralded the arrival of the Prince’s motorcade. A further two motorcycles immediately preceded the sleek black car. As it passed, the Prince’s face leaned forward against the glass. He appeared to be staring at Hana, straining at the leash of a dishevelled gaijin in muddy running gear by a country roadside at 7:30 in the morning.

I hope he enjoyed a quiet hike in the hills.



6 thoughts on “Daibosatsu + Kumotori – Excess baggage

  1. Well, you’ve answered a question that has been plaguing me for some time: how does the Crown Prince make his trips to the mountains? I was pretty sure that he wasn’t fighting for a jiyu-seki on the Chuo-line, but nonetheless that cavalcade and entourage is rather impressive..

    I’m not surprised Hana caught the Imperial eye – it looks like he’s a bit of a dog fan too:

  2. But I’m still curious to know how many of those security staff actually go with him up the trail. A few years back the royal couple went to Daibosatsu. The photos proudly displayed in the mountain lodge show ordinary hikers in the background, but perhaps they were security guards dressed up to look the part.

    Also that morning, there was an extraordinarily large number of taxis coming up the road from Enzan station, filled with elderly hikers. I guess they were hoping to see the Prince on the trail.

  3. wow. i thought they’d just close the mountain when the Imperial Family came to hike. It all seems a bit overboard, because if the crown prince wore regular hiking gear then he’d probably blend in with everyone else and no one would even notice.

  4. Wes, you’re spot-on. If he were to hike on his own, few would notice and he might enjoy his hike more. I suspect they had effectively closed the mountain, as there were police guarding both ends of the road loop to the start point.

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