Today, Akadake took almost three times as long as last year. But then hiking with a group of 25 from the Tokyo “Aspen” cycling/running club was never going to be fast, especially after they had cycled 150km yesterday to get here.

Three years ago, when Hana was a wild adolescent, she would have been uncontrollable with the excitement of so many people, but today, with 100 mountains under her collar, she remained close at heel and was a model of good behaviour.

The whole group celebrated together at the top, then we beat a hasty running retreat as the first drops of rain fell.

It feels good to have finished, after starting on February 2 with Amagi-san. The geographical spread of the mountains has taken me to beautiful parts of Japan that I would never have seen otherwise. And apart from the occasional dog-hater, I have received so much kindness and encouragement, both along the trail and on this site.

To everyone who has read this blog, I owe you a big thank-you. I never used to understand why people write blogs. But seeing the visitor statistics encouraged me to persevere through the rain and darkness on another unknown and lonely mountain when I desperately wanted to abandon and return to a warm home.

What next? Last week I came home to find that Kin had left a printed list on the kitchen table: 山梨の百名山 (The Hundred Mountains of Yamanashi Prefecture)….

23 thoughts on “Akadake

  1. Congratulations! Although we didn’t learn of your project till late, it was very inspiring to follow. “Where did Hana go?? Did you check yet?” – my wife would always bug me after the weekends..

    Perhaps a book is in the works? We did a small project via the on-demand printing service blurb.com a few months ago, and were pretty happy with it. I’m sure many people would be very interested in your and Hana’s adventures.

  2. Congratulations!

    I too think you can make a book – a guide book for foreigners hiking with dogs in Japan. Trust me, it will sell! ;P

    I also have an idea for a next project. Tomoe and I have been talking about hiking the border of Nagano. Most of it is trailed and would take us over 1/3 of the hyaku meizan, and also give a sense of “completion”. It would be great to do it all in one three month long trip (like the PCT), but I don’t think the birds can be left alone that long so it would have to be broken up into many smaller legs and would take a long time – OR it can be a combined relay effort. Do it for charity of something.

  3. Thanks very much for those positive comments! Honestly, sometimes I forced myself up those mountains because I couldn’t bear to admit to you all that I was abandoning the 100+dog challenge.

    I don’t have any confidence at all in my ability to write, but perhaps I will try approaching a publisher (one that hasn’t gone bust like Yohan).

    George, I *think* I remember seeing a link to your book on your site, but could not find it again just now. I checked blurb.com and the prices seemed cheap for custom publishing, so I wonder what the quality is like. If nothing else, it would make a great keepsake for when Hana passes away. I’ve certainly got no intention of doing it all again with the next dog!

    Kevin, that Nagano border route sounds fascinating. It must surely be the best prefecture to choose for such a trip. Any idea of the total km distance or maptime around the loop?

  4. Hi Julian,
    Sorry, we re-did our website last week and the link got lost. It’s here at: http://www.backcountryjapan.com/index.php?x=about

    We ran over +200 pages, so it cost +$50USD for the cheapest option (softcover 25×20 cm). If you kept the pages down between 100-150 pages, it would probably cost much less. Quality is surprisingly good, both in terms of photo-color and binding/paper. As for content, I think you have already created most of it via your blog. Overall it’s a very easy process – you download a powerpoint-like software to your computer, insert photos and text, then upload to their server when you’re ready to print. If you wanted to approach a publisher here, it might also be a good-demo for presentations, etc.

  5. Congratulations Julian & Hana! It’s been great to read of your progress over this past year. I’ll be following humbly (and much more slowly) in your footsteps on the hyakumeizan for some years to come..

    I second (third? forth?) the call for a book. I actually have George’s, and I can vouch 100% for the quality of Blurb.com.

    Once again, congratulations!

  6. Thanks for reposting the book link, George, I have just ordered it and look forward to seeing more outstanding photos of your exploits. I was unaware of blurb.com and the whole concept until your post today.

    Chris, you’re the one whose photos and writing should be in print! That was my immediate reaction when I read your first post, and I’m sure your readers think likewise. I hope you take your time with the 100 so that we can savour your blog posts for years to come.

  7. otsukaresama Julian and Hana! I’m glad to see Hana got a “gold medal” for her accomplishments. i also concur with the book idea, but I hope that regular hikers won’t try to climb Mt. Iide and Mt. Asahi both in the same day! Some of your climbs were bordering on insanity (Oku-hotaka from the west at night!), but that’s what made them such a pleasure to read. I hope Hana doesn’t have any withdrawal symptoms from not going to the mountains every weekend, but I’m sure you come up with an alternative adventure to keep her occupied soon. There’s always the 100 famous flower mountains!

  8. Outstanding! Nice going, you two. I too like the idea of a book, maybe with part of the proceeds going to charity. Like ARK perhaps, who are sure to have their hands full in dealing with strays once this whole dog craze fades away.

    Good luck adapting to the flatland once again…

  9. Wes, the dog is already pestering me as I try to work! I’ve appreciated your many comments during the last six months, as well as the ever-useful route descriptions on your website. Without them, I might have been gassed at the true top of Asama.

    Ted, if I could get a book into regular print I’d be happy to donate all proceeds to ARK for the great work they do. Like most charities, they are probably in greater need of cash than volunteers. First, I’ll try blurb.com

  10. Congratulations, Julian and Hana! It was wonderful following you along on this trip. The 100 mountains/dog combination was a real winner and I constantly wanted to know how both of you were doing. It’s just too bad you didn’t have the site ready for the Japanese keitai. You would have had an enormous following! (plus engendered great sympathy for hiking dogs).

    If you are thinking of publishing a book through a professional publisher it might be better to do it abroad rather than in Japan. Japanese English books have an extremely poor circulation and don’t sell very well, mainly because Japanese publishers just don’t understand the non-Japanese market. You might want to approach a publishing company like The Mountaineers. I also think your book would sell very well in Japan if the book is translated, and be sure to include lots of cute pictures of Hana.

  11. Thanks butuki-san, it’s been great to have you along for the ride. I’m feeling withdrawal symptoms already and we definitely need a new project for next year or the year after before Hana gets too old for long distances.

    I think you’re right that the market for English books in Japan would be very limited. Overseas publishing hadn’t entered my mind. I’m not that bothered about writing a proper book. The blog was intended just to force myself to keep my own record, and maybe a blurb book would be a good keepsake for me and my wife. I fear that trying to publish professionally would consume an inordinate amount of precious free time when I’d rather be out on the trail with the dog, and I know which she would prefer!

    The fact that yourself and other blog readers have enjoyed our adventure is immensely satisfying and enough of a reward. Really!

  12. Congratulations Julian and Hana!

    It has been an adventure to follow you through all one hundred this year. I’m glad you found a way to finish even with sore paws.

    I also think a book with an ample amount of pictures would be attractive and interesting to read.

    I am curious to know how many have read Craig MacLachlan’s (sp?) book about his and Travis’ 78-day Hyakumeizan adventure (c. 1997). That is an entertaining read involving the Hyakumeizan also.

    Kevin’s idea of a circuit of the Nagano-ken border sounds intriguing as well, but that would be a bit of a pioneer project.

    Thanks for making this year interesting for us armchair-hyakumeizan types!!

  13. And thanks to you KamoshikaBob for keeping up the support, without which I might well have quietly abandoned (and then regretted doing so).

    Craig’s book was one big motivating factor for me, as well as being an excellent read. Their time was subsequently “beaten” by Hirata-san, who did the 100 in 66 days, delivering Gideon bibles to mountain huts. Those can’t have been light. But unfortunately his book is factual in the extreme and does not compare with Craig’s.

  14. Congratulations to Hana (and Julian) on completing the Hyakumeizan. And I’m looking forward to the book too! Maybe this one would even find a larger market in a Japanese version. After all, there are scores of Hyakumeizan books – but this would be the first about the Hyakumeizan with a border terrier….

  15. Thanks Cap’n and Walker. No fixed plans for next year yet. This weekend was the first since January that I have been at home and relaxed. But we definitely need some goal for next year.

    As for a book in Japanese, it will take enough time to write it in English, and Kin certainly doesn’t want to translate. Captain, if you want to translate it …

  16. Hi Julian!

    “Craig’s book was one big motivating factor for me, as well as being an excellent read. Their time was subsequently “beaten” by Hirata-san, who did the 100 in 66 days, delivering Gideon bibles to mountain huts. Those can’t have been light. But unfortunately his book is factual in the extreme and does not compare with Craig’s.”

    What book is this?

  17. Hi Jaco,

    The book by Craig McLachlan is “hyakumeizan: Japan’s 100 Mountain Challenge”, but it’s now out of print and the publisher has gone bust.

    Mr Hirata’s book is in Japanese and I think is only worth getting if you’re intending to beat his record, since his order of doing the mountains is close to optimal efficiency.

    1. Hello! My name is Kazuo Imai.I have Tipness member’s card in Kokubungi same you.
      Congratulations on yuor climdsd Hyakumeizan,and with pretty Hana!(Maybe dog’s name)


  18. 今井さん、






  19. Julian, Good to meet you and Hana on Amikasa Saturday. Have been an admirer of the website for a while. We just made it to the top by 5. Hope to see you both in the hills again (maybe Yari this weekend). Rob Tull

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