APRIL 2015


saiho-1-of-13Saiho-ga-take is the Tsuruga Peninsula, a long ridged 700 metre peak sticking out into the Japan Sea just out of the uninspiring port town of Tsuruga.  The last time I’d been in those parts was when I was catching the midnight ferry bound for Hokkaido and setting out on my Hyakumeizan adventure near on a decade before.


With ninety some mountains left to climb on our KINKAN list we were still spoilt for choice when it came to selecting hikes for a weekend outing. Saiho hadn’t been standing out on our radar at that point but when Wes, who’d been at this Kansai hiking lark longer than us, came a-calling with a much more pared down list of local peaks left to conquer, we decided Saiho’s time had come.


And wasn’t she a beauty.  From sea to summit with nary a cedar plantation in sight we wandered a trail of scatty seaside pine and azalea up into woodlands of old growth beech smothered with a thick undergrowth of sasa and unmelted snow drifts.

The snow wouldn’t be lasting much longer.  Japan’s sweltering summer was, if not just around the corner, then not much further down the street beyond that.  We’d worked up sweats on the climb, Wes, The Missus, The Kid and I, and up top sought out the sea breeze on the granite outcrops poking out of the summit vegetation.

Wes and I eyed off the terrain stretching north from the peak.  Enticing as it was, we had a rental car to return to Kyoto and after the big climb The Kid wasn’t overly enthused about pushing on hard for another two or so hours just to pop out of the scrub and endure a lengthy road walk back to where we’d started.  After a summit photo we headed back the way we came, satisfied we’d uncovered one of Kansai’s hidden gems.


If you’re in the area, give Saiho a go, you won’t be diasppointed.

Here’s a link to Wes’s trail description.


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