初登り・Hatsu-Nobori! New Year’s Hiking in Kanōdake

I was so excited for this hike. New Year’s in Japan is more family focused and quiet instead of countdowns and parties. It’s full of traditions (food) and an important part for a lot of families is hatsumōde, the first shrine visit of the year. Kanōdake叶嶽 (314m) is a beautiful place that holds New Year celebrations; the first kanji means to wish. So by coming here on the first day of the year my 2021 wishes will come true.

Earlier in the week I came as a practice hike. It was 15 degrees and I was wearing my new Canadian under layers that I got from my parents for Christmas and almost died in the heat.

On the way up to the top Kanōdake, the where the shrine of the same name is, as well as these beautiful tori gates, I’ve never seen one this periwinkle colour. I had to giggle at “Click here for the summit” signs posted throughout. In the Japanese version, you don’t have to click.


View from the top, a little chestnut in the wild and some beautiful stairs.


This is from the top of neighbouring Takasuyama・高祖山 (416m). A little wooden charm that you can keep as a souvenir and write the date on.


Can’t go to Itoshima without getting a taiyaki! This one is sweet potato paste from Nippon Ichi and I go there every time I’m in Imajuku.


Then I came back on January 1st with a small group. We got a new year surprise and there was a little more snow than I anticipated.


At the shrine the were giving out sake and sweets with ・wish imprinted on the side. We prayed and made our wishes and at Takasuzan there were special new wooden charms.


I’m so happy I got to go hiking with them today and that this year is over.  けましておめでとうございます!

And of course, here is the path I took on Yamap. Hope this is a lovely year for everyone and all your wishes come true!

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