Monday, September 12, 2011

Summer Excursions and What Nots

I got a chance to complete something I've wanted to do for a long time now; reach the summit of Mt. Odake in the Hakkoda Mountain Range (aka The Aomori Alps). The walk started and ended at the famous Sukayu Onsen and took about 5 hours to complete. It was an awesome day and the scenery was no less than spectacular.

The range consists of several peeks, Odake being the highest at 15,846 meters. Shown above are some of the lower peeks on the northern end of the Hakkoda Range.

Of course this is a volcanic area with a lot of sulfur springs. Shown above is evidence of the volatile sulfur activity that still exists. Venturing off the trail has proven fatal on several instances by folks who have succumbed to the poison gas in the area.

My guide for the day was our family friend Yoshiko-san. She hikes the summit several times a year and I was very excited and grateful that she allowed me to tag along on this excursion.

Another one of the awesome views from the trail above. This hike can also be attempted in the winter with proper gear, i.e. snow shoes and the like. There is also a cabin about 3/4 of the way up that anyone can stay in for the night for free.

Kazumi ordered up an insane amount of rakyou this year to be processed, cleaned and pickled. It took a combined effort of about ten hours to clean and prepare the rakyou. This is a serious delicacy that we will have as a side dish for the rest of the year.

Shown above is what the rakyou look like before and after cleaning. This was the hardest work I've accomplished in a long, long time.

Once cleaned they are set in a salt water mix for a few days then after draining, a special mix of soy sauce, sake, etc. is added to allow the pickling process to commence. After a couple of weeks, these are ready to enjoy.

I took the boat out to Mutsu's Natsudomari Pennensula to try for some Flounder and Sea Bream. When I arrived at the Sunrise Bait and Tackle, the owner unfortunately only had two small containers of dead worms left for bait. Theses were in such bad shape that he didn't charge me. I wasn't able to come up with my target, but I did land a few Mackerel and the Ray shown above.

The Cicada were out this year. This one hung out around the house for a few days before completing it's cycle.

We were able to attend the Misawa Costume Parade this year which was interesting as always.

Several monkeys out and about on the Tsugaru Pennensula this year. I saw these guys hanging out in the Mountains on my way to Minmaya to try for some trout.

I saw 30~50 monkeys on this trip. They seem to be enjoying some type of grain along the roads.

The gorge at Minmaya is beautiful and full of trout

I was able to dangle a worm from the top of this waterfall and land several trout. Is it worth risking life and limb on the minor chance of landing a presumably small releasable trout? - Yes

I was able to land a few keepers and had a great time. Had a good mix on this day of Iwana and Yamame. I released 3~4 times more than I kept and was using barbless hooks, so everything was released lively and ready to grow. Although we've been experiencing a lot of rain lately, the warm weather continues. I hope to get back out for some more trout soon, or maybe get the boat back on the water, this time with some fresh bait. - Hanto


  1. Lance, this is Dan Andrews...just found your blog; wish I had it while I was still in Misawa. Anyhow, also found another American hunter in Japan. His blog URL is: Looks like he's down in the Kanto plains area based on the pics. Anyhow, hope your hunting season goes well! My email is; stay in touch!

  2. Happy to be here from Turkey
    greetings friend

  3. Hi Lance,
    Amazed and jealous to see you have a local river where you can catch both yamame and iwana!
    I make the rakkyo every year too.
    Hope you are enjoying a good & safe hunting season at the moment.
    All the best,

  4. Wow those are some really beautiful spots. I had no idea there was good hunting in Japan. I'm going to post some info about it on my site Deer Hunting Games

  5. I am very impressed with This Post. Yuo Have Done Good Job. ¯\_(ツ)_/¯