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Archive for April, 2024

April 2024: Mt. Mitake and Musashi Mitake Shrine

Wednesday, April 24th, 2024

All of the group in a mirror's reflection 

On April 20th, Erik, Roc, Kyejin, and one of our previous colleagues visited Mt. Mitake.

Mount Mitake is a mountain in the Chichibu Tama Kai National Park near Tokyo, Japan. It stands 929 m tall. On the mountain is a Shinto shrine where practices such as Futomani divination take place. From Wikipedia

Full of confidence, we climbed straight from the station to the mountain’s base, skipping the cable car for a more thrilling challenge. It was no walk in the park, but we powered through without a single complaint—fueled by the breathtaking sights of the Musashi Mitake Shrine, the mystical Rock Garden, and the cascading waterfall.

The hike was an exhilarating blast, and we’re already excited about our next outdoor adventure!

Shrine on Mt. Mitake

1. How was the activity? Score from level 1 (bad) to level 5 (good). Why?

Roc: 5/5

Erik: 5+!! As always it was a lot of fun to hang out with everyone! I’ve never been to Mitake before, so having this opportunity was great!

Kyejin: Definitely 5! It was challenging but fun with good people :) It also reminded me of hiking to Mt. Mitake with ILL people 6 years ago. That was fun too!

Shrine on Mt. Mitake, as seen from somewhat below

2. How was the scenery/sightseeing there? Score from 1 (bad) to level 5 (good). Why?

Roc: 5/5

Erik: 5!!! It was really nice that Sakuras were still around, flowers smelled so pretty as well. The temple at the top is super beautiful as well.

Kyejin: 5! The shrine surrounded by cherry blossoms was fantastic. The Rock Garden felt surreal, and the waterfall was impressive too.

Trees and their roots on the hiking path

3. What was the most memorable moment of this trip?

Roc: everything!

Erik: Kyejin Lemon Vitamin Candies! Sakuras! The tiny Lizard And sleeping on the train! :D

Kyejin: Climbing the rock garden, reaching the summit after a strenuous hike from the waterfall, and hiking with our all-time beloved ex-colleague!

Rice and venison curry

4. How was food? What was your favorite?

Roc: The food was awesome. My fav was Kyejin’s lemon candy!

Erik: The food was delicious!, Kyejin always treats us to the best snacks, but the best thing was the Venison Kare, such a nice surprise :D

Kyejin: I enjoyed cold 山菜 (mountain vegetable) udon, but my favorite was black sesame dango with miso sauce, yum~

The group hiking up the trail

5. Will you recommend this place to others? Score from 1 (No way) to level 5 (Absolutely). Why?

Roc: definitely!

Erik: Yes!!, Mitake-San is a must-see day trip from Tokyo. It was a super fun day, packed with exercise, and because it’s a little bit far removed from Tokyo, the tourist crowds are minimal, so we could relax and spend a nice time without worrying too much!

Kyejin: Yes, there’s a cable car available, making it accessible for everyone. For those seeking a challenge, skip the cable car. You’ll feel incredibly rewarded when you reach the shrine at the top. Want an even bigger challenge? Walk from the station to the mountain like we, true adventurers, did! Yay!

A photo of flower blossoms with a shrine in the background

6. Any comment?

Roc: I wanna go again!

Erik: My only comment is that since we decided not to take the cable cart and do it the good old way, it was SO hard!, My muscles are still in pain. But the worst part was the Waterfall!, that’s a trap haha. It says it’s 0,6KM, but it’s soo steep that my heart was pounding by the end of it!

Kyejin: This mountain is more challenging than Mt. Takao. Be sure to bring plenty of chocolate! And if you’re driving, there’s a surprise: you can drive up! But take care, as the roads are very steep.

A sculpture of a demon peering out from an opening, carved into the stone steps

~ Erik, Roc, Kyejin

P.S. Thank you so much for organizing this amazing trip, Kimi!

Snow Sports in Yuzawa Niigata

Monday, April 22nd, 2024

A few weeks ago, on March 29th 2024, ten of us went by shinkansen to Echigo-Yuzawa in Niigata. We met up in Tokyo station around 7 in the morning and boarded the train, excited for an energizing day in the snow!

Once we arrived, we immediately went to get our snow gear. After securing our rentals, we gathered to meet up with our ski instructor. We hopped on a gondola that took us up near the summit of the mountain and were pleasantly surprised by the long gondola ride. As soon as we reached the top, we put on the rest of our gear and headed off!

Gondola in Niigata

On our way up.

The weather was a bit rainy, but we didn’t let that stop us from having fun. We were determined to make every moment count!

The group with their ski gear

Looks like everyone is having fun!

Our ski instructor ensured that we were all having fun. Sure, there were a few wobbly moments and hilarious wipeouts, but hey, that’s all part of the adventure, right? After a solid three-hour session of shredding powder and carving through the snow, our stomachs began to rumble, signaling it was time to refuel. Gala Yuzawa had a variety of food, so we were able to take our pick.

Niigata udon

Doesn’t this look yummy?

Back to the slopes we zoomed by an extra couple of hours of snowy shenanigans! But after a long day, our muscles were begging for a break. So we decided to go relax at the sentō in the ski center. While some of us were all about soaking our sore muscles in those warm waters, others couldn’t resist the temptation of a last few thrilling runs down the slopes.

Gondola returning to the bottom of the mountain

On our way back down the mountain…

After recharging, our stomachs were grumbling for some food. Before bidding farewell to this wonderful area, we decided to eat at a local restaurant. It was the perfect way to relax and to get to know each other better.

Everyone at a restaurant table

Ended the day with a delicious meal.

Once we ate our fill, we took the extra bit of time to shop for omiyage! Rest assured, we made sure to bring lots of souvenirs back to the office.

And here’s some shots that some of us took!(^-^)
Plum blossoms

Some plum blossoms.

A bridge over a river

Bridge by the river.

Although we were sad to go, we were excited to get back and get some rest before the weekend started! Here’s the view from the top of Echigo-Yuzawa station. Today was the perfect balance of adventure and relaxation.

Train station

Until next time, Niigata!

Do you want to join us for the next snow sports event? Or do you have another suggestion for everyone? Do not hesitate to contact HR and let us know!