All the Way Up

Yamadera; a little cold, a little wet, but by far my favorite day yet!

Today we traveled about an hour west of our hotel in Sendai to Yamadera, which is a small rural town filled with cute buildings, tall trees, and a temple at the top of the mountain. The group arrived with low moral because we had two long lectures and a solid nap on the train before stepping into slushy snow and rainfall. We got off the train, and Professor Kopf pointed to the top of the mountain and said “that’s where we’re going!” so we began the soggy trek.

We were slightly unprepared for the adventure that lie ahead with no snow apparel or proper rain gear, but once we got moving spirits started to rise. The mountain was covered in the most beautiful, tall trees that surround us all the way up. Sometimes I would get so distracted by the trees that I would forget I was walking on precarious ground. I never did fall, but I definitely came close!

Every step we took (and it was literally steps made for us to walk on) it got a little more wonderful. We could see more of the mountain range, and began to reach the temple buildings which are always grand and breathtaking (the stairs also took some breath away, but we won’t talk about that). Every once in awhile I had to stop and take in the glory of this amazing scene. I was blown away by every view, and I think it felt extra special because we have only seen the larger cities of Japan thus far. Being someone who really thrives in outdoor settings, this was exactly what I needed after a few busy days in Tokyo.

When we finally reached the top, it was as perfect as I could have imagined. There was a flawless view of the mountains across the road and we could see all of the temple and its beautiful architecture. I tried to really take it all in, but was a bit distracted by the snowball throwing that was happening around me. I didn’t mind though, it was actually pretty fun. At this point we had taken all our photos and took a few deep breathes, so it was time to head back down. This is where the real fun began.

The stairs were covered in icy snow, which made it interesting for some people (like me) to get down them, but for others it was the perfect opportunity to show off their balance. People started sliding down SUPER fast past me, hanging on for dear life on the railing. Luckily, we all made it down with no perils.

We ended the night with a nice, hot bowl of Soba at a local restaurant in Yamadera, and a blissful public bath session back at the hotel. As you can see now, an absolutely wonderful day, that will surely stick as a favorite memory of my time in Japan.

Author, Rachel Brodeur, climbing in Yamadera, Japan.