‘Look Rob, it’s clear on top,’ I exclaimed as the mountain came into view through the windscreen on the way up Route 241 from Ashoro. Unfortunately that was not to last more than a couple of minutes and we ended up walking the circuit entirely in the mist. Luckily I had done it a couple of times before in good weather so could gleefully explain to Rob what he was missing in terms of the spectacular view into the crater with its small lakes and roaring vents.
As we reached the crater rim we were indeed greeted by what sounded like the roaring scream of jet engines, a combination of the fierce wind and the vents below. It was a huge contrast to my last visit on a perfect summer’s day, when the sound had instead been augmented by the shrill screams of thousands of needle-tailed swifts as they wheeled and dived over the crater like squadrons of fighter aircraft.
Editor’s note: Our friend Jacob sent us some of his smartphone snaps from the summit in gloriously clear weather, only a few days before we were on the mountain.
No such luck today though, so we continued on round in the mist down to the col. The wind had lessened down here but the mist showed no signs of clearing so we passed on the climb to Akanfuji and headed back down. After the final trudge through the forest from the campsite we arrived back at the onsen to warm our chilled bones. It is a simple no-frills kind of place but very pleasant nonetheless.