Among the mountains of the Japanese Alps, Tsurugi-dake is maybe the most famous among experienced hikers. The reason for this is the rather difficult and exposed ascent that is possible for the average hiker only with the help of many chains, nails etc. In August and Septebmer 2008 I climbed Tsurugi twice, once spending the night before in a tent, once in a hut.

The normal approach to Tsurugi is to take the train, cable car and bus route from Toyama to Murodo. From there it is a few hours hike to the base of Tsurugi-dake. On the way, you pass the sulfuric springs that feed onsen in many of the huts in the area.

Just above Murodo lies the Tateyama range, an easily accesible 3000er. Very nice with the autumn colors and a little bit of snow on top.

Tsurugi-dake with the camp-site in the foreground and seen from just there in the morning.

Of course, Japanese would not climb mountains without practising alpinistic techniques first. Then they look as experienced as the guy on the right.

The key to climbing Tsurugi-dake: the "place where you have to scuttle sideways and upwards like a crab." In summer it can become very crowded here. Fortunately ascent and descent go along different routes in this part.

On the summit there is a little shrine, at times there are also bubbles to entertain climbers and Pema bread to refresh them.

A few guys live permanently on Tsurugi. Can you spot the chicken in the first picture?

The view back over the Tateyama range with Tsurugi in the background on the left. And the history of Tateyama, for the historically interested.