Genryu Fishing from the Mountain Lodge
Takakuwa-san said that he would be working as a Koyaban (manager of the mountain hut) of a mountain hut in Iide mountains for two weeks in mid-August, so I decided to go see him.
Takakuwa-san : See No.45 Fishing trip with Mr. Shinichi Takakuwa
Mt. Iide is the main mountain of the Iide mountain range located on the border of the three prefectures of Fukushima, Yamagata, and Niigata in the Tohoku region at an altitude of 2105m. In the olden days, Mt. Iide was a mountain of Shugendo (Japanese mountain asceticism-shamanism incorporating Shinto and Buddhist concepts), and once it was a mountain of worship that only the shugenja (mountaineering ascetics) were allowed to climb. Today, it is a popular mountain for general mountaineering, but it takes about 10 hours from any of the trailhead at north, south, east, and west to the summit, and mountain huts are built on each mountaineering route.
Then, I decided to visit Takakuwa-san on such a schedule. As soon as I called out to my genryu fishing friends, two friends said they wanted to join.
I had never climbed a 1400m carrying a 15 kg backpack on my back, and it was really hard to climb under the strong sunshine in the summer. I thought I could arrive at the hut before 13:30 and had a cold beer, but it was over-optimistic.
After 12 o'clock, I passed through the forest belt and had lunch, but the ridgeline was still ahead. Nevertheless the view was getting nicer and the green mountains of Tohoku were really beautiful. At 13:30, I finally arrived at the peak three-way junction. After a short break, I walked north on the mountain trail, which was finally downhill. There were clouds at the altitude of the ridge, but when the clouds were occasionally blown by the wind, the view opened, and I could see the mountains with green meadows and some towns in the distance. After walking for about 20 minutes, I could see the red roof of the Tamogi hut between the clouds.
On the way, I once took wrong route but managed to arrive at the Tamogi hut after 15:00.
Two friends and Takakuwa-san welcomed me with smiles. Takakuwa-san treated me with cold canned beer. I was very thirsty and drank it all at once, and I got drunk immediately. May be I was too tired.
The next morning, at very early morning, I woke up as hearing people talking outside. When I went outside, there was a splendid sea of clouds in front of the hut, and the sun was rising from the other side of the sea of clouds, and the eastern sky was dyed in red by the sunrise. Oh, I thought this was a privilege for those who do the mountaineering. Anyway, it was a bit too early for us. We slept little more again and had breakfast slowly. The weather was clear too. It seemed that some guests had already left the hut.
The weather was still fine. I felt like taking a nap after bathing in the negative ions of the waterfall. A friend kept 3 iwana as a souvenir for Takakuwa-san. To be honest, I wanted to release all the precious iwana to the stream.
After lunch, we talked what we should do. Wheather to go over this Otaki and explore the upstream and aim for the hut from the head of the mountain stream or to turn back the way we came? It was past 1 o'clock. We chose to turn back the way we came to make sure we get back to the hut in good time.
The distance to the confluence with tributaries where we started fishing was only about 200m. “A paradise for anglers of only 200m.” I just remembered somebody was saying such a thing. "No, we do not need paradise for anglers. What even fur more important is the paradise for iwana." I was thinking in my heart. "May the genryu of the mountains all over Japan be the paradise of iwana?" “Can we protect such a future?”