Genryu Fishing of Japan #2

Zenmai Paths

To go to Genryu in the real deep mountains, we often take approaches by climbing over mountain ridges. Normally there are no climbing trails or trekking paths, but of course we can not climb anywhere blindly. There might be a risk of a distress in the mountains.

So how should we go then?

If you look at the world atlas, Japan is a small country. For us, Japanese people, our land is still huge and we have great nature, but I mean our land is much smaller in comparison with USA or Russia. Therefore we Japanese people have gone into surprisingly deep part of the mountains from long time ago. They were the people called “Matagi (Hunters)”, “Zenmai (Mountain plant) picking people” and “Kijishi (Wood workers)”. They are also the people who were living on the grace of the mountains. They had been to real deep mountains almost every part of Japan and made very special small foot paths. Those small foot paths are called “Zenmai-michi” or “Matagi-michi” and those small trails are spread around everywhere in the mountains across the country.

When we go to Genryu in the deep mountains, we often take those foot paths. Those paths are kind of hidden trails of people living in the mountains. So we use those paths taught from the locals. Those paths have been made with good understanding of natural terrain and offer us the best and easiest approaches to Genryu. I say easiest but with wearing 60L backpack with full of equipment and foods, it is really hard work to climb over a mountain ridge. Sometimes we are forced to steep climbing of about breast touching on the ground. We pour with sweat during the out of breath, we are exhausted by the time we get to the top of the pass. After the peak knee killing steep downhill is waiting for us. We go down like a falling stone.

After this struggling time of 3-4 hours to 7-8 hours, we finally arrive at camping site (We call “Tenba”) and when looking over a beautiful stream, it is the best time of the trip and we are wrapped in the sense of fulfillment.

We all want to drink beer, brought putting up with heavy weight. Our throats are completely parched, but if we have time, we go fishing with patience.

2 or 3 hours is enough, we taste the reactivity of innocent Iwana (Char) of headwaters and go back to the Tenba. We set a Tarp and may be swim in the stream in fromt of the Tenba to wash away the sweat of the day. We make a bonfire by the stream and start cooking dinner. It is the time to have beer chilled in cold water of the stream. We make a toast and drink incredibly good beer for our tired body. We start to talk where to hike up the stream tomorrow.

Genryu is great!