Hiking up to the Kinunuma Marshland

Kaniyu Onsen (1320m) to Kinu-numa  (2030m) // 8 km, 5 hours, 715 m altitude up and down

After a complete, typical Japanese Ryokan breakfast with fish, natto and pickles (a bit too much for Philippe) and a quick morning dip in one of the hotel’s many hot tubs, we headed for a hike to the Kinu Marshland at 2000m altitude.

The staff in our hotel told us that it has too much snow up there and we cannot go up to the moor, but Philippe thought that we are from snow-country Switzerland and we should at least try it.

Right after a rustic Japanese onsen hotel, Nikkosawa Onsen, the path started. Soon it went quite uphill in dense forest, with  some landslides and fallen trees. On the way at the waterfall viewpoint we met a friendly Japanese couple and chatted with them about other onsen and hikes for a while.

After we parted with them, the relentless uphill continued. After all we had to go up 700m. Just around 1.4km to the marshland the patched snow appeared on the path. Then soon the path was pretty much covered with snow and we had to go very carefully, not to fall into the melting snow.  The last one kilometer was a slow walk and we both fell in the knee-deep snow holes a couple of times.

Finally we reached the wide open area and to the Kinu Marshland. A strange beauty with only sound of birds and frogs.

After a snack and a short tour around the marsh, we headed back as the weather forecast announced rain in the afternoon and the descent was full of potentially slippery roots and stones. But at the end, a nice hot bath is waiting…

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