Friday Cabins #34: Hiking Huts of Japan's Alps
'Cause Europe ain't the only country with Alps
Good morning/afternoon everyone, it's Friyay and the end of a short work week that felt long. We are here again with another Friday Cabins—a weekly curation of neat cabins and cabin-like architectural projects from across the globe, brought to you by Cabins Etc, the world’s best reader-supported newsletter for cabin lovers.
After a few days of much-needed rain here in NYC, we have crossed through to the other side of summer where stunning weather is actually a thing. One part Summer, one part Fall, fully #Blessed.
Today we are traveling far, far away to the island nation of Japan. Japan may conjure up mental images of bright lights, exciting fashion, really cute snacks, and that one huge intersection, but the island is 70% mountains—and hiking and camping have been popular pastime activities for decades.
Mt. Fuji gets all the attention. And the stout and ever-snowy mountains of northern Hokkaido draw powder hungry skiers and snowboarders each winter. But the Japanese Alps of mainland Honshu have their fair share of challenging and gorgeous trails, too. And with remote, mountainous hiking, comes the need for some remote, mountainous, publicly accessible shelters.
Like the famed hut routes of Europe, the Japanese Alps too is a region full of staffed and beautifully preserved huts, shelters, and chalets waiting to feed and house hikers each season. Below, we’ll dive into six of the most notable huts, sharing first hand experience by writer Sam Goodin (and some film photography from Sam, too).
Read on and choose your fave.
Spare a dollar for a few fellow cabin lovers?
Toden Hut, Oze National Park
Built in 1927, this swampland hut was originally built to house water power plant workers, but now hosts tired hikers. One of the more lowland huts, the structure sits in the valley between two of Japan's famous 100 mountains.
Notori Hut, Between Mount Aino and Mount Notori
Located between famous mountains Mount Aino and Mount Notori, the Notori Hut is an ideal refuge when hiking the ridgeline between the two, and the third mountain in the line-up, Mount Kita. The only hut on the list in the Southern Alps, it also has a caretaker that's earned himself a divisive reputation.
Shimagare Lodge, Yatsugatake
Accessed by aerial tram, the Shimagare Lodge is considered one of the more easily accessible lodges on the list. It also offers a variety of mountain activities like mountain biking, telemark skiing, and winter skiing, making this A-Frame a destination in of itself.
Hinokio Mountain Shelter, Mount Hinokio
Located in the central Alps between Mount Utsugi and Mount Kiso, the Hinokio hut may not be as luxurious as some other shelters on the list, but it's for good reason-it was built to endure the unpredictable conditions created at the intersection of two weather systems. Besides, the views are by no means lacking.
Goryu Lodge, Mount Goryu
Constructed in 1951, the Goryu Lodge has room enough to accommodate 250 people, with camping areas available outside as well. Located in the Northern Alps, it's easier to access than others on the list-just take the five-to-seven hour hike from the famous Hakuba ski area.
Jonen Hut, Mount Jonen
One of the oldest huts in the Northern Alps on the list, the Jonen Hut was built in 1919. Located on a popular ridgeline hike, the shelter sees a lot of foot traffic. But don’t let potential crowds deter you—it’s well worth a visit.
Enjoy ur wknd!