Japan's Vibrant Trail-Running Scene - Page 2
Japan’s mountains are big, steep and no easy task to climb. For many races in Japan, you’ll spend your time ascending or descending technical trails that run along the narrow spine of a mountain. It’s not uncommon to come upon ropes and ladders at exceptionally steep sections to belay yourself up or down the trail.
Enjoying a training run at Hiruzen-Kogen Highlands area (outside Okayama)
Spring and autumn are ideal racing seasons in Japan. Races in the spring showcase Japan’s blooming plum and cherry trees and the mountains in the fall are full of red and yellow Momiji (Japanese maple trees). Japan’s climate is equally divided into four seasons and resembles that of Virginia and North Carolina. Many races fall in the summer, which means you can expect temps in the 80’s to 100’s with high humidity.
Though the terrain and the experience are unique, trail racing in Japan attracts the same outdoor enthusiasts that it does in the States. Although the Japanese people take racing quite seriously, there is no shortage of smiles at the start line as well as the occasional animal or Disney costume (Minnie seems to be quite popular). Foreign racers are even less frequent than aid stations, so a smile and “Ganbatte kudasai” (Do your best please) will quickly earn you some friends.
Pre-run picture with the Okayama Mountain Dashers trail-running club.