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Field Journal

A Japanese Odyssey

A Japanese Odyssey Photo by Guillaume Schaeffer

The second edition of the Japanese Odyssey, a long distance unsupported bicycle event, will start from Tokyo on September 17, 2016.

Entrants will have to reach Osaka within a 14 day time limit, after cycling 2400km across central Japan. They may take the route of their choice, as long as they go up 11 mandatory climbs.

In the 1960s, mountaineer Kyuya Fukada detailed in a book his 100 favourite mountains in Japan. His Nihon Hyakumeizan became a hit and was widely read. Those hundred mountains became a goal for many hikers in the same way Munros are in Britain. Today, the word: Meizan refers to an ’eminent’, unique and admired mountain, and the Hyakumeizan are now strongly embedded in the Japanese mountaineering sport.

Inspired by the philosophy of the Hyakumeizan, the second edition of the Japanese Odyssey is about taking the entrants up a series of famous climbs in Japan. It’s not a race however, but seen as an adventure, with each participant encouraged to slow down (a bit) and ‘breathe Japanese air’.


A Japanese Odyssey A Japanese Odyssey A Japanese Odyssey
Photos by Guillaume Schaeffer

Organisers say the Japanese Odyssey is an attempt to place participants in touch with the traditions, customs and culture of the country and exploring a true wilderness.

For more details visit