Mt. Goryu

Up in the Air: Fully Immersed at Mt. Goryu

The shades of light, the sound of wind and the flow of the clouds kept changing. Then a moment of silence covered all as Mother Nature stopped whispering. Starry skies appeared overhead, giving me a sense of immersion, a sense of awe about the grandeur of life. The city lights of Ōmachi City in Nagano, Japan—my home, well below us—glowed faintly in the sky. 

Towering across the backdrop of the city are Japan’s Northern Alps, a few of its peaks having risen from volcanic activity somewhere between 600,000 and 2.5 million years ago—relative infants by geographical standards. Snow deposited during subsequent ice ages became glaciers and carved out unique U-shaped valleys and knife-edge ridges, forming beautiful relief. Local pioneers of modern mountaineering such as Sasa Narimasa, Monk Banryu, Shintaro Momose—as well as climbers who were fascinated with modern alpinism, introduced in the end of the Taisho¯  era (1912-1926)—pushed early human limits here. Today, the Northern Alps have become a popular destination for snowsports freaks and mountaineering enthusiasts alongside casual hikers and resort visitors alike. 

The way we interact with the mountains changes with age and experience. After spending decades exploring many mountains, I began thinking I would like to explore one mountain in this large area from a snowboarder’s point of view, fully immersing myself and watching the season change around it. Specifically, Mt. Goryu-dake, hanging above the Goryu ski area…

Buy issue

Subscribe to start your collection of The Snowboarder’s Journal.


The Snowboarder's Journal mailing list

We respect your time, and only send you the occasional update.