It was a cloudy Monday morning at a particularly isolated part of Yamanashi, Japan. I thought it was a great day to hike its less known mountains. So I went on my own to Ougiyama in Otsuki on mid-March, quite aware that I might be alone in the trail as well. When I got off the train station, I followed the signs leading to the trail head (it was a long walk and plenty of looking around to not miss the signs). And then…these yellow signs started appearing: 熊出没注意 (kuma shutsubotsu chuui), or “Beware of Bears”.
Frightened as I was, nevertheless, I didn’t back out of the trail. I made it through the mountain for 6 hours without a bear in sight. (Phew!) Glad it was still winter cold that time, otherwise the bears would have come out of their caves (or wherever they’re sleeping) and smelled the mixed nuts in my day pack. uh oh..