Posted by: Darrell | August 29, 2008

Mountain Drifting

Huruna Mountain in the Gunma Prefecture

Haruna Mountain in the Gunma Prefecture

No, not really. It was more like Ben and I driving to Haruna Mountain in his Honda Fit. However, Haruna-san is the real life mountain that is known more famously as Akina Mountain in Initial D. The mountain pass is very winding and we did encounter the hairpins; however, I doubt anyone could really race there as the roads are so narrow with the constant threat of oncoming traffic, and no shoulders to protect you from falling off the mountain. On the way to Haruna-san, I did find some Skylines and Silvias in the streets. Be on the lookout for my post on the Cars of Japan.

Even though it was a cloudy day with a light drizzle, Haruna-san was still very beautiful. The mountain is a now extinct volcano that formed a lake in the crater after eruption. So at the tip of the mountain are clouds and the base a large lake. We walked around for a bit and also looked at some of the gift shops around the area. Before we came to the mountain, we also stopped at the Haruna Shrine which was a 5 km climb up the face of the mountain right beside a fast running river.

Haruna Shrine

The path leading to Haruna Shrine

It is quite refreshing to be able to see this part of Japan, that most tourist probably will never see. And I can also say I was racing in Akina mountain (sorta…). Most foreigners will stay in Tokyo and won’t get to enjoy the beauty of nature in Japan. I am quite lucky that Ben has a car so that we can go to place not easily accessible by transit or very complicated to get to. Plus almost every car in Japan has a GPS system, including Ben’s 2001 Honda Fit (which is not even an option in North American newer Fit models). However, the 100km drive that would normally take us, in Vancouver, more or less than an hour to reach can sometimes take three hours in Japan with the small single lane roads and the horrendous lights and traffic.

Udon Lunch Set

Udon Lunch Set

For lunch Ben and I also found this small Japanese restaurant that served set lunch meals that were absolutely fantastic at about $8.00 CAD equivalent. For dinner we also had ramen, which is so much better compared to the ramen instant noodles, you get in Vancouver. All I can say is that the food has been great!

In the evening, we also went to a supermarket and I bought all the crazy, cool looking beers and spent the night trying them all. So my next post will be a review on six different, Japanese beers. Cheers!

At the top of Haruna Shrine

At the top of Haruna Shrine



  1. Hi there! This blog post – “” could not be written much better! Going through this article reminds me of my previous roommate! He constantly kept preaching about this. I am going to forward this post to him. Fairly certain he’s going to have a great read. I appreciate you for sharing!

  2. Was a good read. Check out mighty car mods’ ‘Turbos and Temples’ for more real life initial d.

    By the way the reason I am posting is that I used your Haruna Shrine photo in one of my 3D portfolio pieces – I hope you don’t mind. Great photo.

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