Like the last story, this one starts with an e-mail, except this time it was from Yuri Mazuka, the organizer of the Climbing Club at the RIKEN AICS (Advanced Institute for Computational Science). I've never been to AICS (they pronounce it "ikes", as in Mike & Ikes), but it's just one Portliner stop away from CDB. She was inviting people to come along on a "sawanobori" (沢登り) event. In the e-mail (which had Japanese and English sections), she translated it "shower climbing (hiking along a mountain stream)." A hike along a mountain stream sounded like a nice idea.
We met at 8:00am at the JR Namaze station, just north of Takarazuka, and climbed through some neighborhoods to the place where the trailhead was supposed to be. As you can see, there was some healthy debate about exactly where we were going, initially.
We started off hiking on a trail, but then when we reached the river people took off their backpacks and started getting out special river shoes. Then I realized that "along" was not quite the preposition she wanted -- we were hiking in the river.
In some places, we couldn't really follow the river as well:
Fortunately, we were able to go around the obstacles.
I hadn't realized this, but Takarazuka (much like Ithaca) is gorges:
When we reached the top, Yamamoto-san opened up his (suspiciously-large) backpack and pulled out a styrofoam cooler filled with dry ice and ice cream. No kidding. Apparently the climbing club has a budget from the RIKEN Kyosaikai (Mutual Benefit Society) and he used it to get ice cream for everybody. The only thing better than ice cream on a hot day is completely unanticipated ice cream on a hot day.
While we were hiking along the ridge, we came across this thing on top of a hill overlooking Takarazuka:
After that, we hiked back down on dry ground:
We passed a little temple in the woods where Mazuka-san rang the bell for us.
There are more pictures and an incredibly detailed down-to-the-minute itinerary of the trip on the climbing club's website.