Mountain Climbing Alone While Abroad

Travelling is a big part of your study abroad experience.

When you arrive in a new country where you’ll be living for six months to a full year, you want to make the most of it. I love to travel. I absolutely adore wandering around a new city or village, getting lost and finding cute little dining spots (because let’s face it, half of the time, we’re just looking for good food).

Usually I do this with other people. I’m rarely alone.

Making a ton of international friends is definitely one of the best parts of studying abroad, and discovering your new resident country for the next few months together is amazing. But don’t you sometimes feel like you wanted to see different things, or go down a different street, or go to a certain museum, but nobody else wanted to, so you just end up not doing it. Yes, I’ve had that feeling a few times, but up until now it never really bothered me.

Two months ago, a big part of my friend group went on a school trip. So me, and two other guys were the only ones left in our dorm.

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Tokyo was so sunny and warm and I thought it would be a shame just staying inside.

So I knocked on their doors and begged them to go do something. Anything. They didn’t want to. I felt confused, because I really wanted to go out… but I never actually took a trip on my own. I ended up texting my boyfriend about it, who called me crazy for letting that hold me back. He reminded me that I was in TOKYO! This is a once in a lifetime opportunity, and I was just going to sit at home and do nothing on a bright and sunny day.

I was convinced. I googled “What To Do In Tokyo” for that weekend, ended up on a website called TimeOut, and found that there was a festival around climbing/hiking Mount Takao in Tokyo.

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I made my preparations.

I brought enough snacks and food, choose good shoes, brought a big water bottle, charged my good camera, and I went… ALONE.

It was scary, yes. But the experience was amazing!

First I got off at the wrong train station. But this allowed me to walk through the cutest village surrounded by mountains and the fall foliage.

I eventually found the starting point of the hike, by following a few tourists with about five huge camera cases (lifesaving tip guys!). It was so crowded, which was to be expected as it was a matusuri (festival).

The hike was amazing! I got to do everything at my own pace. I stopped to take pictures whenever I wanted, and I could even take my time doing so. Nobody was going to stop me. There is nothing so refreshing and detoxing as spending a whole day only surrounded by nature. The air was so fresh, something I haven’t experienced for a while now that I live in Tokyo. I also packed a very healthy home-made lunch and a few bananas to keep me going if I got tired. I refused to take the lift. I was going to do the whole climb and descent on foot!

This time to yourself does make you reflect on your life. It sounds cheesy, I know, but yet… It’s true. I assessed anything that worried me, I was thankful for being able to have this opportunity to live in Japan for a year as a student, I was grateful for all the wonderful people in my life. I really took in nature’s beauty.

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Maybe I would have liked to have someone with me there, and yet, I’m very happy that I did this alone.

I got to tell tons of people about this trip, and how important it was for me to do this on my own. It was scary, yes. I’ve never taken a trip on my own before in my life (not even a daytrip). I would recommend everyone to do this at least once to completely detox and relax after a stressful period. I’m not saying that everyone needs to climb a mountain to realise all this, just a trip to your neighbouring city or nature area will do. Just do it on your own and do whatever YOU want. You’ll thank me later.

PS: If you do hike a mountain, your legs and butt will look amazing!



Pictures were taken by me. Gifs are from

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Hanna B

Hanna is a 22 year old Japanese Studies student who majored in Japanese literature in Tokyo, Japan last year. She founded her blog,, where she documents her travels and daily life in Japan. In her spare time she loves to read and write. She also has a big passion for food and fashion.


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