Ten miles off the desolate northwestern shores of Hokkaido, Japan’s far-flung playground of the gods, Mount Rishiri breaches the water like a beast both heavy and buoyant. Clothed in the kind of mystery only distance can create, Rishiri-zan, and the namesake island on which she rests, offer only vague hints of the scars that remain after the brutal winters of eons and the mountain’s volcanic past.
Having come all this way, standing now a thousand kilometers and a world away from Tokyo, one feels compelled to venture just a little bit further, out across the water, to discover those secrets behind the haze lest the journey feel forever incomplete.
That's how I felt, there at the edge of the water.
I would not have come even this far if it weren’t for Ken, the very active owner of a cycling tour company. I’d emailed him a couple of years prior, to ask if he could use another guide here and there. As our ferry neared Rishiri’s port of Oshidomari I shaded my eyes and took in the detail-rich view, laughing quietly at my stupid, extraordinary luck.