Hi, this is Staff T., and here is the second part of my “The Bandits of Kurobe” article.
The above photo shows the hut that stands in between the peaks of Mitsumata-Renge dake and Washibadake. Mr. Shoichi Ito, the author of “The Bandits of Kurobe”, bought this hut shortly after the second world war and then developed a love for the Japanese Alps mountains.
The building shown on the left side of the above photo is a winter shelter.
Now, I should mention that the “bandits” of Kurobe are not really criminals in the sense that they have committed any serious crimes; they were just mountain hunters who resided in the hut illegally in the post-world-war social confusion.
As the owner with legal rights to the hut, Mr. Ito initially had to confront them, but later befriended them after the two sides came to know each other well.
Like the Kumonodaira area, the peak of Mitsumata-Renge dake is in the “deep Japanese Alps”, and it used to take two full days to reach its top from the foot of the mountain. Mr. Ito created the so-called “Ito’s New Route”, a trail that short-cut the way to the peak by a whole day.
Today, that trail has no longer been in use and you cannot follow it all the way due to safety issues, but a part of it is open to the public. A guided tour of Ito’s New Route is available, and I hope that I can join it someday.
This area around the Hut of Mitsumata is one of the main settings in the novel “The Bandits of Kurobe”. If you wish to make a visit there, I strongly recommend reading the book (in Japanese) before you go.