What will we discover when we hike up the mountain behind the SoraHouse?

If you’ve been following along on our home renovation journey, you’ll know we’ve been spending more time in the countryside recently, doing up a house we bought last year for just US$9,100.

Needless to say, a house this cheap requires a lot of work, but after enlisting the help of Imazu, a friendly worker from nearby construction firm Hobien, we’ve been making steady progress…and having a little fun along the way.

Imazu always knows how to keep morale high amongst our team members during back-breaking stints at the SoraHouse, so one day when our boss Yoshio Ueda and reporter Go Hatori were taking a breather from the renovations, he piped up to say, “Why don’t we climb the mountain up the back?

▼ Yes, the SoraHouse has its very own mountain.

Some time away from the house was exactly what the team needed, so the three of them headed round to the back of the house, and with Imazu’s colleague, a young man everyone calls “Ani”, they began climbing the wild, trail-less slope.

▼ Yoshio leads the way through the forest.

It would have been a little easier if they’d worn mountaineering shoes, but this was a spontaneous expedition so they went forth in the outfits they were wearing.

The slope was much steeper than any of them had anticipated, and it soon became clear that a fall here could actually result in injury, so they proceeded with caution.

Thankfully they still had their work gloves on so they were able to grip onto trees and shrubs as they made their way up, and it didn’t take long for them to arrive at the top of the mountain.

Sure, it might not be a peak as high as Mt. Fuji, but climbing a mountain is always an achievement, and even more satisfying when it’s the one in your own backyard.

▼ It’s also a great way to enjoy the relaxing beauty of komorebi, the Japanese word for sunlight dappling through the trees.

You might be able to put a price tag on a cheap countryside home, but a spot of zen on a mountaintop whenever you feel like it? Priceless.

The views out to the surrounding mountains were beautiful, and a world away from our office in Shinjuku.

▼ As Yoshio and Go say, in between catching their breath, it’s a “good view”.

Shinrinyoku, or “forest bathing“, is a term used to describe the act of relaxing in tree-filled environments, and it’s known to have positive effects on people’s moods, health, and even sleep quality. Our team certainly felt those effects after their expedition into the forest, and now they’re wishing it’s something they could do every day.

The only thing stopping them, though, is the descent, which, as you might expect, was much tougher than climbing uphill.

Going down seemed steeper and longer, but eventually the roof of the SoraHouse came into view, welcoming them back to flat terrain.

▼ The slope ends right at the back of the building.

The sun was now casting long shadows on the surrounding landscape, and as the group stopped for a rest before packing up for the day, they felt a sense of calmness and satisfaction they hadn’t felt before.

It’s a reminder that all work and no play makes Jack a dull boy, as they say. Although we’re assuming that’s not the same Jack who went up the hill and broke his crown — two Jacks our team don’t want to emulate.

Having ventured out for a spot of forest bathing, Yoshio and Go now feel a deeper bond with the SoraHouse, its surrounding landscape, and the animals that live there and come to visit. With every new adventure, our countryside house is feeling more like a Studio Ghibli fairytale every day!

Photos ©SoraNews24
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