Oboz in Japan

Trail Tales, Expert's Corner
1 Mt Fuji

Cover image: Mt. Fuji in November. All images by Elisabeth Brentano

Last November, I got my hands on the new Bridger 7” Insulated BDry boots. I knew I’d wear them in Yosemite National Park and Lake Tahoe this winter. I never imagined they'd be so useful on a fall trip to Japan. 

Yet as I packed my bags and checked the forecast, I saw weather that can only be described as "variable." The forecast had everything from a blizzard to 60-degree weather. In went my new Insulated Bridgers, along with down jackets, t-shirts and sunglasses. 

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First stop was the Tochigi prefecture, a few hours north of Tokyo. There are several gorgeous waterfalls in the area, along with all kinds of impressive autumn colors. And the mornings were FREEZING! My boots stayed on all day, and even into the night when we grabbed dinner in the sleepy town of Nikko. Of course, this was just getting me warmed up for Fuji, which was going to be the last leg of my trip…

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Arashiyama Park.

After getting a taste of winter in Nikko, I ventured down to Kyoto, which was quite a bit warmer. The Bridgers got a few days off as I wandered around Arashiyama park, taking in the beautiful fall colors — and stuffing my face with all kinds of delicious snacks. I’m not usually an urban explorer, but the parks and shrines in Kyoto are stunning, and food culture here is HUGE. From tempura veggies to matcha ice cream, I can’t stop thinking about it. Moving on…

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Elisabeth at Lake Kawaguchi.

So, how chilly was Fuji? Well, let’s put it this way. The area got blasted with its first snowstorm 24 hours before I got there, and when I drove through the town of Fujiyoshida, 6 inches of snow covered the ground. The photo above was taken on my final afternoon at Lake Kawaguchi, which was by far the warmest. When I shot sunrise each morning I was there, I wore my heaviest puffy, two pairs of pants, gloves and I even debated wearing a hat. I hate hats

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Chureito Pagoda

I don’t usually like boots that go up as high as the 7” Insulated Bridgers, because I’m prone to ankle rubs and they seem far too clunky on my size 10 feet, but these were amazing. The fleece around the top makes them squishy and comfortable, and I didn’t trip at all. My toes stayed toasty warm, and I definitely wandered a few steps into the lake to get some shots, and I had absolutely no leakage. They definitely passed my test with flying colors, and I can’t wait to give these boots more action this winter all over California.

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Koi fish in Kyoto.

So, how much did I love Japan? I’m a little obsessed. It’s at the top of my list of places to re-visit, along with Iceland and Namibia. I want to climb Mount Fuji when I return, and I’m not sure whether I’ll need the Insulated Bridgers or the mids for that adventure, but one thing is for sure: My Oboz are definitely coming back to Japan someday.

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