“At Hakuba, the major peaks of Mt. Shirouma, Mt. Shirouma-Yari and Mt. Shakushi rise straight from the narrow valley where the Hakuba Village is located; the linear distance from the [train] station to the trailhead is less than 10 km. Nevertheless, the mountains were not easily approached before the Meiji era modernization of Japan, as snowfields and widespread alpine moors guarded major trailheads.
“However, the situation rapidly changed during the Meiji Peiod, and Hakuba became a favoroured destination for early Japanese alpinists. Some local villagers, such as the young Matsuzawa Teiitsu, saw a business opportunity in the rise of popularity of the mountains among alpinists, reflected in his bold decision to set up a mountain hut in an abandoned army checkpost near the summit in 1906.
“… Walter Weston’s trip to Mt. Shirouma in 1893 became the catalyst for tourism development in the valley and in 1903, the Chuo Line from Tokyo was extended to Matsumoto, easing access.”
– Tourism Development in Japan: Themes, Issues and Challenges, edited by Richard Sharpley & Kumi Kato, 2021
“Nichiren pointed, ‘Do you see that great peak to the north? It is called Shiro-uma-yama. White Horse Peak.
“In winter it takes on an equine shape, but that is not how it got its name. Early in May, the snows along its slope retreat, leaving what the farmers seem below see as a horse-shaped patch of rock. Each year, when they see this natural seasonal clock, they know, it is time to plant their rice.
“‘Long ago, they gave it the name Mountain of the Paddy Horse. You may not know that shiro has associated with it two kamji. One is ‘paddy field,’ the other ‘white.’
“‘Some clerk somewhere long ago made a mistake, and so we call it by a name it was never meant to have.'”
– Jian, by Eric Van Lustbader, 2017
“[F]or the man who really loves mountains, there is something of a similar sensation remnant in his recollections of the hills he has climbed.
“Sometimes the mountain is not much more than that – a happy hill smiling in the sun – mere child’s play so far as height and hardship are concerned. And sometimes it is a majestic mass austerely refusing the ambitious climber the satisfaction of an ascent. Or again, it is a mountain which offers nothing but uneventful peace – an even monotony unbroken by the excitement of wind or storm.
“… There is literally a mountain of benefits to be gained from mountains – however simple the statement may seem on the surface. Mountains are books, music, art to the mind that knows them.”
– “Musings of a Mountaineer”, by Kihachi Ozaki, Travel in Japan, Vol. 6, No. 1, 1941