Open-window season is over. Heaters have been turned on. Winter storms are starting. Hot cocoa and nabe (hot pot) are the best things for staying warm. To me, this season is the most beautiful season for hiking. Fortunately I live in Shiga, home to some wonderful hiking course. To the east of Lake Biwa is the Suzuka mountain range. To the west of Lake Biwa is the Hira mountain range. Many of the mountains in these ranges offer panorama views from the peaks. Most of them get snow in winter. All of them have well maintained hiking courses. Last year, I climbed Mount Watamuki and Mount Ryouzensan, both in the Suzuka mountain range. From the peaks we could see into Mie prefecture and Aichi prefecture. From the top of Mount Watamuki, we could even see the sea! This season I want to climb Mount Hira, which is not far from Ohmimaiko in northern Otsu. Less than an hour from Smith’s school of English Otsu by car and I can be in the woods enjoying the fresh air and crisp snow! Who wants to join me? FYI- The picture on the right is from the top of Mount Wakamuki, looking to the north-east over the Suzuka mountains.