Gasshuku at Mount Fuji, Japan, 2006


In the fall of 2006 I had the opportunity to go to Japan to participate at the 8th Taikiken gashuku, held October 21-22nd.

I started planning my trip right after Takagi sensei sent a invitation at the beginning of this year, inviting us to participate at the forthcoming gashuku this fall.
Thanks to some initial work by Marshall sensei I was able to make my trip.

I started my trip October 10th and spent the first week of my stay in Japan in Tokyo.

One week of sightseeing ended at 18th as I went by train to Kawaguchi-ko, a small town by a lake with the same name. The lake is one of five lakes surrounding Fuji-san, the highest mountain in Japan.

During my first and second day in Kawaguchi-ko I did some sightseeing, including a trip to Fuji-san and to another mountain near Kawaguchi-ko lake.

Saturday morning, October 21st, I was picked up by Hirata-san and his friend Shimamura-san. After a 30 minute drive by car we arrived at a training facility located at lake Motosu-ko, one of the five lakes surrounding Fuji-san.

At my arrival I recieved a warm welcome by Sato sensei and Takagi sensei.
About 60 budoka from Tokyo, Yokohama, Osaka and Brazil also arrived to attend the weekend gashuku.

After check-in we had lunch, followed by some individual practice in a nearby wood.
Sato sensei then had a briefing before we continued with pair exercises.

In the evning we had some free time between the six o clock dinner and the party starting at eight. Sato sensei shared a lot of stories with us during the party.

Sunday started with individual practice in the nearby wood.



After breakfast, which included some balance acts on chairs performed by a budoka, we continued the practice. Sato sensei started the practice session with a briefing and some demonstrations. This was then followed by pair exercices.

It was very interesting to see Sato sensei demonstrate the different techniques. The practice session then ended with some free training and a photo session together with Sato sensei. Takagi sensei was kind to volunteer as a photographer.

The camp ended with lunch and check-out. Hirata-san and Shimamura-san was kind and gave me a lift back to my hotel in Kawaguchi-ko.

Next day my trip in Japan continued, as I went to Tokyo via Yokohama. I had only a short time in Yokohama and could only see the city from the railway station.

After 5 days in Kyoto, including sightseeing and visits to Kyo-Butokuden, the oldest martial arts exercise hall in Japan (built in 1899), I returned back to Tokyo.

Back in Tokyo I once more got company by Shimamura-san, his wife and their daughter as we went to visit the grave of Sawai sensei.
I also had time to make a 1 day trip to Kamakura, a town south of Tokyo.

November 1st , after a 3 week stay in Japan, the time had come to return back to my dojo at the Haga park in Stockholm.

This is a trip I will remember for a long time because of all great people I met in Japan, all people at the gashuku and all kind people I met during my journey in Japan.

I want to end by thanking everybody assisting and supporting me prior to and during my journey. This trip made me want to return back to Japan.

Esko Karjalainen