The man running the youth hostel in Urubandai National Park was exceptionally nice to us. We’d been planning on staying in one of the cabins there but as it was raining and as no one had booked in advance they hadn’t been cleaned and the electricity was turned off. At least I think that’s what the story was. Either way it resulted in us being given a private room for ¥2000 less than two dormitory bunks.
Another major benefit of the YH was its location at the start of the five coloured lake walking path which Tania and I did today. When Bandai-san last erupted it blew about 600m off the top and into the valleys to the north. The rivers got blocked and a new plateau was created along with many lakes of different and interesting colours. I guess the dodgy looking weather kept the crowds away as we didn’t see many people. Tania did get her first sighting of a wild snake, but only the tail as it slithered away into the undergrowth. Dragonflies were everywhere on the second stretch of trail and some were tame enough (or lazy enough) for me to sneak up really close. It’s worth viewing this photo full-size to look at the eye things.
So I’d definitely recommend the Bandai Plateau, and I wish the weather had been good enough to climb Bandai-san itself but alas the peak spent most of the day well above the clouds.