by Tatsumi Akita
LODI360 Contributing Reporter in Kofu, Japan
Kofu First High School (Kofu Dai-ichi Koukou in Japanese) held the Annual Exhausting Hike called “Kyoukou Ensoku” on October 3rd and 4th. 365 boy students started at the school in Kofu, Yamanashi, at 2:00 p.m. on October 3rd and headed to Komoro City, Nagano. They are supposed to hike 65.7 miles in 24 hours. On the way, Nobeyama Town, the highest and mid point of the course, is 3,707.3 feet higher than Kofu. This year, the temperature in Kofu as they started was 80.6F and in Nobeyama, which they reached around midnight, was 35.6F. Every year, about 60% of the students reach Komoro.
The history began back in 1924. The 10th principal, Mr. Toshihiro Eguchi, made the idea because he believed “Walking is the best way to keep you in good shape physically and mentally.” The course has been changed several times since then. Because Nagano is famous for apples, after reaching the finish line in Komoro, boy students bring apples back to girls whom they like.
The school was a boys’ school when it was founded. Girls joined the hike in 1950 after the school became Co-ed. The course for girls is shorter than the one for boys: 26.8 miles. This year, 423 girls started at Hokuto City 7:00 a.m. on October 4th and was supposed to arrive at Koumi Town, Nagano, in 9 hours. About 90% of the girls reached the finish line in Koumi this year.
In 2016, Kyoukou Ensoku will be the 90th anniversary.