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Watch Alex Honnold and Yuji Hirayama Climb in Japan

The two explore some of Japan's classic steep limestone routes

In spring 2018, Alex Honnold visited Yuji Hirayama and toured some of Japan’s best crags. Honnold said after his trip, “It’s been an amazing tour around a few different crags with the one and only Yuji Hirayama.

“Who knew that there was so much great limestone sport climbing in Japan?! Such a pleasure.” A great resource to climbing in Japan is Tony Grant’s blog Climb Japan which you can visit here.

In 2003, Hirayam made the first ascent of Flat Iron 5.15a at Futagoyama. It’s still the hardest route in Japan and has only been repeated by by Toru Nakajima.

Hirayama started climbing at age 15. “As a boy I always wanted to go into the mountains,” he said. “And I knew that in order to become a climber, I needed to find someone to show me the basics. I met this guy in one of the mountaineering shops in Tokyo, and he suggested that we go.

“We went to Hirawada mountain near Tokyo. I was afraid on the first route. I top roped a few routes. At the end I tried a 5.10b, which I couldn’t do. I was pissed off about that! I wanted to get stronger and he told me I had to get a pull up bar so I could train for climbing.”

Halfway through the video, Honnold says, “Why would anybody go trad climbing, when they can just sport climb?”

Watch Honnold and Hirayama in Japan