Each of the mountains in Initial D are real locations in Gunma Prefecture, Japan. On beautiful weekends, the roads don't just have day trippers to the various tourist spots, you can also spot modified cars and motorcycles enjoying the drive. I recently took a group of friends out on a quick jaunt around Mount "Akina." It's actually named Mount Haruna.
I previously wrote about these mountains more generally. Although I was not able to really enjoy previous drives through or beside the mountains because the vehicle I was using was a Mitsubishi EK Wagon kei car. So, underpowered with pretty sluggish handling. Of course, I finally have my own vehicle now and not a company car. So, my aim is to drive every single of the mountain roads (probably many, many times) with my scrappy little Honda GA3 hatchback.
The GA is a perfect vehicle for this kind of driving. A very small and light car, it has a 90HP D-series "civic" engine. Basically, it's running a full sized vehicle engine in a kei car sized body. It is pretty low to the ground already (although I haven't yet added lowering springs, I have purchased them), and it corners tightly. The handling and quick response, especially in "sport" mode, make it extremely fun to drive. While many would be put off by its automatic transmission, I don't find it to be in any way detrimental to my enjoyment.
On a whim, three friends and I piled into the GA and drove up (and back down) Haruna. Here's some video I posted of our trip (the voices are of my passengers, including my videographer, I was too focused on driving to speak):
There is also a pretty amazing shrine at the top of Mount Haruna. The journey up is built into the mountain, following along a stream made up of many small waterfalls over picturesque piles of fallen rocks. On a hot day like today, I really wanted to take a dip in some of the periodic pools of water which formed at various levels. There are various forks off the path which lead down to the water, some with steps, so I presume that this is allowed, although I did not see anyone actually doing it. Here are some pictures of the shrine components as my passengers and I climbed up and down.
Next up? Probably Mount Akagi, home of the "Red Suns." Until then...
Images and Video via Kat Callahan/YouTube/iPotato.
Kat Callahan is a writer for Jezebel and currently the LGBT editor at Jezebel's LGBT+ subpage ROYGBIV. She can be reached @JezebelKat on Twitter. She likes Japanese and German cars, with her loyalties being to Honda and BMW. She currently drives a JDM 2000 Honda Logo Sportic TS (GA3) and lives on the Saitama/Gunma Prefectural border in the Tokyo Regional Area of Japan.