Yama no Susume – A friendship stronger than the mountains

Yama no Susume or Encouragement of Climb showcases how even the best of friends get into fights from time to time. Regardless of how destructive or regretful these disputes pan out to be, a true friendship will always overcome any obstacle that comes in between them. This article will contain very mild spoilers for the 3rd season of Yama no Susume.

Friendships are a special connection people are fortunate enough to share with one another. They form in unique ways that are at times completely unexplainable. They can be willed into, or they can be entirely spontaneous and organic. Regardless of how they come to fruition, it is said that true friendship is not how compatible the people are, nor is it how much they enjoy each other’s company. Rather, it is the sheer amount of conflict or hatred they overcome together as friends.

The chemistry you have with a friend is an unquestionable trait that comes naturally as the relationship develops. However, it’s not always sunshine and rainbows when it comes to friendships — or any type of connection for that matter. We go through a range of emotions that are not always in our best interest to succumb to. It’s a lot easier to say than to do in actuality. When feelings get the better of us, we tend to say or do regretful things to one another — even to those we truly cherish.

Only when friendships continue to thrive after a rocky incident or heated moment do they get stronger and materialize into something more than just a standard friendship, but perhaps a lifelong bond. You don’t really know what kind of friendship you share with someone until it is challenged in the form of some kind of quarrel or argument. Regardless of the severity of the confrontation, it is only at this moment will both parties be tested on their priorities and morals as a friend. When tensions flare, personalities and true identities are usually revealed in their ugliest of natures. Feelings get hurt and relationships get severed. 

These moments of in-fighting with a companion are not needed to determine if the friendship in question is the genuine attachment many seek for in life, but it is a rigorous test that has left many relationships in crumbles. Only those who value their friendship and wish to preserve the bonds they share with others will continue past any and every type of dispute or fight.      

Anything but Mountains!

Yama no Susume has a particular friendship between a once introverted girl and a happy-go-lucky childhood acquaintance. Aoi Yukimura and Hinata Kuraue couldn’t be any different from one another. Where Aoi enjoys knitting and staying indoors, Hinata can’t help but want to go on hikes and trail to the top of the mountains. As mentioned before, there are no rules for friendships. Two people can have completely different expressions, likes, and physical appearance, but they can still be in the parameters of being friends.

It is an unexplainable turn of events when considering how friendships start, but the sparkling differences between Aoi and Hinata are of no exception. The two girls showcased that friendship does not happen overnight, but rather over time and sometimes without either party ever realizing it. Aoi was quick to turn down all of Hinata’s invites to hang out, but as the two continued to talk, it is revealed that they were actually childhood friends in the past. Tied to a promise Aoi made to Hinata a long time ago, the two gradually reunited to become best friends once more.  

After three seasons of Yama no Susume, Aoi turns into someone who is unrecognizable from her past self. Although she still enjoys knitting and other indoor activities, Aoi becomes much more social and outgoing. The once shy loner has turned into someone who enjoys making new friends and hanging out with them at local mountain parks. All of this, of course, would not be possible without Hinata’s consistent push to be a part of Aoi’s life, even if she does initially decline.

The climb isn’t over until you descend!

Friendships can also blossom from a rejection, much is the case of Hinata. It was challenging and extremely out of her comfort zone, but Aoi pushed herself past her limits and experienced a new hobby that is rather weary but entirely fulfilling in its own right — mountain climbing. Her growth as a person and as a friend was the direct result of Hinata’s perseverance to reconnect with her long lost friend, and to change her indoor lifestyle.

The other girls who also deserve credit for Aoi’s overdue transformation are Kaede Saitou, the oldest in the group and the most reliable when it comes to mountaineering, Kokona Aoba, the youngest and most ladylike, and lastly, Honoka Kurosaki, an artistic girl who lives in the next town over. Due to the girls’ extremely close friendship and the unforgettable memories they’ve created over their outdoor adventures is now a part of Aoi, and her inevitable progression in always becoming a better version of herself. 

Over the course of the seasons, the girls have traveled a lot together, including climbing on top of Mount Fuji, Japan’s tallest and most iconic mountain. It goes without saying that they all know each other’s quirks and how they would react in certain situations. With that being said, they are still not immune to disagreements and quarrels from time to time. In particular, since Aoi and Hinata have perhaps the closest friendship among the girls, they tend to playfully tease each other every now and then.

It is never a pleasure to be the butt end of a joke, but the girls usually handle it well and know that none of the jokes harbour any ill-will. The girls have shared some breathtaking scenes together, delicious meals, and even baths with one another over the course of their friendship. But of course, there needed to be some sort of conflict to test exactly how much they revere to each other as friends. Everything is how it should be until we reach the midway of season 3. 

Everyone’s own views

Hinata, of all people, has noticed the courageous strides Aoi has taken since taking up mountaineering. Not only does she have the endurance and strength to consistently walk up inclines and rocky pathways, but Aoi also summons enough confidence to talk to and even hang out with the other girls in her class not named Hinata. This comes as a delightful surprise for Hinata at first, but her emotions gradually become murky and becomes evident that she, herself, does not know how exactly to handle them. Hinata has become so used to being the reliable friend that Aoi goes to for anything that she struggles in finding her identity when Aoi becomes entirely independent.

It bothers her to an extent, but she does not ever show or express her frustration. Aoi and the others are kept in the dark until their overnight trip to Mount Kinpu. Kokona secretly stays the night at Aoi’s place so that the two can prepare meals for the other girls. The two spend a little too much time cooking and oversleep, arriving at the train station later than expected. Hinata is angered that Aoi didn’t tell her that Kokona slept over, and this results in a visibly angered Hinata lecturing the two of them on the train.

It was the first time any of the girls showed an outright angry expression, and a moment of which the relationship they shared was on the fringe of collapsing. During the entire hike, Hinata kept to herself and only thought about the fastest course of action to take and not the ones that were the best for her friends. Her limited interactions with the other girls were prompt and uncharacteristic of Hinata’s energetic self.

Hinata made the atmosphere between the other girls tense and a bit awkward, to say the least. The hiking activity the girls once relished in now turned into an aimless hike with an angry grump leading the way. This selfish way of acting resulted in her injuring her leg in a rushed attempt to climb the mountain. Only when the pain became unbearable does Hinata tell the other girls. Aoi is quick to take the responsibility of staying with Hinata, and the two slowly make their way down the mountain. 

Despite Hinata showing signs of being angry and selfish, Aoi never returns the same feeling. Instead, she is passive and lets Hinata act out of her childish fit. Hinata confesses that she became jealous when Aoi was making plans with other girls by herself, and that the two of them could not hang out as often as they once did. Hinata was unhappy that Aoi has become an independent person who can enjoy herself without her company. In her own words, she was worried that Aoi “might go away.”

Aoi never let Hinata’s stubbornness never get the best of her because she has always considered Hinata as her best friend. The two eventually make up while sitting alongside the mountain’s terrain and learn a valuable thing from one another. Friendship will always take priority no matter how frustrating or regrettable the situation appears to be. The girls learned to be honest with one another and convey their feelings, even if it’s something no one wants to hear.


Friendships are a wonderful connection to have with other people, but they too take an adequate amount of trust, nurture and forgiveness in order to preserve that bond. It’s hard to be honest with the people you love, especially if it ends up hurting them, but it’s far better than keeping it a secret and letting it bottle up inside of you. If they truly are your friends, they would be more than willing to accept any secrets or troubles that have kept you in a burdened state.

Much like Aoi and Hinata’s relationship, true friendships will continue to flourish even after the worst episodes. In fact, they usually become stronger than ever before because new revelations are put to light, and they tend to better reflect someone’s true characteristic. Unlike other services or objects, friendship is not something you can buy or be born into, it is a genuine experience that you must want to be a part of or risk the chance of cutting ties forever. Friendship works in both ways, and both parties should put in the same amount of understanding and effort to keep the bond as strong as possible.

The girls in Yama no Susume have formed a beautiful friendship that will continue to blossom as time goes on. Although they’re still a few years away from conquering Mount Everest, the girls have proven that they can climb even the toughest of mountains and obstacles, as long as they’ve got each other.   

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1 Response

  1. September 27, 2020

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