It was another long day because I wanted to make it to a ryokan (Japanese Inn) near Temple 44. If I made it, then the next day I would be able to leave my bag there while I went to Temple 45 and back, a 20km return trip.
I left at 5am and walked in the dark and cold morning for a couple of hours, inspired by the beauty of the mist on the mountains.
After 20km I came across a lovely big Henro hut and decided it would be the perfect place to rest for a while… I fell asleep for 30 minutes and when I woke up there was a Japanese Henro couple also sitting in the hut. We started talking and I found out they were both retired and were from Imabari which is on the Henro trail about 4-5 days away. They were doing a little bit of the walk at a time and as they would be back home by the weekend, they gave me their number and address and invited me to stay with them when I passed through their town. It was a lovely offer and I told them I would call when I was 2 days away.
I saw another snake, not a poisonous one (I don’t think) but still quite big, so they’re definitely not hibernating yet!
I had under calculated today’s distance by about 5km so I was pretty deflated to see signs saying I still had 15km to go when I thought there was only 10km – this pushed my day to another 50km day (50 is the new 40!)… It was now a race against sunset and a challenge for my body.
The last 6km were up and over 2 hills, one at an elevation of 500m and the other at 800m – just what you need at the end of a long day! I finally arrived at the ryokan, took a long, relaxing hot bath, thanked my feet and legs for making it and promised to give them a few short days to recover.
I went out to find dinner and came across a sushi bar. I sat at the counter with 5 tipsy locals and they fed me sushi, tempura and quite a lot of sake 🙂
Omogo Ryokan, ¥3,500 (no meals), in central Kuma-kogen, between temples 43 and 44