Day 3 – Miura Guchi to Omata, 18km
Accommodation: Minshuku Kawarabi-so, Omata, ¥10360 including dinner, breakfast and a packed lunch
Sunrise is 5am and I had a great view from my futon. I left a bit before 7am and walked through a tunnel, along the road then across a bridge to the Obako-toge trailhead for today’s hike. The ascent was long and often steep and even narrower in parts then the previous two days but there was nothing as scary as yesterday’s landslide. If you have vertigo then I think you would struggle on the Kohechi and I definitely wouldn’t recommend carrying a heavy pack as the narrow sections often have a rock face on one side and cliff on the other. My first surprise was at 7.45am when I almost stepped on a brown snake (not sure what type). I wasn’t looking at the ground as carefully as I should’ve been and I certainly wasn’t expecting to see a snake that early in the morning. After 3.5 hours I reached the pass with a hut, toilet, nice view and the option to walk 600m further up to the top of the mountain. No rice balls today so I sat and ate my snickers lunch admiring the view.
On the descent I met a Japanese man walking the opposite direction who is an airforce pilot and had just walked the Shikoku 88 Temple Pilgrimage and was now walking from Koyasan to Hongu. He was camping along the way and getting food wherever he could so I opened my Shikoku shoulder bag full of snacks and gave him everything I had set aside for today. It felt good to do one small offering of ‘osettai’ after all the osettai that I received on my Shikoku pilgrimage. There was one more snake to scare the wits out of me before reaching the bottom, and it took 2.5 hours to descend. Overall on this stage today there was very little English signage and not many Japanese signs, it would definitely be helpful to have a few more signs just to reassure you that you are going the right way. At the trailhead in Omata there’s no accommodation so you need to walk either 20 minutes uphill to Minshuku Kawarabi-so (where I’m staying) or a further 10 minutes uphill to the Nosegawa Onsen hotel.
I checked into Kawarabi-so and the friendly owner said that if I would like to go to the Onsen at the Nosegawa Hotel nearby that he would drive me there. How could I say no?! Kakizoe-san and Ting arrived about an hour later and we went to the onsen together. There was no-one in the onsen when I arrived so I was able to take a photo and have a lovely soak. The owner picked us up from the onsen and took us back to their minshuku and then we had a fantastic wild boar hot pot dinner and stayed up chatting about our experiences on the Kohechi so far.