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 just 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 this walk 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 while admiring the view.
On the descent I met a Japanese airforce pilot walking the opposite direction who had just walked the Shikoku 88 Temple Pilgrimage. He was now walking from Koyasan to Hongu, camping 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 wonderful gifts I received on my Shikoku pilgrimage. There was one more snake waiting to scare the wits out of me before reaching the bottom, and it took 2.5 hours to descend. There was very little English signage and not many Japanese signs on this stage, it would definitely be helpful to have a few more signs, just so you’re confident you’re going the right way. There’s no accommodation at the trailhead in Omata but the two nearby accommodation options offer a pick-up service or you can walk the 20 minutes uphill to Minshuku Kawarabi-so (where I’m staying) or a further 10 minutes onto the Nosegawa Onsen hotel.
I checked into the welcoming Kawarabi-so and the owner offered to drive me to the Onsen at the Nosegawa Hotel nearby, how could I say no?! Kakizoe-san and Ting arrived an hour later and we went to the onsen together and had a lovely soak. We had a fantastic wild boar hot pot dinner and stayed up chatting about our experiences on the Kohechi thus far.