Day 4 – Omata to Koyasan, 16.8km
Accommodation: Rengejo-in Temple, Koyasan, ¥12000 including Shojin-ryori dinner and breakfast
Breakfast was at 7am and considering it was the last day and only 17km, I wasn’t in a hurry. Kakizoe-san, Ting and I all had breakfast together then decided to walk together to Koyasan. This was the easiest of the four stages with probably 50-60% along roads and not such a big climb. We took our time chatting the whole way and it was a really enjoyable day. It definitely gets lonely sometimes walking by myself and I really appreciated the company. Funnily enough, Ting hadn’t seen any snakes on either the Nakahechi or Kohechi (and I’d been seeing them daily) so we told her to lead the way, and not long after, she screamed out saying she’d just seen one! We came across a hut and picnic table in a small village called Otaki and had our lunch there in the sunshine before pushing onto Koyasan.
We said our goodbye’s in Koyasan and I checked into my Shukubo temple accommodation at Rengejo-in. It’s Golden Week so it’s bustling with local and foreign tourists. I’m hoping to stay 4 nights so I can do a few more walks around the area, but the Shukubo association here told me that everything is booked up for the rest of the week… There’s 52 temples with accommodation and other guesthouses and ryokan’s so I’m sure something will work out.
In my opinion, the Kohechi trail needs maintenance as well as more waymarks, but considering the amount of rain the region gets (which triggers the landslides), it seems like it would be an impossible task to maintain the trail. Rainy season is in June and typhoon season is in September so it would be a pretty constant job to be fixing every landslide that happens. The ascents and descents of the first three days were all very steep and would be slippery and dangerous in wet weather so I wouldn’t recommend walking this trail in bad weather/after a lot of rain/in June or in September.