Day 6 – Kata to Odomari, 21km
Accommodation: Hotel Nami, ¥7000 including breakfast, 0597-88-1800
After a delicious breakfast and a sad goodbye to the owner of Ryokan Daishoukan, I set out for today’s walk to Odomari. After 2km I was at the entrance to Sone-jirozaka-tarozaka pass (but confusingly the mountain is called Hobo toge pass). I first heard, then saw a suzumebachi vesper wasp which are quite dangerous but it seemed happy with the log it was sitting on so I was able to get a photo. It might be hard to see from the photo but I’d say it was a bit longer than a AA battery. The ascent was along a picturesque flagstone path with more ancient pilgrim stone graves. There was a nice sea view from the top then the descent was mostly along tree roots and stones but I also passed old ‘Shishigaki’ stone walls that were built by farmers to protect their fields from wild boars.
After descending Hobo-toge I entered the small village of Nigishima which had a rest shelter next to a toilet. It was still early but I had a short break in the shelter and bought a cold coffee from a vending machine that was outside the factory across the road. A few elderly women walked past and were interested in what I was doing, surprised that I was by myself and wished me well. The next mountain pass was Nigishima and Okamizaka-toge, scenic with flagstone paths, stone ‘shishigaki’ walls and a view of Atashika white sand beach.
In Atashika I passed a small shop with a selection of lunch meals and bought chirashizushi. I sat on a bench in the shade in front of the shop and after I’d finished I went back into the shop to buy an ice cream to eat while walking. The kind owner gave me a freezer bag full of biscuits for the journey 🙂 It was difficult to find the way to the next mountain pass, Hadasu no michi, but the locals were helpful each time I asked where the trail was! This pass has a flagstone path that was laid in the Kamakura period (1185-1333).
The last mountain pass of the day was Obuki-toge and at the top of the pass I heard a loud tree branch break and froze expecting to see a bear, but instead I saw a group of macaque monkeys. I kept my eyes down not wanting to get eye-contact with them and started to descend. The business hotel I’m staying at overlooks the sea but it’s just past Odomari and actually a few hundred metres past Matsumoto-toge trailhead which I’ll be climbing tomorrow morning. I could’ve walked over the pass to Kumanoshi city but it’s also nice to arrive somewhat early and have time to relax (for the first time!). There’s a nice bath in the hotel, a restaurant and a wonderful sea view from my bedroom window. Tomorrow I plan to arrive in Shingu, the end of the Iseji trail!