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 stone staircase with more ancient pilgrim stone graves. There was a nice seaview from the top and 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 pass I entered the small village of Nigishima which had a rest hut next to a toilet. It was still early but I had a short break in the hut 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 stone paths, stone ‘shishigaki’ walls and a view of Atashika white sand beach.
In Atashika I passed a small shop with a small selection of lunch meals and bought chirashizushi for lunch. I sat on a small bench in the shade in the front of the shop and when I’d finished I went back in and bought 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 very helpful each time I asked where the trail was! This pass has a stone 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 I froze expecting to see a bear, but instead of a bear, I saw macaque monkeys. There was a whole group of them so I kept my eyes down and started to descend not wanting them to get any closer. The business hotel I’m staying at overlooks the sea but it’s just past Odomari and actually a few hundred metres past the Matsumoto toge trailhead which I’ll be climbing tomorrow morning. I think I could’ve walked further today over Matsumoto toge pass and to Kumanoshi city but it’s also nice to arrive somewhat early and have time to relax. There’s a nice bath in the hotel and dinner wasn’t included but there’s a restaurant in the hotel so I had dinner here because I didn’t fancy walking back to Odomari and trying to find a restaurant. Tomorrow I should arrive in Shingu, the end of the Iseji trail!