Ohechi – Day 1 – Tanabe to Tonda

  • Ohechi route

  • Day 1, Tanabe to Tonda, 19km

  • Accommodation: Miyoshiya Ryokan Tanabe, ¥3200

I arrived back in Tanabe yesterday after finishing the Iseji route and booked back into Miyoshiya Ryokan. At 9am this morning I went to the Tanabe City Tourism Bureau next to the station and asked for any information they had on the Ohechi route. They gave me a Japanese map, similar to what I’d used for the sections between Shingu and Nachi.

Ohechi map

Now I just had to figure out how to walk it in 4 days (on the 5th day I have to travel back to Tokyo for my return flight) and where to stay along the way!

I decided to walk the first stage to Tonda station today (as suggested by the map) then take the train back to Tanabe as there didn’t seem to be any accommodation near Tanabe and it was only a 20 minute train. (This train is quite infrequent though so I made a note of the train times before setting out today).

Getting out of Tanabe was easy enough and I was happy/surprised to see tall wooden markers pointing the way. The route goes via Tokei Jinja Shrine in Tanabe which is part of the World Heritage.

After about 7km (around Ichihara shrine) and for the next ~5km, the waymarks became fewer and when I did spot them, they seemed to be in strange positions almost hiding behind electricity poles and walls. I was out of the city now and passing rice fields and veggie patches and it was lovely and peaceful walking along the small roads.

This lasted for a few km before the route joined a footpath beside route 42 again and after a few more km I’d reached the bridge that I needed to cross to get to Tonda station for my train back to Tanabe (the Ohechi continues straight on without crossing the bridge).  It was a relatively quick 19km partly along route 42 and partly along small roads and interesting enough, but it could be skipped if you didn’t like road walking.

Back in Tanabe, I asked Ken at Miyoshiya Ryokan where to go for dinner and he recommended Kanteki Izakaya. It was a terrific recommendation and I had a lively evening in the Izakaya with the friendly and charismatic staff!

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8 responses to “Ohechi – Day 1 – Tanabe to Tonda

  1. Kat,
    I am enjoying your walk. I have Japan, the 88 temple route, on my radar for sometime in the future and your blog has reignited my desire to do so.
    My one concern is the number of snakes you encountered on this route, are their sightings a common occurrence year round?
    Thank you for sharing your adventures with us, I truly love reading the accountings of your adventures.
    Arlèna

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    • Hi Arlèna, I think the snakes are typically out between spring and autumn. If it helps, Japanese people think it’s lucky to see them! I’m going back with my husband in autumn and will let him walk first and see how many he encounters 😉
      Kat

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  2. Hi Kat,
    Not sure you will read and reply back in time?
    Appreciate your write up of the Ohechi (+ all the rest on the Kumano Kodo) trail and all the advice it’s brilliant!

    Just a querie to the Ohechi is there Kumano Kodo passport stamps to collect along this trail? I completed the Camino Frances, Finisterre and Muxia March to April this year and i am interested in obtaining the dual pilgrim certificate.

    I have completed 5 trails in the last week with my son, today rained so got the train from Katsuura to Hayatama Taisha and arrived back at Tanabe this afternoon with almost a week left in Japan, would you recommend us to hike (obviously as long as no rain, would not attempt any of these hikes here in the rain by the way) Koyasan to Hongu as i have not done the Kohechi yet ? Many thanks again in advance!

    Cheers

    Mark

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    • Hi Mark,
      No, the dual pilgrim stamps can be collected along the Nakahechi and Kohechi trails only – the Tanabe tourist office (or Hongu) can give you a list showing the location of all the stamps.

      I definitely agree with you about not hiking the trails in the rain, they’re hard enough!

      Re: the Kohechi, if it wasn’t for the landslides I encountered I would probably recommend it, but now after a lot more rain (I walked it twice in Apr & May this year) I’m not sure what kind of condition the trail would be in. Your best bet is to speak to the Tanabe tourist office for advice, they might have news about the trail condition. It’s completely different to the Nakahechi in that it is a mountain trail that climbs a mountain a day and is very remote meaning it’s better to pre-book accom each night unless you’re planning to carry a tent and all of your food (but I wouldn’t recommend carrying a heavy pack on the narrow and steep trails).

      I wasn’t a great fan of the Ohechi after Susami because of the dangerous road-walking, but I really enjoyed the Iseji route, it’s just a shame there’s hardly any signage for it!

      Have you heard about the Nakasendo trail?There are some sections like Magome-Tsugome which are quite popular or you could even pop over to Shikoku and walk some of the 88 temple pilgrimage?

      Have a great time whatever you decide!

      Kat

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  3. Hi Kat,

    Thanks for a very prompt reply and i will ask at the Tanabe tourist office in the morning and see about the rain f/cast as well about the Kohechi trail condition from.Koyasan but i am eager to complete it, our backpacks are 10kilos max each and we stay at the minshukus or ryokans so would book ahead…if no go we will start at Totsukawa to Hongu. Thanks again.

    Forgot that i already have the list of stamp locations! Thanks for the reminder! Duh…

    Will look into tbe Nakasendo trail as not heard of that one.

    Shikoko 88 temples is on my bucket list and aim to do it in the near future hopefully. Will have a read of your daily notes on that as well.

    Cheers again and thanks for an amazing site your an inspiration to us all!

    Keep following the arrows

    Mark

    Liked by 1 person

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