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.
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 (but quite an infrequent train so make a note of the times if you plan to do this).
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. It was interesting enough but could be skipped if you don’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!