Iseji Japan 2019

Day 13: Tochihara to Ise-Kashiwazaki

Yesterday I realised that walking through small villages and varied scenery was why I loved Shikoku last year. Today I remembered why I took buses and trains on long stretches of main roads. Most of the first 13 kms today were along route 42, with nice views of the mountains, but otherwise just cars and lorries flying by. If anyone reading this is considering walking, unless you really want to walk all 170 km, take the train to Misedani, either from Tochihara or from Kawazoe. Misedani is where the nice part of todays walk starts.

I didn’t have a great nights sleep, I waited for the last train to pass at 23:00 and quickly fell asleep. However at 1:00 l heard a beep, that was repeated every 60 seconds. I checked my  room but found out it was outside my room. I couldn’t fall asleep, and found the earplugs I’d brought with me. It worked until the first train came rolling by at 6.00. I packed my stuff, and was ready for Japanese breakfast at 7.00. I was out of the door at 7.45 and was met by a sunny but chilly and windy day.

The first few kilometers were through small villages and small forest, but from Kawazoe one pretty much just followed route 42 – and this can be missed. At Misedani I bought some lunch, an egg sandwich and an orange cake, plus a cup of coffee and a bottle of Pocari Sweat.

Just after Misedani I crossed the Miya river and turn left, and as if by magic one is in the countryside with small farms growing primarily rice and tea. Todays only climb, the Misesaka-Toge was ca . 2,2 km in length reaching 256m.  Although not very high, the path was at times, relatively steep, both on the way up. There was a beautiful view over the countryside on the way up, and of a small lake on the way down.

The toad was pretty big, 6cm body I would guess, ate lunch with this view and some pretty large birds overhead.

I had to walk ca. 32km today, with my back pack, but could not resist visiting the Takiharaqu shrine on the way (in fact I visit all temples and shrines I pass). Just like yesterday with the shrine I visited, I was again surprised by the beauty and simplicity. A 500m long tree-lined gravel path led to the main sanctuary, or two main sanctuaries – to my untrained eye they looked identical, it is probably not the case. The buildings look very similar to Ise’s Grand Shrine. Next to the two sanctuaries there was an equivalently sized area to rebuild them every twenty years.

I get the feeling that temples are generally situated where it gives meaning and often within the town, shrines are more integrated with nature. The following cartoon was posted across from the shrine.

I still had about 12km remaining, and had just walked an extra kilometer in the shrine (well worth it). Most of the remaining kilometers were through sleepy villages, where even the cats walked very, very slowly, or along the main road, as the main road is the only road connecting the villages. The man below was cleaning onions.

The weather was beautiful but windy, so it never felt very warm, and I think the only time my pulse rose was when walking up Misesaka.

I arrived at the Ryokan, the only guest tonight, at just before 16.00, 35km, 8hrs15min of which I actually walked for 6hrs. There was a bigger climb today with 330m ascent and 238m descent.

After a bath and a call home, an excellent dinner was served in my room: sashimi, tempura, tofu, baby squid, grilled meat, miso, shredded pickled cabbage and rice.

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