Iseji Japan 2019

Day 17: Kata to Odomari

It’s Saturday night and I am sitting in the hotel’s launderette, washing clothes for hopefully the last time on this trip. Today was supposed to be a quiet day, but I obviously hadn’t read the trail details, I walked over 8 passes and climbed 1130m.

I woke up at 6.30, feeling that I hadn’t slept. But the view from my bedroom window, was just the boost I needed. [The following three pictures are from Kata – see below].

I went down for the western breakfast, egg, bacon, sausage, cold chips and broccoli, all covered in ketchup. I don’t eat ketchup! I will have to remember to tell them tomorrow.

I was on the 8.28 train, going in the right direction, and got off on Kata, four stops away. Another walker got off, with me, he eas going to take the two first passes, that was more than enough for him.

Kata is where I ended yesterday, and from where I took the wrong train. I walked along the bay, where at one point you can see Kata to the west and Owase to the north. The Sone-jirozaka-tarozaka pass, has two passes, the Hobo-toge (305m) and Sone-jirozaka-tarozaka pass (355m).

I had great difficulty finding where the trail head was. For the first attempt I ended up in somebody’s garden, second attempt up a road and third attempt up a path that clearly wasn’t going anywhere. I asked a man in his garden, and he came out to show me, and gave me an orange. So I now have two oranges after the landlady, a couple of days ago, gave me one. The view from the Sone-jirozaka-tarozaka pass was fantastic, over Nigishima-wan Bay. I sat and ate the orange I received from the landlady. It took me 2,5 hours to complete the pass, including a 15 min break.

In Nagashima there was a supermarket, but they had very little for sale and nothing I could use for lunch, so I bought an ice-cream. Another walker, Japanese, was also looking for something for lunch, and finally gave up.

The next two passes, Nigishima-toge (240m) and Okamizaka-toge (290m) were close to each other and I completed them in less than 1,5 hours. Here again lots of moss covered stone pavements to walk upon. Pretty much all stretches that have moss covered stone pavements are officially designated as World Heritage, as was this pass. The Okamizaka-toge pass signifies the border between Ise and Kumano.

At Okamizaka-toge Pass there was a view over Atashika-wan bay.

I walked along the beach for a few kilometers. It was Saturday and 23 degrees, in Denmark the beach would have been packed, but was pretty empty here. There was a nice small shrine along the road side as well. I stopped at another supermarket, but like the previous supermarket, they didn’t have anything for lunch and ended up with a dark chocolate snickers, so I didn’t leave without buying anything.

The next pass was Hadasu-no-michi, again there was a stone path and great views over the bay. In Hadasu there was a little shrine called Jofoku. Jofoku was Emporer Qins doctor, who brought lots of new knowledge to Japan from China, in the areas of farming, pottery and medicine.

I also passed this house in the hills, with the view below.

As I got closer to the village at the bottom of the pass there were some great views, with terraced rice fields.

Once you reach Hadasu, there are two routes one can follow, the Obuki-toge pass or the Kannon-michi pass. The first path passes through a bamboo grove, whilst the second passes 33 Kanon statues. There is also a compromise, take Obuki-toge trail to the top and take the Daikanshishigaki-michi path from Obuki-toge to reach Kanon-michi pass.

I decided to take the path between the passes. This was clearly not an often used option, as whilst there is a path, it is small in many places. I also wasn’t 100% sure I was actually on the right path. One of the problems with the map over Iseji, is that it doesn’t have information about elevation, so when I made the decision, I had no clue that that it meant that I had to climb ca. 100m more with a fairly steep ascent.

I am a bit surprised that there isn’t more focus on this path as there isa ca. 500m long stone wall, shishigaki, built to keep wild animals out ca. 300 years ago. On some of the other trails they have mentioned these when there have been 20m. From the top there was a great view over Odomari, in fact directly at the hotel I am staying. I could also see all the way down the coast towards Shingu, but it was very hazy, so pictures were difficult.

I finally made it to the Kanon-michi trail and took the 1.100m walk down from 310m elevation past the 33 kanon statues. It is a very easy walk where the paths are in great condition, again many covered with moss. If I was going to choose one to walk, it would certainly be this one, as there is not only a great path and beautiful scenery, but 33 Kannon to relieve your suffering.

I got back to the hotel at 17.00, bought a beer and sat and looked at the view from the hotel. I then went for a hot bath and dinner. Dinner ended up being the same as yesterday, as they don’t have an English menu, and it would have taken forever for the waiter to translate it.

I ended up walking 27km, 1136 ascent and 1107 descent. My legs and feet are in fine form, and now I just have one day left to walk. And finally I get a welcome, 500m from the hotel, after a long and hard day.

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