Japan 2019 Kohechi

Day 3: Hongu to Totsukawa Onsen

After two days on the Nakahechi route, to which I will return later, I am now walking north along the Kohechi route. The Kohechi route was established in the 13th century as a trade and pilgrimage route, joining Koyasan and Hongu. As such the route is “only” ca.70 km long, but it crosses over four passes over 1000m – the first of which I passed today.

I haven’t yet had a really good nights sleep in Japan, and unfortunately last night was no exception. It helped when I pulled the plug on the fridge. I already had a slight headache when I went to bed, so that didn’t help either, and that turned worse when I woke up. My theory was that I could be dehydrated, whilst I drink as much as I have available, it probably isn’t enough, given the level of physical exertion. I drank as much as I could manage before leaving, and that helped. Below the hotel I stayed last night.

I cheated today and skipped the four first kilometers, as they were also part of yesterdays walk. So after breakfast, I took a bus and got off at a small supermarket en route, to buy some lunch – an apple and a strawberry sandwich – the only other thing they had that could be used for lunch were green tea rice balls and tons of white bread.

I walked a  kilometer before the climb, 5,3km up tp 1060m over the Hatenashi mountain range. I met the group from Estonia whilst they were taking a pause, and the only other people I met were 15 Japanese walking in the opposite direction. 10 of the Japanese were at least my age, if not older.

Whilst the sun shone from a cloudy sky, there were heavy winds and even when sheltered from the wind, it was no more than 12 degrees, and in the wind, that almost blew me off my feet at one point, it felt much colder.

It was a tough climb, partly because of the many steps, bur also because at times one has to climb rocks to continue on the path. The picture above is what meets you at he top. But it was so windy and cold, I didn’t hang aroundy. The descent was relatively straight forward, until the last kilometer, where a cobblestone staircase/path has been laid, and given the descent is very steep, I took my time without falling.

Thirty three statues of Kannon line the mountain trail. Kannon is a Bodhisattva, a person that refrains from entering Nirvana in order to save others and is by far the most used deity in Japan. I have included some of the 33 below, I do not have pictures of all 33 by any means.

I wonder what happens to the money that is given to the Kannon.

Totsukawa village is along the bank of a man made lake, and you get some great views on the way down the mountain.

One also passes through a hamlet on the way down, Hatenashi, which with a panoramic backdrop of the mountains and forrest, plus beautiful gardens, it is considered one of Japan’s most scenic villages.

To get to the hotel I am staying and save a 2km detour, I had to cross a suspension bridge – ca. 100m long. I was the only person on it, so it sway with my every step. Pretty scarring actually.

And the welcome at the entrance to the hotel.

This is the most expensive hotel I am staying at, so I had high expectations for dinner. And they were met.


From what I recall, 6 small starters, rice and herbs, chicken hotpot, vegetables, pickles, a whole fish, tempura, miso, dumpling, sashimi plus tofu, a glas of plum wine and a dessert.

My watch tells me that I walked 15km, 1033m up and 985 down. The actual route was 12,5km.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *