Japan 2019 Kohechi

Day 4: Totsukawa to Miura-guchi

Another long walk. Today was ca. 20 km on the route, and 3 more due to the place I am staying being a couple of kms off the track.

The day started with breakfast at the hotel, western style, still with a Japanese touch, but egg and bacon as well as ham, salad, yoghurt and of course miso. The hotel also has a Yaen bridge, a self-propelled cable car, where the passenger sits in a cart and pulls himself across the river with a rope. Wasn’t for me, I already uncertain on the suspension bridge (see picture above).

The first 8 km today were along a main road passing through a couple of villages. There wasn’t a lot to see, but I was wearing my running shoes instead of my mountain shoes and with music to listen to, it was fairly easy going.

I reached the start of the uphill climb, and was sitting changing shoes when a bus pulled up and the group from Estonia got off. We chatted for a few minutes and I set off, 7,5 km to the Miura-toge pass at 1.064 m.

It was nowhere near as steep as yesterdays climb, but just seemed to go on and on. I latched onto a group of three Japanese guys.  They were quicker than I was, but later I caught them up and was quicker than them. We exchanged the lead 5 or 6 times and came to summit at the same time.

Golden week, which because of the new Emperor, is two weeks this year, has just started, and I met many Japanese both on the way up and down. Some stopped and talked, most just pass. The guy on the left below, had been in Denmark and he liked what he saw. I said to the guy on the right, that he was tall for a Japanese person. He laughed, pointed at his brain, and said it was because his brain is very light and that Japan was lucky that it had many small people, and laughed.

At the top the 3 Japanese guys and I took pictures of each other, I spoke to another guy who was about to go downhill, the way we had come. The view was fantastic and the weather great, and it was lunch time, so I sat and ate my lunch, 2 rice balls and a side of fish. At one point the Japanese guys came over to give me a beer, and wanted to take a picture saying cheers.

The descent was fairly steep, 700 m over 5 km, but fairly easy and I had reached the bottom 1,5 hours after leaving the summit. There was an amazing tree, that the Japanese call the “wind breaking cedar tree” on the way down.

There were still many Japanese on their way up, as I walked down. I assume they would camp, as I am pretty sure that they all wouldn’t make it over the mountain before nightfall – it gets dark here around 6.30.

I had to cross a suspension bridge, but a more stable one this time. The bridge marked the end of the day, as the inn I had booked was 2 km away. 6 hours, including a 30 min lunch break, not bad when the guidebook says 7 to 9 hours.

I started to walk towards Minshuku Yamamoto, but was stopped by a family who told me that the road was closed due to a landslide. They walked with me to show me where to go instead. A gravel road which is in the process of being built – it was really hard on my feet.

I arrived at Minshuku at 14.45, as the first, so I got both first use of the shower, hot bath and washing machine. I called Lene on Skype, and half the group from Estonia turned up in van, they had got a lift from the hotel where the rest of the group are staying.

I had a very enjoyable dinner with the Estonians, so enjoyable, that I forgot to take a photo :-(. Instead a picture from outside the room that I am staying.

And to round off, 1050 m ascent and 805 descent. And yet another long walk tomorrow, before the expected rain on Thursday when the walk goes to Koyasan. Also last year it poured down the day I went to Kobo Daishi’s resting place.

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