Japan 2019 Kohechi

Day 5: Miura-guchi to Omata

After forgetting the picture of dinner, here is what was served for breakfast.

After goodbyes and paying for the two (large) glasses of sake consumed for dinner, the owner drove us to the Minshuku where the rest of the group from Estonia were staying. As I was also about to get out, but the driver said “no, no”, and he ended up driving me a km further to the start of the upward part of the trail.

It was going to be a long day, 8,3 km up to 1340m, starting out from 350m. Then down to ca. 650m in 4 km.  I would almost have preferred to walk the 1 km, to warm up, but instead started off with a long 30% climb, that had my legs complaining.

After the first couple of kilometers, it was a fairly easy climb, until about 1 km from the top. There was a detour due to a landslide, so instead of walking around the mountain we had to walk on an interim path over the mountain top. And that was tough, and resulted in somewhat more climbed meters than planned for. At the top many of the trees were dead, all the bark had disappeared, and they looked ghostly white.

Again today there were a lot of Japanese walkers. Some were already coming down as I was beginning to go up! They told me that they camped on the mountain. I also met some starting the climb as I was descending. They had started in Koyasan this morning (where I head tomorrow) and would walk as far as they could, before camping.

The ladies above were admiring the tree below and asked where I came from and about the weather in Denmark. The lady on the right, told everybody that passed that I lived in Denmark. I asked if it was OK to take their picture, but it doesn’t look like the lady on the left thought it was a great idea.

There weren’t many foreigners, a couple of English ladies, a guy with a Japanese girlfriend , and the French guy I had briefly said hello to on day 3, as I started this route. He doesn’t speak any English, or any other language than French, but said he managed OK.

He was relieved to find somebody he could speak to! He had walked the Ohechi route along the coast, and the two legs of the Nakahechi route, that I will do in a few days time, and is now walking to Koyasan. He sleeps in schools and peoples garages. He did Shikoku 88 last year, a month before I did. He is 66 years old, and spends most of his time and money walking. I think he had 3 teeth left in his mouth. He told me he walked very slowly and very carefully, as he had no idea what would happen, if he got injured!

The pictures above are taken at 1340 m, the highest point. A group of 6 Japanese arrived in the opposite direction, and were so happy that they had made it to the top.

There were many trees that had fallen during the storm last year, and that one had to climb over, also there were many small and larger rocks on the paths near the top.

The descent was relatvely easy and I was at the village of the hotel at 14.00, a five and a half hour walk, including a 15 min lunch break with rice balls – it was too cold (12 degrees) to sit any longer. The map says 6-8 hours, without the detour.

At the village I realised that the hotel was still 2 kms away, so there was still some walking to do. I later met the group from Estonia in the onsen bath, they had managed to arrange a lift from the village. I needed something sweet when I got to the hotel, so I bought two bars of chocolate!

There is a shrine outside the hotel, so after the hot bath, I went outside to have a look – just as it started raining. According to the weather forecast there is 100% chance that I will walk in rain tomorrow.

I am staying in a Japanese room with futon on the floor to sleep on. Outside my window is a river and a waterfall!

And now to dinner. I evidently ordered a 13 course dinner. Below is what I got and the order I was supposed to eat them. The translation is thanks to the hotel.

1. Sesame tofu – white bowl bottom middle of picture. I’ve actually come to quite like tofu.

2. Five appetizers- bottom right – including duck, plum and beans, plus more.

3. Sliced raw river fish “Amago” – above the appetizer in a green and white dish – the slices are  to be dipped into the vinegar bean paste, that is partly visible bottom right.

4. Pickled river fish “Amago” – in the blue and white bowl above the tofu, with pickled vegetables on top of the fish.

5. Grilled river fish “Amago” – on the white rectangular plate. Difficult to eat with chopsticks, I always end up using my fingers.

6. Potato manjyu with liquid arrowroot starch – red bowl in the middle. This tasted very god.

7. Poached river fish “Amago” – in the foil – poached with butter, onion and lemon.

8. Vegetable tempura – on the left.

9. Natural boar stew – in the middle – a dish consisting of boar and vegetables that are cooked at the table.

10. Wild vegetable kamameshi – rice cooked with vegetables and herbs. Also cooked at the table. It takes 25 mins, at which time the burner burns out. You are given strict instructions not to lift the lid until the burner goes out. Top left of picture. This comes at the end, so you eat as much as you can until you are almost full up.

11. Clear broth soup, black bowl on the right.

12. Three types of pickled vegetables, white bowl, below the rice.

13. Dessert- a pudding like arrowroot cake. Looked like two gelled ice cubes, and tasted pretty much the same.

Rounded off with green tea. It was an excellent meal, but pretty much the same one gets everywhere, so it is getting a bit boring.

Bon appetite!

I walked almost 18 km, with 1,164 m in ascent and 807 in descent. I burnt 1850 calories, but probably took those onboard again with two bars of chocolate.

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