Kiinagashima Manbo michi no eki
Wake on a dry morning in, Kiinagashima Manbo michi no eki which has rather pleasant grounds. There is large pond/sea inlet? with a wooden bridge and, on the walkway around the water, spotted a couple of Jobitaki, some Mejiro and grey wagtails. Not surprising, but pleasant on an early morning walk in T-shirt weather.
Miyama michi no eki
After a drive of around an hour, we pull in to another road station where one of the Kumano Kodo (Ise-ji) trails begins. At the road station (michi no eki Miyama), they make onigiri for us and provide boiled eggs and tea. Thus provisioned, we make for the kodo –Magose Toge.
Magose Toge – Magose Pass 馬越峠
This requires a walk along the main road, for a few hundred meters, to the entrance to the kodo and, immediately, we start to climb out of the valley floor.
The trail is paved with large, uneven stones making for a very unstable footing. Sometimes, these form rough steps which are not difficult but, most of the way is sharply inclined, rough paving. Given the torrential rain of the previous night and the dense sugi/cypress forest, the stones are very wet and exceedingly slippery.
At times, the way is almost like walking up a shallow stream bed. The path is too steep, too slippery and too dangerous to allow for much enjoyment of the scenery, which for the most part, anyway, is dense forest.
We cross the occasional stream, cascading down the mountain, as opposed to the shallow, temporary one we are walking up. Once or twice the ascent flattens out and gives respite from the constant attention each footstep requires and we can afford to view the surrounding peaks.
Eventually, we arrive at the top of the toge/pass and find a relatively dry bench in the sunshine to enjoy our lunch. Various people suddenly appear, as if from nowhere – they have arrived from the other direction or down from the peak. everyone stresses that you must be careful not to slip. (We forego heading on up to the peak. Perhaps a mistake as the view is apparently, very good.)
To carry on down the other side, to Owase, would be a shorter descent but, then we would have to wait for an infrequent bus to get back to the car. So, we decide to retrace our steps. Almost at the bottom, D. slips but, thankfully, no serious damage. Back at the road station, we catch our breath. The round trip took about 2 and a half hours.
Kihoucho Umigame Koen and Nachi michi no eki
Moving on, we arrive at Kihoucho Umigame Koen michi no eki, adjacent to a sea turtle beach. Here we buy some mikan (mandarin oranges). Then, after getting dinner in Aeon in Shingu, we reach Nachi our overnight michi no eki a little after 5pm. This michi no eki has an onsen. The bath is nothing special but, after our morning climb in very high humidity and temperatures around 20 degrees, the bath and change of clothes is a delight.
The author is a long term resident of Japan who has and continues to travel the country extensively. Avoiding highways where possible, the author has driven from Kagoshima in Kyushu to Wakanai in Hokkaido covering 20,000 plus kilometres and counting.