A Travellerspoint blog

Kumano Kodo

Day 4 and 5

sunny 17 °C
View Japan 2023 on Pepperismybaby's travel map.

Day 4 was a much easier stretch after yesterday's long haul and all the ups and downs. It also seemed to be the most popular section of the walk and I met lots of internationals and Japanese walking it. My back was feeling a bit shot in the morning - I slept on four futons but the pillow felt fill of bean bag beans and I woke up with a sore back and ribs. I'm not sure how that worked.

I left the accommodation behind and waited at the bus stop with 3 Germans and their baby. At least the baby belonged to two of them - she was about 9 or 10 months old and very sweet. I congratulated their friend on travelling with a little one. He said 'it's ok, I'm a deep sleeper". Over breakfast we'd been talking about German parental leave and I told them how good it was. Twelve months at 60% your income for the previous 12 months and the right to stay home for 3 years. Certainly beats our conditions.

We got to the town of Ukegawa where the trailhead for Day 4 began. A Dutch couple and I stopped to look at a bantam and her chicks foraging by the roadside. The Dutch guy was worried they would wonder on to the road. "I said they'd only do it once". He looked at me in surprise " ah yes". The highlight of today's walk was a lookout where the highest point of the Kodo is. I'm not sure how that worked either because Day 5's walk was higher.

When I got to Koguchi, electioneering was in full swing. There were voices coming from loudspeakers extolling somebody's virtues. I mimed talking through a loudspeaker to an old man and he laughed. Someone told me prefectural elections were on and there were billboards with politicians smiling faces - very few women and a lot of men.

The young woman who owned the accommodation at Koguchi picked me up in her car. I had to ring from the phone box in the village - its been a long time since I used a phone box. I found her the most interesting of all the hosts because she was the youngest and a remote country area seemed an unlikely spot to live in. The house had been her grandmother's and her father had helped her renovate it. I was surprised that even though it was in the country, it had all the electronics you would expect in town. When we drove up there was a mini tanker by the neighbours house- very mini - and she said it was for toilet cleaning. I wrote "septic tank" in Google Translate and she said yes. So I was surprised to find one of the modern electric toilets inside the house. She set the bath running for me - she did this on her phone - and told me to listen out for the alarm in the kitchen. All very high tech.

I was curious about the neighbours and asked if they farmed. She said they used to but not any more. Its not economical so many have jobs in town. I went for a walk later and could see how small the landholdings were - about the size of a Kiwi section. Most of the neighbours were elderly - this seems to be the same for the countryside all over Japan. When I was waiting for the previous day, three old chaps on mobility scooters came trundling past me, nodded and then stopped to have a chat with each other.

Once I'd talked to my host a bit longer I realised she was older than I first thought. She'd lived in Osaka for 12 years and then travelled to Europe. The day I left was her day off, she said, and she was headed to her home town of Kii-Katsuura "to see friends and drink sake" I'm sure there's a story there.

The futon at Koguchi was great - supportive and very cosy.

Day 5 - I got a lift with my host to the trailhead at Ogumotori-goe. On the way we spotted a young woman with a backpack. We stopped and asked if she wanted a lift. Turned out she was a Kiwi - the first one I'd met since the flight from Auckland. She was very chatty but much younger and fitter than me. She took off and I didn't see her again till near the end of the walk.

They said today was long and demanding - I thought they were over egging it. But no - the first couple of hours was hard going - on and on, ever upwards. It took 2 hours to get to the first pass of 800 metres and another half an hour to reach the second pass. Still I was pleased to reach Nachisan in 6 hours - which included an hour of stops. The trail guide said it was 8 hours but the German trio and I agreed the times they quote are very slow.

Nachisan, the town at the end of the Kumano Kodo is very pretty, probably the most attractive on the trail, but I was a bit over it by then. An ice cream, a bottle of fizzy and the bus to my accommodation at Kii-Katsuura was all I wanted.

I've been pleasantly surprised by the accommodation. Tonight Im in a Japanese style boarding house. The reviews of this place have all been terrible and so I wasn't expecting much, but its been quite good. I was offered a shower and bath as soon as I arrived which was great. There are no showers in the morning though. Kii-Katsuura is a gritty little fishing town - not that prosperous looking. Every second shop is a fish shop. Bleugh.

Dinner was well-presented, just not what I wanted. I told the guy I didn't want fish. Guess what I got? Fish and more fish. He kept telling me what it was - stomach of tuna, some Japanese fish, some other part of a fish. The smell made me heave - even the miso smelt fishy. I didn't eat any of the fish - just the rice and vegetables. And I made the mistake of ordering plum wine - it came out in a mug and was horribly sweet. I didnt finish it.

The guy is nice though - I kept wearing the wrong sandals in the wrong place. He chased after me "Mari-san, Mari-san, outdoor slippers" and gave me indoor ones. I couldn't tell the difference myself. And then he saw the slippers on the tatami mat in my room (I am.in a 4.5 tatami mat room, about the size of a small bedroom). "No, no slippers go here" and he put them on the wooden floor by the door. On top of that there are the toilet slippers. I often forget to put them on and keep wearing the room slippers.

Now I just have to lay out my futon and hope I get a good night's sleep.

OMG this place is slipping in my estimation. There is no insulation at all and the guy next door snoring sounds like he's in my room. Plus I can hear all the noise from downstairs. 😔

Not forgetting toilet slippers

Not forgetting toilet slippers

The final leg of the Kumano - onwards and upwards

The final leg of the Kumano - onwards and upwards

Farmhouse at Koguchi

Farmhouse at Koguchi

This was in the old farmhouse at Koguchi. One thing I've noticed is that Japanese houses often have really large sinks

This was in the old farmhouse at Koguchi. One thing I've noticed is that Japanese houses often have really large sinks

My living room in the old farmhouse at Koguchi. The young woman was adamant that she only wanted one guest at a time

My living room in the old farmhouse at Koguchi. The young woman was adamant that she only wanted one guest at a time

I spotted these ferns today - I thought they were rather pretty

I spotted these ferns today - I thought they were rather pretty

The corridor in the old farmhouse at Koguchi. I loved the old wood alhough I wondered how warm it would be in the winter

The corridor in the old farmhouse at Koguchi. I loved the old wood alhough I wondered how warm it would be in the winter

I know how this guy felt "this route is very rough and difficult; it is impossible to describe how tough it is"

I know how this guy felt "this route is very rough and difficult; it is impossible to describe how tough it is"

The old farmhouse at Koguchi. I live how Japanese houses have outdoor slippers (like crocs) and indoor slippers.

The old farmhouse at Koguchi. I live how Japanese houses have outdoor slippers (like crocs) and indoor slippers.

20230418_065057

20230418_065057

20230418_064625

20230418_064625

20230418_101118

20230418_101118

More forestry slash - I wouldn't want to be in the middle of this during an earthquake or flash flood

More forestry slash - I wouldn't want to be in the middle of this during an earthquake or flash flood

The waterfall at Nachi - it looked pretty but I was too tired to walk up to it

The waterfall at Nachi - it looked pretty but I was too tired to walk up to it

A temple at Nachisan

A temple at Nachisan

The three story pagoda at Nachisan. Looked pretty but again I was a bit tired to stop and look.

The three story pagoda at Nachisan. Looked pretty but again I was a bit tired to stop and look.

The unisex bathroom which is open to the corridor.  I'm going to try to use the basin opposite my room tomorrow

The unisex bathroom which is open to the corridor. I'm going to try to use the basin opposite my room tomorrow

View from the window in Kii-Katsuura. I don't think there's much money in this town

View from the window in Kii-Katsuura. I don't think there's much money in this town

The semi-public urinal. Not for the shy. There's a unisex women's and men's toilet area. Thank god I have a little single toilet across the hallway

The semi-public urinal. Not for the shy. There's a unisex women's and men's toilet area. Thank god I have a little single toilet across the hallway

Kii-Katsuura port - lots of fishing boats which explains all the fish shops

Kii-Katsuura port - lots of fishing boats which explains all the fish shops

Main street of Kii-Katsuura - spot the fish decorations

Main street of Kii-Katsuura - spot the fish decorations

The dreaded fish dinner - more bits of fish than I want to see for a long time

The dreaded fish dinner - more bits of fish than I want to see for a long time


These billboards were all over Koguchi township. Politicians looking to be elected - 15 men and only 2 women

These billboards were all over Koguchi township. Politicians looking to be elected - 15 men and only 2 women

Posted by Pepperismybaby 12:01 Archived in Japan

Email this entryFacebookStumbleUpon

Table of contents

Comments

I so love your style of humor and writing. The slipper issue is to die for, I never knew these things are so important! :) :)

by Ils1976

This blog requires you to be a logged in member of Travellerspoint to place comments.

Login