Our day started with a lively breakfast at our minshuku in Yunomine. After breakfast we gave our hosts an Australian animal 2017 calendar to thank them. This of course led our hostess to reciprocate by giving us a Japanese bandana in return.
We met travelling companion Colin on the way to the bus stop. Lots of walkers and others clambered on. Along the way we passed two of the other onsen towns. At Ukegawa our driver was kind enough to go past the bus stop and drop all the walkers at the trailhead. (Later on we realised this meant we missed the place to stamp our Pilgrim passports.) Started with a walk past the houses of a few locals before a steep step climb then into the rhythm of a continued climb for quite a while. Some of the trail was quite smooth
The trail continued up and down but mostly up for some time. The sound of running water made it a peaceful walk. From time to time we crossed small wooden bridges and could see some of the small streams.
After another 1.4kms we came to a shrine area with an outstanding viewpoint so we stopped for a few photos. It was called Hyakken-gura lookout.
At about the halfway point the trail met a forestry road with public toilets so we took the chance while we had it. The view from nearby was quite good too so we sat down for a snack.
As we resumed we seemed to be walking along a ridge part and the trail was smooth and well treed. At one of the many tea house ruins there was a shelter with tables and seats so we stopped for lunch. In our lunch pack there was a large leaf enclosing four rice balls of various flavours and then a bamboo leaf bento box with an assortment of other items. Some really delicious but a few of the pickled vegetables didn’t appeal.
Not long after, a view down to where we presumed our destination Koguchi was, provided a photo opportunity.
The trail now went through an area with lots of ferns along its edges beneath the many tall cedar and cypress trees.
The village below came into view again as the trail descended.
Sometimes the trail was well stepped but other sections were large rocks covered in moss and very slippery. Just as well we had our poles for balance and support. From time to time we also passed stone pillars which had poems inscribed on them.
The uneven mossy rocks made the downhill going quite tricky. At times we used the edge of the trail and walked in dirt or mud to avoid the rocks. My right knee was giving me quite a bit of pain by now on the mostly downhill sections.
Finally we came to the river we had seen from high above. As we crossed it we spotted a few keen fishermen.
From there we actually went through a short tunnel in the hill.
On the other side our destination, the converted high school building at Koguchi, came into view.
I asked the kitchen staff for some ice to put on my aching knee which they were able to give me. Sat down for a while icing my knee with a towel wrapped around it until water started to drip.
Karen had gone for a bath. On her return I also went and had a good soaping and brief shower before enjoying a massive bath all to myself. Very soothing. Dinner at six o’clock was a noisy affair as there were twenty walkers from Japan, Spain, USA as well as several other Aussies. Beautiful food as we have come to expect at dinner time in all the places we have stayed. The tempura was especially wonderful.
After sitting in the lounge area using the wifi for a while we headed to our room. Sleep on the thin futon mattress finally came.