Aside from the low whirr of a nearby vending machine and the occasional passing vehicle, last nights camping under Ashizuri hut was a success.
After disbanding camp, the trail almost immediately dips into another sleepy fishing village where the only movement came from the 7.30 am bus trundling through the narrow streets.
Upon leaving the village you reach a newly built junction and tunnel which isn’t even on Google Maps yet. The henro sign points left along the coastal road but actually you should carry on towards the tunnel and then turn left into the woods shortly before its mouth.
The trail through the forest cuts off the corner before rejoining the main road and then entering Nakanohama town.
Walking through the streets I came across a large warehouse with smoke billowing out of its windows. Looking inside there were huge vats boiling some sort of fish. A local man told me it was for making ramen broth, and upon hearing that I was from the UK said he’d once sailed through Gibraltar.
I’ve noticed that many households hang onions and garlic cloves over their front porch, presumably grown in their own gardens and fields. People also leave bags of surplus fruit and vegetables in small boxes along the main roads that others can buy for 100 yen or so.
After another woodland detour, I entered Tosa-Shimizu city around 10 am passing colourful boats in the harbour. I stopped at a convenience store to use their wifi to upload yesterday’s post and shortly later none other than Y-san arrived!
It’s become a bit of a running joke that we keep meeting at Lawson’s and, as we sat chatting outside, a young guy came out and handed us each a bottle of drink as osettai. We thanked him and took a few photos, it was a very kind gesture on such a hot day.
Y-san is taking a different route than me from now on so I doubt we’ll bump into each other again but you never know. On parting ways, we shook hands and exchanged name slips.
On my way out of the city, I bought a bento lunch box of fried chicken with rice and found a spot overlooking the coast to eat it.
At Mejika-no-sato michi-no-eki I stopped for ice cream and found another great henro hut which has a platform that would be suitable for sleeping on. I don’t think I’d want to sleep outside without a tent though as you’d be eaten alive by insects.
A short distance later at Tatsukushi Minokoshi (竜串見残し) you can take the Shikoku-no-michi trail along the shore over another geological wonder.
Sandstone and mudstone have been deposited in alternating layers and wave erosion has created unique rocks which look a bit like bamboo trees lying on their side!
There was a nice campsite nearby but, without any clean clothes and a looming dark sky overhead, decided against it.
The final 8km was a bit of a boring slog along the coastal road through many long tunnels, although for a change they had raised sidewalks. I arrived at the small minshuku I booked around 4.30 pm and was relieved to find that it was a good one.
Tomorrow I’ll be saying goodbye to the coast and my goal is to reach Sukumo (宿毛市) come rain or shine. If you’re following the guidebook, that’s route E (the longest).
Distance walked: 40 km / 50,200 steps
Temples visited: None
Overnight lodgings: Kanaesaki (平林渡船民宿) – Minshuku