It’s rare for me to get a good nights sleep in a tent but the previous night was just about perfect. Not humid, not cold, no morning dew and the sound of the waves to gently lull us to sleep.
After packing our things we ate the bread I’d bought from Family Mart for breakfast then set off; Chen by bus and me on foot.
At the end of the beach, the trail leaves the road and heads upwards into the woods, passing an abandoned hotel before reaching a viewpoint with an appropriately stunning outlook.
The shady trail takes you all the way to Wakamiya Shrine (若宮神社) at the foot of the hills before spitting you out onto the sea wall behind Doze Beach (道瀬海岸).
The coast soon gives way to Miura-toge Pass (三浦峠) that winds its way inland for 2.2km. You couldn’t ask for a nicer way to begin the day.
We regrouped at Minose Station (三野瀬駅) where we posted most of our camping gear back home since we wouldn’t be needing it again on this trip. There is much to be said about the wonders of the Japanese postal system but I’ll leave that for another day.
Feeling as light as a feather, we began the trek over the 2.1km Hajikami-toge Pass (始神峠), skirting a hydroelectric power station on the way up with an enormous pipe pinned to the side of the mountain.
After reaching the top, we took the longer Meiji Road at the crossroads down to a small lake. You couldn’t ask for a more tranquil hike in better weather.
It was around 11.30 am once we finished the pass and walked a little further to a roadside restaurant. Veil Part 2 (ベール PART2) was a real 1980s affair run by a friendly old couple who were very concerned whether I would be able to handle chopsticks. I ate a hamburg steak (ハンバーグ) lunch set from the same decade.
Chen took the bus once again to the next mountain pass while I walked about 8km along the road. This was pretty monotonous but there were a few nice old villages along the way. Passing a school I saw a bunch of kids doing a synchronised display on unicycles set to music. It was quite impressive!
We met again at Michi-no-Eki Miyama (道の駅海山), a roadside rest area, where I ate an ice cream before we head out to tackle the last pass for the day; the Magose-toge Pass (馬越峠).
While the pass tops out at a little over 400m, I took the side trail up to the peak of Mt. Tengurasan (天狗倉山) (522m). Although it was an overcast day, the views from the top were worth the extra effort. Reaching the absolute peak required climbing a ladder up a huge boulder which was exciting too!
Coming down was an exercise in extreme concentration, owing to the need to avoid slipping on the ancient stone paving which clads much of the trail.
The trail exits through a solum cemetery overlooking Owase (尾鷲市). We made it down by 5 pm and then walked for about 20 minutes to our accommodation.
The minshuku was a bit disappointing since our room smelled of smoke and the food was nothing to get excited about. It seemed more geared towards construction workers needing a place to stay the night but we couldn’t really grumble after having such a great day.