Hiking the Kohechi Pilgrimage Trail: Day 2

For our second leg of the trip we woke up in Omata, went over Obakotoge Pass, and finished at Miura-guchi.

For the start of our second day, we emerged well fed and to better weather. Still a little cloudy but not too bad. This hike as well wasn’t that challenging. But without question the most snow we had the whole time.

Some earth angel has invested in this property on the mountain so we were able to have lunch hidden away from the wind which was very much appreciated. It got a bit colder before it got warmer.

At the peak, you can perhaps get a sense of the weather. You can see the wind marks form along the ice on the branches.

We stayed at a very, very remote lodging with some interesting interior decor. The food was absolutely incredible and it was very cozy. A good place to rest up before the most difficult and longest hike that was coming up the following day.

Here is day 2 hiking course on Yamap!

Hiking the Kohechi Pilgrimage Trail: Day 1

We began the Kohechi trail at Koyasan, made our way over the Mizugamine Pass and onto Omata. It poured rain the whole day but luckily we were very prepared and honestly, mountains are always quite beautiful when they are foggy.

This was definitely the easiest day, theoretically. It was hard because we both had new backpacks, at least 15L larger than what we were used to carrying. Of course the weather made it a little challenging but it was very beautiful.

We were very lucky and didn’t run into too many wild animals but did find quite a number of skulls. March is still much too early for hibernating bears, right?

As with every hike in the world, the sun came out as we finished our 17km first day and we stayed at a charming lodging where we were promptly driven to soak in the onsen baths to regroup for the next day.

Here is day 1 on Yamap!

Adventures in Koyosan・高野山

Vacation! What better way to relax than walking 75+km over 5 days? This was the longest I had been away from my laptop in a long time, by a huge amount. My friend and I went to Koyosan, an incredibly special area south east of Osaka. It is famous for being the birthplace of zen Buddhism and its pilgrimage hikes, one of which we did. This was my second time in the area, I went in the summer of 2020 for a temple stay and really fell hard in love, but it was even better this time.

The first day we walked around the town and relaxed as much as possible. We stayed at a beautiful temple that had an onsen (hot spring bath). Unsurprisingly, I found sweets immediately. Counter-clockwise from the top there is kinako walnut mochi, white sesame tofu pudding, and red bean namagashi styled to mimic the first sakura falling among the snow.

All the food served was breathtaking and vegetarian, called shojin ryori, it is Buddhist cuisine and I absolutely adored it. The place was truly like stepping out of reality.

Koyosan is also home to one of the largest cemeteries in Japan. We walked along and took in the atmosphere, soaked in onsen and got ready for our pilgrimage hike the next day.

Tugi: March edition

Another beautiful Tugi moment. Even though it consistently delivers some of the most exquisite tasting and interesting sweets imaginable, their attention to every detail should not go unnoticed. The box always has beautiful decorative elements and tucked into it is always their menu. In case you forget, you can re-read what the flavour profile of your sweets or get excited for next time.

On the left was a slightly savoury and citrusy castella sweet with lots of herbs, it was truly unlike anything else I have tried. Similarly inventive was the white one is red bean paste mixed with strawberry paste and white grape bean paste. This one was really shocking, in a great way, I loved it so much.

Souvenirs

More souvenirs・お土産・ōmiyage from one of my favourite shops Baien・梅園 in Dazaifu. The little yellow mountain is a yorotsuyo which is made out of eggs, gelatin and sweetener then dried. I cannot think of a single other thing with the same texture, I really love it and get one every time I am there. The white one with the tori gate and flowers is a super smooth red bean paste sandwiched between light wafers. Very fun snacks, and the shop owners are some of the nicest around.

A White Chocolate Renaissance

I feel like I’ve eaten more white chocolate in the last month than I have in the last 5 years. It’s so much better than I remember it! I got this very inspired daifuku while I was hiking in Dazaifu and brought it home with me. It’s hōjicha (toasted green tea) flavoured bean paste with a soft, sweet ball of white chocolate in the center. Worth doing another round of hiking in Dazaifu to have again, no question, it was absolutely phenomenal.

All Time Best Trio?

This is from Tugi! It was a special limited edition set for White Day, a very unique commercial holiday in Japan that thankfully brings lots of sweets.

These were the best? Of all? I couldn’t get over how good they were. Let’s take a closer look.

From right to left: ハート・Heart- coarse red bean paste & marscapone, 春のかおり・Spring Fragrance- it is a miniature sakura mochi with pickled leaf wrapped in a namagashi, I truly screamed this was the best thing I have ever, ever eaten , & 苺ちゃん・Strawberry Child- a tiny fresh strawberry covered with white chocolate infused white bean paste and sweet sticky mochi.

I called back to order another round but unsurprisingly they sold out and my life will never be the same.

Flower Season

New matcha day! This is from a family run shop near me. It’s maybe in between the other 2 most recent matcha powders I have bought. This is a sakura yōkan dorayaki・桜羊羹どら焼き that consists of jellied sakura and bean paste wrapped inside of a cute pancake. It was lovely and nice.

After work I usually go out for a walk to detach a bit and I often take a green path behind my place. There was so many beautiful magnolia trees I had to come back in the daylight so really see them.