The last leg of the trail! Another large elevation change, another large distance.
We woke up in Totuskawa Onsen and had more beautiful views of the river and some scarecrows before heading up to the trailhead. We could not have asked for better weather, the rain ponchos and heat packs from day 1 of the hike were a distant memory at this point.
If you look very closely at the cherry blossom tree, you can see tiny green birds inside; they are uguisu. The same kind that came to my balcony a few weeks ago that have a popular sweet designed after them. I took this as an exceptionally good omen.
The map charts the elevation changes and distance we covered over the last 4 days of the Kohechi trail. It almost didn’t make sense to look at, how had we come so far?
On the way down we get more beautifully coloured water and mountain views. Another wonderful alcohol vending machine, this one special because it houses empty cans as opposed to the typical images of the can. Must be a nice job.
Far off in the distance you can see the tori gate, it is the largest in all of Japan and was surreally perfect against the hazy rolling hills in the background. We finished at a beautiful temple at dusk and got a closer look at the tori gate. That’s it, we did it!
On to our last lodging. This is another onsen town with amazing private onsens. The views from our room of the cherry blossom trees were unreal, I cannot believe our luck. Dinner was elaborate and delicious and varied and I could eat there forever.
In the bottom left picture, you can see a wooden gate beside the boiling river. This is where food can be steamed and cooked, as was our hard steamed egg for breakfast in the right hand picture.
It was weird and bizarre going back to Osaka to fly back to Fukuoka. It was one of the most beautiful and challenging hikes and experiences I have ever had and now we need to plan our next one.