Day 1: Taneichi to Samurai no Yu

After taking the usual 7:12 train from Hachinohe, I arrived in Taneichi for a leisurely conbini breakfast while perusing the trail map. Or rather, it was supposed to be that, and ended up being a leisurely breakfast while tallying up everything I had forgotten to bring.

Things I had forgotten to bring:

How impressive is that? If you're smart enough to remember even one of these two things, you might be able to make do, but I had managed to forget both! I made a half-hearted attempt at a nearby supermarket, but that opened at 9. Clearly, I could not wait until 9. That was impossible. I forged ahead, to a future of looking like I had fallen asleep against a space heater.

After I had gotten the stupidest decision of the day over with, I turned south at the cute shops, went straight, and turned left at the sign (pictured) to see the crazy vats for raising sea urchins and the Hirono Marine Products Center "Uni-q" (Japanese pun!). Note that the sign on the sea urchin area says 立ち入り禁止 which means no trespassing. Look all you want, but from outside that fence. "Uni-q" was not yet completely open but part of the building was, so you can pop in to use the bathrooms.

Continue south to Taneichi Seaside Park, which (by the way) charges 1,000 yen per night for putting up a tent. Before you continue on the trail, wander down a little further south to search for "Window Rock." I want to put up a picture of Window Rock, but I think it's more fun for you to search for it. It will make itself known. "Tada! Here I am! I'm Window Rock!"

Then, pop through the big opening in the seawall, turn left, and continue south on the 247.

There are a couple lefts and rights. You might find the following right turn confusing because of the bitty marker and because it is *not* unpaved, despite what the map says.

As usual, everyone's garden was lovely. There was also a tiny blue flower that was blooming everywhere to replace the orange flowers and big blue chrysanthemums that had been around during my last trip.

I got even more confused when the stretch of unpaved road that supposedly continued until Shukunohe station according to map ended almost as soon as it began. Don't worry: the map lies. I guess this area got paved.

I stopped for a small, very finely crafted sign telling the local "myoga" (Japanese ginger) thief to thieve that ginger no more, because they were on tape! Sincerely, the land owner.
See how that triangle and that parallelogram shape work together, and the nice white paint on a black background? Who is this person? Or, should I just stop pretending I'm not making assumptions and say, who is this 70 year old woman wearing quietly refined minimalist clothing and raising myoga in her spare time?

Anyway: Japanese ginger aside, I went past some logs for growing mushrooms, past Shukunohe fishing port, and followed the road as it veered to the right. Don't forget to look in those ponds at the koi fish swimming around.

Heading west, I passed by some malnourished looking cats that according to their "owner" were feral but eating food she was putting out, making them not feral, and yet apparently still not fit to be properly taken care of.
Can I just pause for a moment here and say something? If you feed some "wild" cats, but don't take them to the vet to treat their skin condition or figure out why they look close to starvation, that is called being negligent. And when those cats breed because you couldn't be bothered to fix them, that is called bringing more suffering into the world. People who just put out kibbles are not cat lovers.

Fortunately, later I met a happy spoiled little kitty who was totally being babied, so look forward to that.

Annnnyway, I'll get off my high horse. A lovely gal caught me looking at my map from the second floor of her house, and proceeded to open her window to call down to me. "Where did you walk from? Where are you going?" The Shiokaze trail is amazing. People know about it, and call down to you from second floor windows like you're close neighbors or something. I don't think anyone has ever addressed me from a second floor window, let alone in Japan, home of the shrinking violet.

I told her, then asked: "Do you know where a restaurant is near here?" It was getting near lunchtime. "Just go down to the main road, it's right there!"
I thanked her, and continued on, only to have her reopen the window and call down to me again. "I think that restaurant's closed today!"

Sure enough, restaurant "Friendly" was closed for the day. May "Friendly" be open for you, dear reader. May you feast on the seafood ramen and sea urchin rice bowl that I was hoping for. I had no choice but to move on after taking several pictures of the army of scarecrows guarding the rice field to the left.

The first sake/salt/various household goods store I ducked into to try and get lunch was an interesting experience. Let's say some of the products were getting a little up in years. But the guy at the counter was friendly, and honest with me that the bread I was trying to purchase was actually past its expiration date, but actually he thought it might be OK, but now that he checked the other side of the bread it appeared the bread was growing mold, so on second thought: I probably shouldn't eat the bread. And here is what kills me: he then smiled at me all friendly-like, and said, "sorry bout that," in this very calm, collected "My bread is growing things. Ain't life funny?" sort of way.
And for that, he is the best. You should go to this store and give this guy some business. Just buy some senbei, that never goes bad. Or alcohol.

After you have bought canned foods or whatever else appears edible from the Best Store Owner, continue on to the next store, which is either called Big in 29 or Tenderness (doesn't matter because both names are equally confusing) and has a much wider selections of things that could still be considered food. Owner of said store was so nice that he gave me a free cup of coffee with my sushi and noodles. There are lots of places to sit at the right side of the store and a hot water dispenser for cup o noodles. The music selection was a little eclectic though. One song was a woman instructing someone to "lick her lollipop."

After lunch, I kept moving south and discovered a man a ways ahead of me wearing a shirt the same loud orange as the one I was wearing (a souvenir from Hachinohe), holding a paper square that he checked regularly. In short, I had a doppelganger who was also on the Shiokaze trail. I began to compare myself with him. He was ahead of me, and probably knew the way better. At the very least, I should be able to keep up with him. I tried to hustle, but doppelganger lost me on one of the corners. I was the inferior version. (Or so I thought)

Doppelganger in distance
Pass the tiny Rikuchu-yagi station on the left, then hang a right up the hill before you cross the railroad tracks.

Mysterious oven thing in street

I couldn't find the "mouth of the dragon" as written on map. Possibly it's some kind of rock formation that looks like a dragon. This is one of the numbered points that is not actually on the trail, but close to it, kind of a side trip, so if you concentrate on following the trail you end up passing it by.

I only managed to find the detour route under #20. I think the normal route would be a sharp left up the hill after that first picture. Anyway, the detour was fine, too. There were quite a few construction trucks, but that shouldn't be a permanent thing. I even found a brown dipper in the stream I crossed.

Pass a post office and a couple more shops, then go up the steps to check out Nakanokumano Shrine. Go behind the main shrine to see the mysterious tinier shrines that are dotted all over the place.

The path takes a sharp turn and goes NE. The path will enter some woods and you'll see some seriously impressive mushroom farms.

Around this point, a woman in a kei truck pulled up right next to me and asked me if I was OK. She was holding the shiokaze map. I was impressed that she had it with her.
It turns out that the woman worked at a gas station called "Okubo," which is one of the Shiokaze stamp checkpoints. See, if you collect all the stamps from a certain section, you can get special pins that say you hiked that area. Unfortunately, the stamp checkpoints aren't listed on the maps, and it's enough for me just trying to find where the trail is, so I'd decided to ignore the checkpoints.

However, Okubo had already heard from a local who had *called* them letting them know that there was a foreign person wandering around with a map, and when I didn't show up, they got worried and tried to find me. I wanted to take a picture of the gal for remembrance's sake and for this blog, but she clucked and fluffed at her hair, so I didn't take anything. About ten minutes later, she and her mother (?) came back in another truck and gave me the Hirono pin. And then I got weepy.

Okubo gasoline stand. Drop by and give them a holler, and your business!

Go over the railroad tracks. I arrived just in time for the "Umineko" (seagull) to go by.

Go down the coastal road looking at the ocean. I should note that here, I ran into doppelganger. He was trying to get back to Okubo, but was lost. I tried (unsuccessfully) to show him where he was via Google maps. He did not bring a compass, which is why he was lost and I was not. Yes: I am the superior doppelganger.

OK, so here's the deal: you will come across a bridge. Or a thing that looks like a bridge. I'll start from the conclusion:
Sign to Shirataki falls
Sign telling you about "bridge"

Are you looking at this bridge at 4:30 pm with less than an hour of sunlight left? And do you plan to stay at Samurai no Yu?


If yes: do not cross bridge. Go see Shirataki, then backtrack until you reach Rikuchunakano station. Either take the train to Samuraihama station and get a taxi, or if you can't wait, call Kuji taxi at 0120523131 and have them pick you up at the station. You may be able to have Samurai no Yu pick you up at Samuraihama station, because they do have pickup service (with reservation)

If no: do not cross bridge. Go see Shirataki, and continue on the (steep) path and try to stay on the detour route. It was hard, and I didn't succeed in following it, but if you have extra time, you could swing it. Use Google maps and such to try and keep on it.

I say this because I went to see Shirataki, then walked all the way back, tried to cross river, failed partway, had to walk all the way back to Shirataki, got lost on the detour, and ended up calling a taxi to bring me to Samurai no Yu at 6 pm, because it was dark.

The bridge: it is as scary as it looks. It appears to have TAPE on it. The bridge takes you to an island that is made up of large rocks, weeds, brambly things, and other B.S. that is not a path. Once you have struggled across island, cursing all that is island, you will find a collection of mossy slippery looking rocks that you are supposed to be hopping to get to the other side. These rocks are the reason why you should not bother, because, and this is key: You can't tell from the bridge side whether the water is high or low enough on the rock side to justify trying to cross. Unless you hear otherwise from the Ministry of the Environment that they have replaced this crossing with something 90% less Indiana Jones, with 100% less tape, you should not think of it as an option.

"Don't do it, Indy! It's too dangerous!"

The nonsense on other side of island


Instead, you should head right to Shirataki. The path there has its share of slippery looking spots and suspicious large trees and rocks that have fallen over, but it is worth it for the *stunning* double falls with a statue (Kannon?) sitting on a dragon. You should not miss this. There's even a hanging bridge (no tape) so you can get a closer look.

For those of you looking to continue on the detour, there's a steep path to the right of Shirataki shrine. Go up that. You'll reach the main shrine (?). Keep going, checking where you are with smartphone map. I made it over the 45, got lost after that because my smartphone was dead, went back and tried to go south on the 45, only to find that it had no sidewalks. In the dark, no sidewalks, and lost, I took a taxi to Samurai no Yu.

 Spoiled, healthy local Hirono kitty tried to help me read maps, but he couldn't read. Instead, he licked me soothingly.

Samurai no Yu!  Restaurant with tasty food open til late, hot spring bath, affordable rooms. I ate the seafood ramen (Iso ramen, maybe 1000 yen) with cold local sake (reishu, I think 800 yen), plus mushrooms in butter (shitake bata yaki, 500 yen).7020 yen got me a room with an ocean view and a full breakfast.

Heaven. I retired to my room with the leftover sake to enjoy another dip in the hot springs and a nightcap. I fell asleep in bed watching "The Emperor's New Groove" on Youtube using the hotel's free (fast!) wifi.

1 件のコメント:

  1. Nice account. Maybe we could take the hike with you (and maybe Futo) sometime (minus the bridge, of course).