We are nearing the end of our travels on the sacred pilgrimage to Ise Grand Shrine. We’ve left the mountains between Nara and Mie behind and now we follow the Ise Honkaido along the Kushidagawa River and into the beautiful Mie countryside. Along the way, we saw many interesting things ranging from a striking gorge to a beautiful field of flowers.
See here for the other entries of our Ise Honkaido series.
Ise Honkaido 11: Yokono to Taki
Today, we resume our journey and will over another 20 km from Yokono to Taki Station along Kushidagawa RiverNational Route 166!
After taking a bus for almost an hour from Matsusaka Station, we arrived at Yokono. As a rare treat the Lawson near the station gave us a rare opportunity to stock up a little before we set out. The buses run once an hour here, so getting back to Yokono was “convenient” in terms of the places we’ve been on the Ise Honkaido. However, again we had a severe lack of signs to indicate our route. We’ve said this often before but it bears repeating: should you ever take this road you must have a map with you! Google alone is not enough!
Shortly after Yokono, Ise Honkaido goes through a little community called Fukano. Fukano is famous for not only producing traditional Japanese paper but is also the birthplace of Matsusaka beef. Along with Tajima (Kobe) beef and Omi beef, Matsusaka beef is some of the best beef in the country!. Sadly, we did see any livestock grazing– just a stone marker 10 minutes north of the trail indicating this is the birthplace of Matsusaka beef. I heard there is a beautiful terraced ricefield 15 minutes away from this stone marker, but sadly we didn’t have time to go as we’d just started walking!
Near a little post town called Oishi Juku is Oishi Fudo-in. This temple is a rather large temple and is famous is for a natural habitat for mukaderan, a kind of climbing orchid. (It was sadly not in season when we were there.)
Also, right around Oishi Fudo-in is a little ravine along the Kushidagawa River called Kahada-kyo. Kahada-kyo is a famous gorge and has many nearby recreational activities including kayaking and camping. The rocks along the riverside are very interesting as well. There are so many different kinds and formations! That might sound dull to some, but it really amazing to look at them!
In Oishi, we were graced with a large supermarket and convenience store! It is quite surprising to have a supermarket in such a remote area, but I guess given that there is decent traffic on 166, it is maybe quite natural to have at least one supermarket here.
Tsuru no Watashi – Ohka
Tsuru no Watashi on the Kushidagawa River and the Miyagawa were once the hardest and most dangerous rivers on the Ise Honkaido. Today, the flow of the Kushidagawa River has slowed and is a rather small river with a concrete bridge, so you may even realize it was such a dangerous place. However, given the nearby mountains, I can clearly see how the waters could get very rough. After this river is Taki Town and the trail will continue to follow the Kushidagawa River.
We found a random field of flowers during our Ise Honkaido. We couldn’t find any website about this field, but I assume it is a community cosmos garden. It just seems too nice to be a free community garden though!
Gradually the small countryside roads gave way to more and more houses the closer we got to Ohka.
Ohka is another post town on Ise Honkaido. There are several interesting things around here includingMatsukasa Mochi, a famous mochi store. Sadly when we went there the store was closed, so we bought another famous souvenir from Ohka, candied sweet fish! This choice turned out perfect as it was so really tasty, especially with rice.
We also stopped by Izawa, a historic district located on the opposite shore of the Kushidagawa River from Ohka. Many wealthy merchants once lived in Izawa and there are still some old mansions left.
Ohka – Taki
There is a JR station Near Ohka (the JR Ohka Station) however, trains come only once every two hours! But, just another 3km down is the Taki, where there is much more frequent service to Matsusakas, where you can change lines for Nagoya and Osaka.
There are not so many things along the way, but it is definitely a nice walk in through the countryside to Taki.
After the community bus stop at Higashi Ikegami, we arrived at Taki Station just 10 minutes later. All in all, we walked 6 hours from Yokono! From Taki, it is only three stations to Matsusaka and from Matsuaka it is only an hour and a half to Osaka and Nagoya. It is amazing how close you feel to Osaka if you take trains, but we walked more than 100km from Osaka!
In our next post, we will finally arrive at Ise Grand Shrine!!