With a lot of googling, I'd found out a little information about this hike, but not very much. There was this blog, which was helpful and had the only map I found, but is 6 years old. Then there were mentions of it on various Visit Miyagi type tourism websites, but nothing concrete. I'm sure I'd have been able to find more information if my Japanese wasn't so awful, but as it was, it was a bit of a leap in the dark!! We managed to persuade our friend Amy to embark on this madness with us, and off the three of us went!
We got the train 20 minutes from our house, in the opposite direction from Sendai, to Okunikkawa (it's on the Senzan Line from Sendai, 40 minutes, ¥570). It's a tiny hamlet with about 5 houses, and the hiking signs are really obvious as soon as you get out of the station.
Here is a map of the area (source).
Pretty shrine in the middle of nowhere
Very dubious staircase
Going across this bridge would've been the next step...except there was no way to get onto it. The ladder was completely destroyed and none of us fancied climbing up sheer rock!
Undeterred, we headed back to the station and then walked the right hand side of the yellow loop along the road. At the bottom there was a car park and a sign to the walk marked pink on the map. That also had a sign saying it was closed, but we worked out enough of it to realise it was saying the path was shut from November last year until April this year. And since it is now May we decided that we'd take our life into our hands and ignore the sign. I know, we're bad people, but it looked too pretty and we wanted our hike!
The walk follows the river about 4.8km all the way down to the unused Yatsumori Train Station. It's a lovely walk, mostly along the river, which occasionally diversions into the forest on either side. There was a lot of rock scrambling (mostly due to broken steps) but only one or two places where it felt at all unsafe! Unsurprisingly, since it was officially closed, we didn't see anyone else and we had a lovely hike.
Once you get to Yatsumori, you can follow very quiet roads another 5km, through farmer country, round to Sakunami, a hot springs town with a station on the same line as Okunikkawa.
It made for a great day hike and took us about 5 hours in total. There's a campsite at Okunikkawa, and we're hoping to persuade some other friends to come there with us for a camping trip in the summer. When the really hot weather eventually arrives, a swim in this river will be just the thing!
Lovely mountain views
As well as mini waterfalls
Taking the high road!
Next time I come, I'm bringing my swimming stuff, this water makes you want to dive right in! (It was ridiculously cold though!)
The only living thing we met on the whole trail!
Bye bye river, we'll be back sometime!
What I can only assume is earthquake damage on the road
Pretty shrine in the middle of nowhere Mark 2
Can anyone tell me what these are? Graves? Memorials? Shrines?
Gorgeous tree in Sakunami. There was really nothing in Sakunami. We were all starving by the time we got there and we couldn't find anywhere to buy food :( So it you want to do this walk, take all your provisions with you!
Apparently John has "always wanted to do this" and the deserted Sakunami Station was the perfect opportunity. Silly boy!
PS - Mum and Dad, do you think a stay at the campsite here and a walk around this area might be a good way to spend a day of your visit?