Our next destination was Zao-Quasi-National Park. Initially we thought to walk across the park in approx. 4 days, but the path and weather condition were unpleasant. So we got directly to Zao-Onsen after the first day by public transport and stayed for two days. Once the rain stopped we set out again to Zao-San (1841 m). However, dense fog again blocked our view to the terrific Okama caldera lake. We stayed overnight in a mountain shelter and got woken the next morning by fellow hikers, using the toilet. That must have been a funny picture for them: two Gaijins (foreigners) still sleeping in their bags while they must have been hiking for quite some time☺. Therefore we decamped and while the weather improved, we climbed Byōbu-Dake (1817 m) and Fubō-San (1705 m) before descending back down the valley to the campsite.
After finishing the Michinoku Coastal Trail section from Hachinohe to Miyako we took the Shinkansen (High Speed Train) to Sendai. Finally we made it to a big city after beeing in Japan for 2 months. All of a sudden we got shopping fever and replaced some of our gear. On the same weekend was Tanabata Matsuri. During this festival the city is covered with colorful paper decorations. The following monday we went to the Immigration Office in order to extend our temporary visitor permit until November. Luckily this worked without a problem, thank you Japan ☺.
After two great weeks we sadly said farewell to Cédi in Kuji and continued the trail again just the two of us.
The section between Kuji and Oomoto of the Michinoku Coastal Trail hasn’t yet been officially opened so we continued the trail south without the comfort of the signposts and nice hiking maps. With our progress to south the aftermath of the 2011 earthquake and the consequent tsunami become apparent. New massive dams are being constructed and vanished villages beeing rebuilt. In Tarō for instance we saw rows of temporary homes. Besides this sad history of the region we have seen stunning places like Kitayamazaki or the Sannoiwa rocks.
Along the east coast of Japan a new long-distance trail of approx. 700 km is being built. Currently only certain sections are ready and marked, beginning with the first 100km from Hachinohe to Kuji. Fränzi had emailed the tourist information in Hachinohe and mentioned our visit. They have been well prepared when we got there, even the mail printout ready :-). We received hiking maps and stamp collection cards. At different waypoints stamps may be collected, rewarded with pins!
The next day we started at Kabushima-Shrine (devoted to the black tailed seagull) heading south. The trail leads along the Tanesashi coast, over Mt. Hashikami-Dake, to Kominato and the Kosode coast. Every now and then we had short chats (or sort of) with locals. For example the lovely fishermen-wife which offered us to taste seagrass noodles, fresh octopus and sea snails. Delicious! Or in Kuji with the famous Ama (japanese female diver).