Following Day 1, I’m going to write about Day 2 of our cross-border trek between Nara and Mie prefectures. First, let‘s review the full itinerary below.
Day 2: Daiko Mountain Range Traverse
On the second day, we trekked through the Daiko Mountains, starting from Myojindaira up to Takami Pass.
- Myojindaira → Mt. Kunimi → Mt. Isetsuji → Mt. Kumogase→ Takami Pass (O-toge) → Ko-toge → Takami-sugi→Takasumi Onsen ( GPX data)
- Activity Log
- Distance: 13.3km
- Elevation Difference: 994m
- Elevation Gain/Loss: 807m/1739m
Click/tap on the photos below to see the captions.
Myojindaira to Mt. Kunimi
Spending the night at Myojindaira, I was supposed to wake up refreshed with the sunrise. But in fact, I woke up with a terrible headache… My bad, I drank too much the night before. Despite the severe hangover, I had a light breakfast and set off to continue our trek with my friends. I managed to make my way to the destination in a cold sweat.
We headed north to Mt. Kunimi, traversing the Daiko mountain range that runs along the Nara-Mie border. We passed by Mt. Mizunashi on our way and reached the summit of Mt. Kunimi (1,419m). The view wasn’t awe-inspiring, but we rested there for a while.
Mt. Kunimi to Mt. Isetsuji
After resting, we proceeded further north to Mt. Isetsuji. On the way, we found vermilion flowers in full bloom. They were adding a vivid accent to the green trees.
Mt. Isetsuji to Mt. Kumogase
From Mt. Isetsuji, we continued on the ridgeline with gradual ups and downs. We checked the markings and signposts just in case, so we wouldn’t get lost. Then we arrived at Mt. Kumogase.
Mt. Kumogase to Takami Pass
We were nearing the end of our trek. We proceeded to Takami Pass (also known as O-toge, meaning “grand pass”), the endpoint of this Daiko Mountain traverse.
The 904 meters high Takami Pass is also on the old pilgrimage highway* between Wakayama and Ise. It has been known as the toughest part of the route.
*The highway is called Wakayama Kaido, Ise Minami Kaido, or Kishu Kaido, depending on who refers to it. Kaido means an old highway used by people in the Edo Period on business and pilgrimage.
Takami Pass to Takasumi Onsen
Takami Pass is one of the trailheads to Mt. Takami (1,248.4m), a.k.a. the Matterhorn of Kansai. As it has a parking lot, many people choose to drive there to climb the mountain. There is a torii gate at the trailhead, and a shrine at the summit. The shrine is called Takasumi Jinja and has been worshipped since ancient times. In winter, the frosty mountain attracts many climbers. Beautiful rime ice (or hoarfrost) is often formed when the weather conditions are just right.
The torii made me feel sacred and want to climb Mt. Takami, but we decided not to, just because I had a hangover. So we took a detour to the west and headed to another pass called Ko-toge (meaning “small pass”) after passing through the torii gate.
Walking by the Ko-toge junction, we reached the last point of this cross-border trek, Takami-sugi. The towering cedar trees are said to be about 700 years old and overwhelming even after many visits. Then we headed down to our final destination, Takasumi Onsen Hot Spring.
Finally, we arrived at Takasumi Onsen Hot Spring. Hirano Trailhead, another gateway to Mt. Takami, is near there. If you take public transport, use this trailhead. (One-hour bus ride from Kintetsu Haibara station to the nearest bus stop “Takami Hirano / 高見平野”). Now, let’s soothe my exhausted body in the smooth hot water and refresh with an ice-cold beer! Don’t worry, we had another friend pick us up on that day. Thanks, my friend!