The route 380 became narrower and narrower, while I climbed up along. Then I came to an atmospheric shrine, Mishima shrine. From there, henro route seems to be a short cut to the road 380, but I could not find the sign posts for a while and came out in a strange place… I might be lost.
I could investigate which direction I should return to by looking at the Google map, so I went back the way I came, looking for sign posts, and managed to get back. I know that there are usually sign posts on such a henro route in the mountains if you walk for a few minutes. It means if I cannot find them after walking more than a few minutes, I should check if I may lose the way or not. This is really grateful.
There’s a split that leads to the “Hiwata pass henro route” via Hatano-tou pass, but the sign post says that if it’s snowing, you should take a detour because it can be impassable. I lost the henro route even such a small shortcut, so I decided to give up and took a detour.
Finally I entered Kuma-kogen town. It was beautiful with clear skies, but the road was extremely slippery. It also smelled something like heavy oil, probably due to snow removal work. Actually the henro route split several times around this area, and the next one is to take the mountain side trail to “Noso” pass or to continue on route 380 and take road 33 to reach No.44 Daiho-ji. I decided to challenge the old henro route.
The old henro route leading to the “Noso” pass had quite a bit of snow on it. It was a good that I had mid-cut trekking shoes as the snow was up to my ankles. It was a hard trail, but I didn’t have to worry about getting lost, so I could keep going rather easily until I reached the “Noso” pass. There was plenty of snow on the way down too. But the snow made it easier to go down the steep slope because it was easier to step in from the heel and less likely to slip, and it gave me a sense of security even if I fell down.
In Kuma-town, I could find a few places where they have decorated the eaves of the houses with hina dolls (for Girls’ day festival), as I saw in Tokushima. It was quite nice.