The Nikkawa Trail

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In July 2006 my wife and I started hiking. I’ve hiked in Canada, the States and Europe when I was younger, but for my wife, who used to take the elevator to go up one floor, it was the beginning of a whole new experience. This category is dedicated to our new hobby, and I’ll try to give enough information for whoever might like to try hiking in Japan.

The trail is 5.4 km long and is situated in Sakunami (Sendai, Miyagi Prefecture) right behind Okunikkawa station on the Senzan Line. You can also get there by car by taking route 48 from Sendai towards Yamagata. The entrance to a dirt road leading to it is on the left handside after a small bridge called Aioi (in Roman letters) and right before the Sakunami Hot Springs, with a sign indicating Okunikkawa in Japanese, but it’s hard to spot. You can get a map of the trail at a restaurant called Okunikkawa Shokudou when you get there.

2006-07-22 (Sat): The yellow line shows the part of the trail we walked. It took us about two hours to make it (approximately 2 km – walking time only). There are two bridges to cross, many slippery stairs, and two narrow ledges. We came back using the regular road (loop on the right).

2006-07-26 (Wed): The pink line shows the part of the trail we walked on that day. We walked a distance of about 5 km round trip (2 hours 15 minutes to go, 1 hour 20 minutes to come back – walking time only). There are five bridges to cross, and the trail gets more difficult after the second bridge, from a landmark called “The Great Stone” . There are many slippery stairs and narrow ledges, a ladder, and even a stream to cross by foot. The trail is not very well marked, mainly with yellow and white paint on the rocks. It is confusing at times, and at one point the trail literally disappears due to the abundant vegetation. We were quite tired after a couple of hours, and instead of coming back as originally planned, we decided to walk all the way to the end of the trail where we hoped to catch a train to come back. However, we were lucky enough to find a man fishing who told us that that station was not in use, so the only way back was to take the way we came from. Worried that we wouldn’t make it before dark, we regained enough energy to make it back in much less time it took to go.

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