We totally scored when we hiked the Osugi-dani Gorge, a deep, challenging, cliff-side trail that skirts the Miya River in Mie Prefecture. Our starting point was the Miyagawa Power Station about an hour outside of Odai (a town known for the tea fields that surround it and wealth that come from logging).
The trail had been destroyed after taking damage from a 2004 typhoon and had only recently reopened (in late 2014). Apparently, it’s not yet on anyone’s radar, as over our two days of hiking — about 15 hours of combined trail walking — we’d met only three other hikers.
The highpoints of this hike are the crystal clear river, the wide variety of trees that line the trail (beech, pine, fir, cherry…and the fact that the forest had not even been thinned), the bouncy suspension bridges we crossed along the way, the absence of any noise from nearby roads (as the trail, except for the beginning and end points, has absolutely no contact with roads or highways), and the challenge of keeping one’s balance on the trail’s many narrow ledges.
Meg and I have been on a bunch of hikes now but Osugi-dani ranks as one of the most rewarding.
The total length of the trail, from the Miyagawa Daisan Power Station at the end of Highway 53 to the parking lot at the Odaigahara Visitors Center, is a bit over 14 km.
We started at the power station and walked as far as Nana-Tsugama Falls, just past the Momonoki Yamanoie Lodge (the Japanese use the word “hut” but that’s a misnomer, believe me).
Difficulty is easy to moderate. The portions with chains could be a challenge or even a deal-breaker for anyone with a fear of heights (as the drop off in many places is nearly straight down and sometimes over a 100 feet above the river or rocks!).
Definitely a fun hike!