Famed Mie trail ripped by ’04 typhoon reopens

Kyodo

A scenic hiking trail in the Osugidani Valley of Mie Prefecture reopened Friday morning, nearly a decade after it was severely damaged by a powerful typhoon that hit the area in September 2004.

The 14.1-km trail reopened along with the start of the hiking season and will remain open until Nov. 24.

Osugidani, which is known for its varied terrain and scenery, is considered one of Japan’s three most beautiful valleys, along with the Kurobe Valley in Toyama Prefecture and the Kiyotsukyo Valley in Niigata Prefecture.

“The valley is rich in water, and its water is clear. That’s the beauty of Osugidani,” said Ryoichi Muro, 67, of Kyoto, who has 50 years’ hiking experience and joined the commemorative walk with his wife. “I’ve been waiting for this day for a long time.”

According to the Mie Prefectural Government, the 2004 typhoon damaged about 50 places along the trail, which starts in Odai and stretches to Mount Hidegatake, which borders Nara and Mie. The typhoon also destroyed about 10 suspension bridges.

Repair work started in 2008, with the Environment Ministry providing financial assistance to repair the bridges.

The repair work was finished last December with the clearing of the last 2-km stretch connecting the Nanatsugama Waterfall with Dokuradaki. The repairs cost ¥483 million.