Outrunning those damn leeches

I am not fond of leeches. I am yet to work out how they add to the ecological values of our planet. Call me paranoid if you like.

At home in the Blue Mountains of New South Wales, Australia, I tend to be a beacon of sorts for those pesky leeches. While this skill is much appreciated by my fire fighter colleagues who seem immune from attack, I dread taking of my boots to undercover blood soaked socks and engorged black lumps dropping to the ground.

While up at Nikko in August 2010, I ventured up to Kinugawa Onsen, with the intention of riding the ropeway up the adjacent mountain and walking down to Ryuouku Gorge. That day the ropeway and all the tracks were closed due to an infestation of leeches!

I have made a couple of upbeat postings of the recent trip to Kawayu Onsen. See These are not snow monkeys and Kameya Inn. But I withheld the story about being sucked on by leeches in the otherwise beautiful riverside otenburo. Damn water leeches!

So after the Kawayu incident as it is known by my family, I became pretty hesitant about going into the trails and forests of Japan (or the rivers for that matter).

So on a day trip along the beautiful Oigawa gorge on Oigawa Railway Hikawa Line, I got off at Sessokyo Onsen Station with the intention of walking the fantastically named  Love Romance Road loop trail, before getting back to Sessokyo Onsen for the next train.

The entrance to the Love Romance Road at Sessokyo Onsen. See the leeches waiting on the other side?


The infrastructure around this walking track is brilliant, and a credit to those with the foresight to develop it.

The pictured suspension bridge spans the Oi River. The track skirts the river for a kilometre or so, hanging of the side of the hills generally about 50 metres above the river, offering great views.

A number of pedestrian suspension bridges are crossed as well as a few brilliant red arched bridges crossing streams and creeks, with occasional glimpses of minor water falls.


One of the many beautiful bridges on the Romance Path at Okuoikojo

One of the many beautiful bridges on the Love Romance Road at Sessokyo Onsen

With the humid June air, thick canopy and soft leaf litter, I started to freak out about leeches. So I came up with a brilliant plan. Don’t stand still long enough for a leech to attach.

Now this is a selfie! Resting up at Sessokyo Onsen Station after outrunning the leeches

Now this is a selfie! Resting up at Sessokyo Onsen Station after outrunning the leeches


Maybe not the best plan given I was wearing jeans, and shoes not made for running that were too small and already hurting my feet.

Running soon gave way to a more sensible fast walk which did allow me to take in the clean air, the greens of the thick foliage, and to observe keen fisherman trying their luck in the river below.

So did I enjoy the Love Romance Road? Damn right I did.

Did I get any leeches? Damn right I didn’t!




About Tony Jarrett

Taking regular visitors routes but more often just where the trains or buses go. Japan leads the way.
This entry was posted in Shizuoka, Small Towns and Villages, Tochigi, Wakayama, Walks and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

5 Responses to Outrunning those damn leeches

  1. tokyobling says:

    Tomorrow (25th) is the big fire fighter’s memorial day celebrations here in Tokyo. Looking forward to it!


  2. Nyasha says:

    It’s so strange that I have not seen one yet but I do not want to experience seeing one at all.


  3. Buri-chan says:

    My first encounter with a leech was here in Japan when I was walking around in a rice paddy very briefly–it wasn’t until afterword that I noticed the blood, but better that than seeing the sucker itself, I think! When I spent more time in the rice paddy later that weekend I was wearing high socks instead of going in with bare skin, and wasn’t bothered at all. So besides not staying still, do you think the jeans helped at all?


  4. vmj20 says:

    I picked up one of yours today while bush walking in the Blue Mountains. Didn’t outrun that one!


Comments are closed.