Beware of Leeches! (Map: Onagawa, Ishinomaki North and South Oshika Peninsula, June 26th 2020)
The Michinoku Coastal Trail goes through many unpaved natural courses, so hikers need to prepare themselves for time spent in natural areas.
The following areas especially get a lot of leeches because of the increasing shika deer population. (We get reports of leeches attaching to hosts by dropping down from trees, or crawling up from the ground).
- Ishinomaki City, Oshika Peninsula (north & south) mountain/forest areas
- Onagawa Town, mountain route around Mt. Dairokuten
Leech season: June to October
How to protect against leeches:
・Wear long sleeved shirts and trousers to prevent leeches from attaching
・Alcohol sprays, mint oil and anti-leech spray are useful for repelling leeches
See here for a video of a leech ※Warning: not for the squeamish!
If you get do get bitten by a leech, the risk of infection is lower than with ticks, but this doesn’t mean there is no risk. Also, if you suspect infection, there might not necessarily be a hospital nearby where you are on the trail, so you might not be able to be treated immediately.
If you’re not confident you can protect yourself against leeches, we recommend taking a detour onto paved city and prefectural roads instead.