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Road Trippin’ through Kumamoto Prefecture

With summer creeping in and three friends staying with us, the call of the wild echoed through our stuffy, overcrowded Tokyo apartment. Lucky for us, Japan is full of great nature escapes, so we decided to plan a road trip. In our...

The Pacific Ocean, a Pagoda and a Waterfall: Day 5 of Kumano Kodo Nakahechi Route

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The final day of the Kumano Kodo on the Ogumotori-goe path was bittersweet. On one hand, we were tired and keen to return to our own beds and clean clothes. On the other hand, we were used...

Teahouse Remains and Sweeping Views: Day 4 of the Kumano Kodo Nakahechi Route

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Although the pilgrimage was technically complete at Hongu, we wanted the sense of accomplishment from hiking coast to coast. Therefore, we and two bus loads of hikers packed ourselves into a local bus from Yunomine Onsen to the Ukegawa Trailhead where we...

A Towering Torii Gate and The Grand Shrine: Day 3 of the Kumano Kodo Nakahechi Route

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Tsugizakura oji to Kumano Hongu Taisha Day three. The big one. Tsugizakura oji to Kumano Hongu Taisha. From our accommodation in Nonaka, we were facing a 23km journey to Yunomine Onsen via Hongu. With...

Monkeys and Ancient Cedar Trees on the Kumano Kodo Nakahechi Route: Day 2

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Takahara to Tsugizakura-oji The Takahara to Tsugizakura-oji day is the first real taste of the Kumano Kodo Nakahechi Route hike. This stretch is around 13km with a total elevation gain of 830m and total...

First Steps of the Kumano Kodo Nakahechi Route: Day 1

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Of the many routes of the Kumano Kodo trail, the Nakahechi Route is by far the most popular. This path, dating back to the 10th century, was once travelled by Japan’s imperial family on their way from Kyoto to the venerable Kumano...

Hiking the Kumano Kodo Pilgrimage

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The Kii Mountains of Wakayama prefecture, blanketed in dense, silent forests, tell a spiritual tale. For many centuries, as the trees reached skyward, religious devotees traversed a series of steep and winding paths in order to worship at the area’s Kumano sanzan...

Kayaking in Japan: Nagano’s Serene Otaki Village

Nagano’s Kiso Valley, with its wooded hills and pristine waters, is the perfect nature escape. From my base in Kiso-Fukushima, I had already explored the charming town, hiked the ancient Nakasendo trail and visited the Akasawa Natural Recreational Forest. Keen to spend...

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