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Togakushi Kodo: A Spiritual Off-The-Beaten-Path Journey

For those looking to get off the beaten track and experience something authentic, the Togakushi Kodo Pilgrimage makes for a fantastic day-trip from Nagano. This lush, mountainous region is home to natural mineral springs, giant trees and...

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

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

japan-wakayama-kumanokodo-pilgrimage-trail-walk-nakahechi-day4-hongu-Kogumotori-goe-Ukegawa to Koguchi
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

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

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

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

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...