Guidebook to Japan's Kumano Kodo, a series of UNESCO-listed pilgrimage routes that crisscross the mountainous Kii peninsula, south of Osaka. Centred on three Shinto-Buddhist shrines known as the Kumano Sanzan, the ancient trails blend great hiking and exceptional natural beauty with a unique insight into Japan's rich history, culture and spirituality. The guide covers the 64km Nakahechi and 63km Kohechi trails in full, as well as the Choishimichi route to Koyasan (20km), the Hongu loop (17km) and highlights of the Iseji trail. It can be used to plan and undertake an independent trek or to enrich an organised tour.
Clear route description and mapping is accompanied by comprehensive details of accommodation and facilities, as well as notes on local points of interest and inspirational colour photography. You'll find a wealth of practical information to help with planning, covering transport, climate, accommodation, budgeting, equipment and safety, as well as fascinating background information on history, religion and wildlife. There is also a Japanese glossary and helpful advice on Japanese customs and etiquette.
The Kumano Kodo offers a different view of Japan: far removed from the modern cities, this is a world of forested slopes, hidden valleys, waterfalls, traditional villages, moss-covered stone deities and tranquil oji shrines. There are opportunities to experience hot-spring bathing and to sample local cuisine as you follow in the footsteps of emperors, samurai, priests and ascetics traversing traditional flagstone paths and forest trails.
To celebrate both the trails and those who travel them, the Kumano Kodo and Spain's Camino de Santiago were twinned: if you complete both you can register as a 'dual pilgrim'.
Originally from Melbourne, after graduating from university Kat moved to Japan, where she worked as an adventure tour guide. She quit her office job in 2013 to walk the Camino de Santiago and has since walked over 10,000km in England, Europe, Japan and America. Kat now lives in London.
Overview maps Map key Route summary tables Introduction History Japanese spirituality The pilgrimage trails Dual Pilgrim status Wildlife Group travel or independent? Getting there Getting around When to go Accommodation Food and drink Money Post, phones and internet Language Cultural etiquette Hiking in Japan What to take Luggage transfers Waymarking Maps and GPS Staying healthy and safe Using this guide The three grand shrines and Koyasan Kumano Hongu Taisha Kumano Hayatama Taisha Kumano Nachi Taisha Koyasan Hongu and surrounding area Route 1 Hongu loop walk (including Dainichi-goe and Akagi-goe) Nakahechi ??? Route 2 Nakahechi route Stage 1 Takijiri to Nonaka Stage 2 Nonaka to Kumano Hongu Taisha Stage 3 Kogumotori-goe route: Ukegawa to Koguchi Stage 4 Ogumotori-goe route: Koguchi to Kumano Nachi Taisha Koyasan ??? - Choishimichi ??? Route 3 Choishimichi route Kohechi ??? Route 4 Kohechi route Stage 1 Koyasan to Omata Stage 2 Omata to Miura-guchi Stage 3 Miura-guchi to Yanagimoto-bashi suspension bridge Stage 4 Yanagimoto-bashi suspension bridge to Kumano Hongu Taisha Iseji highlights ??? Route 5 Magose-toge Pass Route 6 Matsumoto-toge Pass Appendix A Facilities tables Appendix B Glossary Appendix C Useful contacts Appendix D Further reading