Kumano Kodo -Day 2 – Nonaka to Hongu via Hosshinmon

Slept well for a while but by about five o’clock my left hip and right knee especially began to ache badly so didn’t need our alarms to wake up at 6:30. Breakfast was artistically presented. Rice with lots of small dishes. One even had ham and lettuce on it. Melon and a piece of orange were a refreshing finish. Packed and rested until our bus at 7:49. Due to our huge effort yesterday opted for a bus part of the way to Hosshinmon-Oji. After leaving the bus the first part of the trail was on the road. Soon after we turned onto a narrow country lane which took us through a number of small rural villages. After a while we came to a stamping point for our Pilgrim passports. As it was an area with seats we stopped to have morning tea and also take in an awesome view.

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As we continued we passed a number of shrines

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and even a pillar with many small rocks stacked up against it by previous pilgrims. Our mascot Kirby joined them.

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About a kilometre past Fushiogani we came to a spot where a lady was selling vegetables. She told us that this was the turning off point for pilgrims going to Koyasan using the Kumano Kodo Kohechi trail.

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From here the trail was reasonably smooth for a while.

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At times we found it amazing to see how the trees could grow in such rocky places. Given they were up above us we were pleased they were well rooted.

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Like the day before we came to a sign tempting us up to a viewpoint which again we did. The climb was well worth it. Later on we would see the tori gate in the distance for the massive structure it was.

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We continued downwards for some time until we reached the tori gate on this side of the Kumano Hongu Taisha grand shrine complex.

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A short walk through a small forest and we were there.

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We had a good look around

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ensuring we found the shrine with the pilgrim stamper.

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Next we had a steep descent down stairs which in former times, and now too, many pilgrims and visitors use to come up to the shrine complex.

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We sat and ate our lunch in the gardens before heading over to the adjoining Cultural and Visitor Information Centres. We had a good look at the static displays as well as a couple of informative videos before going out of the town through the huge tori gate we had seen from high above earlier in the day.

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Our last few kilometres were extremely punishing. Firstly an ascent of just over a kilometre of very steep steps followed by an equally steep staired descent which my old hips and knees definitely didn’t appreciate!

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Eventually we made it to the shrine at the entry to Yunomine,

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our stopping point for the next two days. Thank goodness we had a rest day coming up to rest and soak our worn out joints in an onsen!

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