Born To Travel is taking flight

After three years at this site I have filled my Media Gallery and am now migrating to –

https://borntotravel55.wordpress.com

If you are a new reader I hope you have enjoyed reading about our travels as Karen and I have trained, bussed and walked around Japan most recently and Nepal, India, Slovakia, the Czech Republic, Germany, France, Spain, Fiji, Borneo and even the odd post from Australia in the past. If you have been following my ramblings from here at markallison55 – Born To Travel thanks for joining Karen and I as we have travelled around. I have enjoyed reading your comments and you know I appreciate even the quick clicking on the Like button to let me know you have found something in a post that informs or interests you. Look forward to hearing from you at my new site and I look forward to reading about your traveling adventures for we are all ‘born to travel’.

Cheers, Mark

April 2020 – But wait there’s more!

Note: I am now separating posts about our overseas trips from our travels in Australia. Look forward to hearing from you at my new sites –

https://borntotravel69.wordpress.com and https;//borntotravelaustralia.wordpress.com

 

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Nakatsugawa, Magome and Tsumago

A full day’s travel from Hiroshima to Nakatsgawa via Nagoya meant arriving too late to do much the day before. As well as collecting some walks information we did have time for a quick look at the wonderful displays of artworks (plus food, local sweet delicacies etc) at the Tourist Information Centre in Nakatsugawa.

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So after our buffet breakfast we took two buses to reach the start of our main planned walk for the day at the hill town of Magome. Lots of tourists joined us by leaving the bus in Magome

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but after walking up through the somewhat touristy section we found only a few other walkers with us. Into the forest we went. Quite often we had streams of water running near the path. From time to time we passed through small hamlets.

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A couple of times we crossed over the streams as we walked.

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At one point when we were quite high up we came to a series of raised boardwalks which were signposted asking us for our own safety to stay on the boardwalk not go near the soft edges.

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Near the end we were challenged by a stony downhill section.

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After that we crossed a bridge at the edge of a small farming hamlet.

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One of the houses even had the rice drying on a rack.

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Here are some photos of Tsumago, our end destination for the walk, which prides itself on the main row of well maintained/restored houses. It was also where we ate our lunch.

We found this walk in our Lonely Planet Japan guide. If you are in the area it is well worth doing.

If you found this post helpful please feel free to make a Comment or click the Like button. Thanks.

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Miyajima Island

Following our sober, reflective time at the Peace Park we jumped on a Green route bus and made our way to the station. There we boarded a train for Miyajima-Guchi station. On our arrival we just followed the crowd down to the wharf only to see a JR boat heading off towards the island. However it wasn’t that long before another returned and we were on our way. Sadly it was a really misty grey sky, one of the rare days like it we had experienced in Japan.

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As we approached the island we noticed not only the famous orange tori gate in the water but to our dismay some grey scaffolding around one of its pillars, as if it had a broken leg.

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On leaving the boat hundreds of us grouped towards the town. However when many took the turn towards the commercial centre of the town we kept to the waterfront promenade. Here we encountered the first of many deer, just like we had in Nara previously.

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At the point we had a good view to the tori gate. Quite a few stand up paddle boarders were there and the occasional boat ferrying tourists around the nearby waters.

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We passed by the main temple as it was being cleaned and there was already a huge queue.  Perhaps we would have a better view of the tori gate from the other side of the little inlet in which it was positioned. Around we walked. Very few people had come this way so I was even able to set up our camera on timer and take an old fashioned version of the ‘selfie’ with the tori gate in the background.

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Our travel mascot, Kirby, also posed for a photo. You can see how mournful he was about the weather and the scaffolding too.

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At one point Karen had thought we might even take a ropeway (cable car) up one of the mountains above the main town but due to the misty, cloudy weather it would have been a waste of money only to see clouds. So we headed back towards the commercial centre to look for some lunch. Along the way we came to the back of the temple complex so I leant over the wall to take a photo with the five level pagoda in the background.

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After I took it Karen pointed out a huge spider web and a rather large colourful spider in it.

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Nearer to town a surprise sighting of a wedding couple being transported in a rickshaw took our eye.

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Once in town we browsed around the cafes and food stalls. In the end we purchased a few skewers of grilled chicken, prawns and vegetables. Karen was also delighted to find this huge soft toy version of Totoro from Gibli movie, My Neighbour Totoro.

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We also spotted this huge wooden spoon, a symbol of the island, on display.

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Given the cloudy weather it was no use waiting for a sunset that wasn’t going to happen so we headed back to the wharf. As it turned out a few hundred others had the same idea as you can see from this queue.

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The good news was that the ships were able to carry hundreds at a time and we returned via the next train to Hiroshima.

Once again we were very pleased at how useful our JR Rail Pass had been. If you want to travel independently in Japan we highly recommend purchasing one.

Nara

The ancient capital of Nara was a short train trip from Osaka. So we decided to head there for a day trip. Nowadays it’s better known for being the home of the largest wooden temple Todai-Ji which houses a massive bronze Buddha known as Daibutsu. The train trip on the Kintetau line took just on forty minutes. From the station we joined the masses of school students and other visitors walking to the huge temple. It didn’t take long for us to spot some of the famous, and far too numerous, deer in an adjoining park.

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As we approached the temple entry we were a bit surprised to see a wooden boat on a lake.

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We paid our entry fee and approached the door to the main temple through a haze of incense. The giant Buddha was certainly huge but due to the darkness and a bit of an incense haze it was hard to make out all the detail.

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This side view shows him in a better light.

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Movement around the temple was in a clockwise direction. Next to the giant Buddha was another gilt bodhisattva, Kokuzo Bosatsu, to whom students pray for wisdom and memory to help with their studies.

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The next statues we saw were fierce looking guardians of wisdom.

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After exiting the temple we walked up towards a complex of sub-temples. Along the way we passed a massive bell with an equally large pole to ring it.

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Here is is the Nigatsu-do building.

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From its’ balcony we had an excellent view of Nara and the surrounding plain.

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We continued our circuit walk and passed this small temple

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and many of these lanterns, which I love photographing, especially when they have moss or small plants growing on them.

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The last part of the walk saw us going through a couple of the parks with the ubiquitous deer just waiting to be fed and/or photographed.

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Nara was a town of contrasts with the tourist flocking to the well known sights but you could also walk peacefully in the gardens and parks away from the crowds if you chose, as we did.

 

Osaka – a castle and octopus balls

After an excellent night’s sleep we indulged in a breakfast of eggs, bread, pastries, juice and black tea. At Ebisucho station we purchased a Sunday day pass for unlimited use of the subway for only 600¥. Our first destination was Osaka castle. It was in the middle of a massive park. We followed the steady flow of pedestrian traffic until we came to the moat and outer walls.

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As we looked at an information board a uniformed man approached us and explained he was a volunteer guide. He showed us some diagrams and told us about how the castle walls had been built.

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This stone was the fourth biggest and was about 80cm thick.

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As we passed through the Sakuramon Gate on one of the inner walls we were again approached by another volunteer guide. He started to show us the biggest stone in the wall and how it had been constructed. We thanked him and told him another guide had already explained the building process to us. From there the castle was clearly visible. Although it is a reconstruction from the 1930s it certainly looked the part.

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The guy in costume was available for ‘free’ photos if you took your own or the photographic company would sell you theirs.

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We decided to keep moving closer to the castle. However another group in armour were encouraging visitors to be photographed with them, no strings attached. So we quickly jumped in for a photo.

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We continued to walk around the castle and then out through one of the inner gates and over a bridge with the moat beneath. Here we noticed you could board a traditional boat for a guided trip along the moat.

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We continued walking along the paths around the castle gardens. Lots of groups of picnickers were enjoying the sunny day.

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From there we took the subway nearer to the city centre. There is an island in the middle of the river with gardens, paths, cafes etc. After walking along for a while we came to the expansive rose garden. Quite beautiful.

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We sat there eating our picnic lunch and looking at the boats travel along the river.

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After lunch we kept walking and happened upon an art exposition by young talented artists.

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Not long after there was a children’s activity area. Osakans certainly like to get out and about and be involved.

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At the end of the island we made our way to the subway again. Our next stop was a 1300 year old temple. Described as hidden in plain sight in the middle of skyscrapers was pretty apt. However after asking for directions we found it.

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Intriguingly it was the site of a Japanese Romeo and Juliet story with a similarly tragic ending. Apparently Ohatsu and her lover Tokubei committed suicide there in 1703.

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From there we took the subway to the Shin-Osaka station just to familiarise ourselves with the layout for when we would be coming back in peak time two days later. Whilst walking through we noticed a girl at a food stand making one of the local delicacies, octopus balls. We stopped to take a closer look and she gave us quite a performance. Clearly she’d made the odd thousand or so in the past!

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I purchased some and we took them back to our apartment for a late afternoon snack. Really yummy!

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After resting for a while we made our way on the subway. To the nearby Dotombori area, a great restaurant and nightlife area. It was very busy, lots of lighting and advertising signs. Eventually we left the main streets and found a lovely little restaurant making another local delicacy, Okonomiyaki. It was a very thin restaurant with a bar with seating for about a dozen adjacent to a large grill area where the chef was cooking. We were the only non Japanese there. We ordered from an English menu. Drinks arrived quickly but the cooking of our Okonomiyaki dinner was a sideshow; actually it was the main event. When they arrived they were on a small steel hot plate and we received a cutting tool as well as chopsticks.

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Really delicious is a description which doesn’t really describe our eating experience but it will have to suffice. As we paid we had a brief chat with the chef. From there it was back on the subway to our apartment. It had been a really interesting and varied day.

Kumano Kodo – Day 5 – Koguchi to Nachi-san

Awoke to the calming sound of running water. Again breakfast was a lovely meal with such a large number in the dining area. It was good to sit at a regular table even if we were on a stool as the legs were a bit stiff from our walking. By 8:00 we were at the trailhead stamping our Pilgrim passports without having to walk anywhere!

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The first section of 4.8kms would see us climb nearly 800m in elevation and was nicknamed ‘body breaking slope’. By the time we had completed it we had certainly given our lungs and legs a good test, that’s for sure! Not only was it sharply uphill but the rock steps had plenty of moss covering them and if you tried to walk on the edge of them the tree roots made it tricky too.


imageAt one point when we stopped to catch our breathe just about everything was moss covered.

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Anyway upwards on onwards we walked.

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At one point we had a bit of an obstacle to clamber around

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But after about two hours we finally reached Echizen-toge pass. I used the timer on the camera to give us photographic proof.

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The trail continued in an up and down fashion for nearly two kilometres.

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Occasionally we heard and saw small streams.

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Eventually we came to a place with a shrine, remains of an old tea house and a shelter with seats so we took a well earnt break and ate a snack. A couple of other Aussies came along and we chatted with them. They had an update that parts of the next section of the trail had been damaged by storms so we walked along an adjoining forestry road for about a kilometre instead. We could see evidence of the storm damage as we walked.

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Back on the real trail we had an uphill section walking through water

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but the bonus was we also saw some waterfalls.

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We also had an amazing view across the mountains not long after. Just love the layers of mountains.

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As we continued across a couple of saddles the wind started to bite. So we were pretty pleased to come to Funami-maya tea house remains. It was a it late but another shelter with seats had been constructed here. The view down to Katsuura and the Pacific Ocean was sadly a bit unclear due to the misty, cloudy day.

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Due to the cold wind we put jumpers on before eating our final bento pack of the Kumano Kodo.

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Once finished we moved on ever downward. The signs on this part of the trail were now on stone pillars.

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My knees were not appreciating it but the end of the steps came soon enough, so said the sign. The pile of walking sticks added weight to this line of thought.

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However there turned out to eat about another half hour of steps down to the shrine complex at Nachisan!

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Once there we looked around at the shrine complex. A number of the buildings were bright orange whilst others were plain wood.

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Sadly we couldn’t find where to stamp our Pilgrim passports so we headed down to the triple level pagoda with views to the famous Nachi-no-Otaki waterfall.

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From there it wasn’t really clear which way to go to our accommodation but by continuing down the road we finally made it not long before dinner.

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Dinner was another delicious Japanese meal.

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The good news was we sat at normal height tables with Colin and a couple of young Dutch guys who had walked past us earlier in the day on one of the steep step climbs. The dining room was full with many of the others we had met along the trail or at the various accommodations. So I’m sure they all felt the same sense of fulfilment we did and I’m pretty sure their legs and bodies were as tired as ours!

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If you are reading this and thinking of doing the Kumano Kodo, yes, we would recommend doing it. Just make sure your knees and hips can stand up to the downhill parts and I’m sure your lungs will handle the uphill bits. As an old hiker once said to Karen and I, “you can do it, just so long as you want to and can put one foot in front of the other.”

(Your comments and questions are most welcome.)

Kumano Kodo – Day 4 – Yunomine to Koguchi

Our day started with a lively breakfast at our minshuku in Yunomine. After breakfast we gave our hosts an Australian animal 2017 calendar to thank them. This of course led our hostess to reciprocate by giving us a Japanese bandana in return.

We met travelling companion Colin on the way to the bus stop. Lots of walkers and others clambered on. Along the way we passed two of the other onsen towns. At Ukegawa our driver was kind enough to go past the bus stop and drop all the walkers at the trailhead. (Later on we realised this meant we missed the place to stamp our Pilgrim passports.) Started with a walk past the houses of a few locals before a steep step climb then into the rhythm of a continued climb for quite a while. Some of the trail was quite smooth

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The trail continued up and down but mostly up for some time. The sound of running water made it a peaceful walk. From time to time we crossed small wooden bridges and could see some of the small streams.

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After another 1.4kms we came to a shrine area with an outstanding viewpoint so we stopped for a few photos. It was called Hyakken-gura lookout.

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At about the halfway point the trail met a forestry road with public toilets so we took the chance while we had it. The view from nearby was quite good too so we sat down for a snack.

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As we resumed we seemed to be walking along a ridge part and the trail was smooth and well treed. At one of the many tea house ruins there was a shelter with tables and seats so we stopped for lunch. In our lunch pack there was a large leaf enclosing four rice balls of various flavours and then a bamboo leaf bento box with an assortment of other items. Some really delicious but a few of the pickled vegetables didn’t appeal.

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Not long after, a view down to where we presumed our destination Koguchi was, provided a photo opportunity.

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The trail now went through an area with lots of ferns along its edges beneath the many tall cedar and cypress trees.

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The village below came into view again as the trail descended.

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Sometimes the trail was well stepped but other sections were large rocks covered in moss and very slippery. Just as well we had our poles for balance and support. From time to time we also passed stone pillars which had poems inscribed on them.

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The uneven mossy rocks made the downhill going quite tricky. At times we used the edge of the trail and walked in dirt or mud to avoid the rocks. My right knee was giving me quite a bit of pain by now on the mostly downhill sections.

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Finally we came to the river we had seen from high above. As we crossed it we spotted a few keen fishermen.

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From there we actually went through a short tunnel in the hill.

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On the other side our destination, the converted high school building at Koguchi, came into view.

 

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I asked the kitchen staff for some ice to put on my aching knee which they were able to give me. Sat down for a while icing my knee with a towel wrapped around it until water started to drip.

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Karen had gone for a bath. On her return I also went and had a good soaping and brief shower before enjoying a massive bath all to myself. Very soothing. Dinner at six o’clock was a noisy affair as there were twenty walkers from Japan, Spain, USA as well as several other Aussies. Beautiful food as we have come to expect at dinner time in all the places we have stayed. The tempura was especially wonderful.

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After sitting in the lounge area using the wifi for a while we headed to our room. Sleep on the thin futon mattress finally came.

If this, or any of my other posts about the Kumado Komo walk have interested you or helped you please let me know by making a Comment below or clicking on the Like button. Questions are also welcome. Happy hiking!

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!

If this, or any of my other posts about the Kumado Komo walk have interested you or helped you please let me know by making a Comment below or clicking on the Like button. Questions are also welcome. Happy hiking!

Kumano Kodo – Day 1 – Takijiri to Nonaka

Awoke about six and finished packing. Ate western breakfast at 7:00. Checked out of Tanabe City Hotel and walked down to the station. Karen went with our walking companion Colin to pick up beautiful Bento lunch boxes while I took the cases to the bus stop. Caught 8:02 bus to Takijiri. Arrived about 8:45 and transferred our cases to the luggage transfer man’s van. Had a brief look in the Tourist Information Centre before crossing the road.

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Had a photo at the Kumano Kodo marker rock then stamped our Pilgrim folder for the first time.

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Started just after 9:00 on a very steep starred first section with two Swiss girls. It took us to the first of the many 500m markers but it went up 100m! After a brief respite it was up, up again for another kilometre. At that stage we took an option to go up to a viewpoint.

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Quite steep stairs but the views were great.

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Then back down a different way to rejoin the Kumano Kodo. There were lots of signs plus even some for Not the Kumano Kodo! Continued up and down until we came to Takahara. I was a bit behind and spotted the shrine.

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Went in and signed the Visitors book and stamped my Pilgrim passport. Karen and Colin had walked further to some seats and a great viewpoint.

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I told them it was a short walk back to stamp their Pilgrim passports too. Turns out later they found the little shrine house and used the correct stamp. I had used a different one. We all ate some of the sushi items and the prawns from our Bento boxes for morning tea as it was warming up.

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The path as we left Takahara was really steep again!

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Kept rising for the next 2kms but at least we could hear the peaceful sound of running water. Soon after there it was.

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Eventually we reached Daimon-oji where we stamped our Pilgrim passports again.

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After that more uphill but at Jujo-Oji saw no stamper for our Pilgrim passports. Kept going for another 3kms over reasonably flat and smooth surface so made good time. We stopped at the Three Fold Moon signboard for lunch from our Bento boxes.

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Quite steady downhill after lunch, some alright but some very dodgy and slippery rock surface. As we approached the Osakamoto-Oji we heard water which became steadily louder. Eventually we came to a series of bridges that crossed the stream with its numerous small waterfalls.

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Very peaceful but the wooden bridges were quite slippery and a bit dangerous we thought.

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At Gyuba-dojo Guchi we took a snack and toilet break as the trail met the main road here. Made the decision to keep walking as if we stopped we had about an hour and forty minutes to wait for the bus. (My knees regretted this decision!) uphill to Gyuba-dojo statue for a stamp then a bit of a descent until we came out to Chikatsuyu township which seemed to be on a secondary road. Crossed the river on a bridge. Great photo spot.

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Then the Kumano Kodo followed mostly sealed tertiary roads uphill, in one section steeply uphill to Hisohara -Oji where it levelled out.

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Our walk continued until we came to Tsugizakura for our last Pilgrim passport stamp of the day at the shrine (Oji) there. Here we left the official trail for a detour to our accommodation. We even saw one of the signs telling us it wasn’t the Kumano Kodo!

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The next section took us steeply downhill past a spring for over thirty minutes to the rural village of Nonaka where we finally met the main road again.

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All that climbing seemed such a waste when we had to descend so sharply to get to our accommodation at Minshuku Nonaka Sanso.

imageHowever on our arrival we were warmly met and made to feel welcome with a quick orientation of the property. After settling in went for a soap up, shower and bath. Next Colin and I had a beer with a young American/Japanese couple – Sara and Ian.

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Karen joined us after her shower/bath. Another four young Americans were there too. Had dinner on two tables. Beautifully presented as you can see

imageand by far the most delicious food we have had in Japan. The plum pickled in beer being a highlight. (Bottom centre of this photo) After chatting for a while we retired quite willingly to bed (a thin futon with a layer of foam beneath) for an extremely well earned sleep. Had walked the best part of 22kms.

If this, or any of my other posts about the Kumado Komo walk have interested you or helped you please let me know by making a Comment below or clicking on the Like button. Questions are also welcome. Happy hiking!

Koyasan

I must admit sleeping on a thin futon wasn’t easy but it seemed like no time after I rested my weary head on the Japanese pillow that it was time to wake up and attend the morning ceremony at 6:00. We sat on a stool in the outer section of the temple while the monks knelt in the inner section. Starting with a traditional Om the chants continued with intermittent gongs, drums, bells for quite some time. At one point the group of visitors was welcomed into the inner sanctum for a couple of rituals. After seeing the fire ceremony we returned to our seats until the reading and chanting was finished. One of the priests came and explained a few things to us before we returned to our rooms to prepare for breakfast. This was served in a common dining area. The meal was presented in a similar fashion to the previous evening in a number of small bowls on a tray with legs. While we ate the priest explained some more to us about the history of Buddhism in Koyasan and how he came to be in Koyasan after being born in the German speaking part of Switzerland. A few of the visitors asked questions which he answered in detail. After breakfast concluded we made our way out for the day. Green tea isn’t quite the same for Karen so she tried a dispensing machine tea in a can. To her surprise it still wasn’t what she was looking for. It was milky and tasted alright but was cold! Given it is still taking time to become used to some of foods also we headed to a small food store next and bought a few snacks to tide us over.

From there we walked to the eastern side of the town to Okunoin, an area of over 200000 graves and memorial pagodas, some belonging to feudal lords and others to everyday commoners. It is set in a beautiful, peaceful forest of cedars and other trees. The main path runs for about two kilometres from Ichinohashi Bridge

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to the mausoleum of Kobo Daishi Kukai, a great Buddist monk. Kobo Daishi Kukai was the founder of Koyasan in the late 800s. The belief that he did not pass away but lies in eternal meditation has brought pilgrims here for 12 centuries and resulted in Koyasan being World Heritage listed by UNESCO in 2004. Even though it was a Saturday and many people were on the paths leading to his mausoleum it was a pleasant place to walk as you can see from these photos.

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Most of the gravestones are quite old

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but some were quite recent.

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Another thing we observed was that a number of the small statues had a red bib on them. This attracts Jizo to them and he is believed to watch over children in the afterlife as a surrogate parent.image

As we came to the mausoleum there was bridge.

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After that photography isn’t permitted.

After looking around the mausoleum we retraced our step back over the entry bridge. Here we noticed black Buddhas. Visitors can ritually splash water over them to show respect to their deceased relatives.

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Our return walk brought us past a number of temples and lodgings (Shukubo).

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By now it was after 13:00 so we started to look for somewhere to eat. We settled on a small restaurant with a window display of the meals which helped us see what was available.

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The English menus helped us to order. It was run entirely by two little old energetic women. The two were doing the cooking, waiting and serving, washing the dishes and taking payments. Amazing. After ordering our meals came quite quickly and were delicious. The presentation of the sushi was exquisite.

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When we came to pay the lady who took our payment was clearly rushed and overpaid change to us by ¥1000! She was quite relieved when Karen pointed this out and returned the overpayment to her.

Next we walked to the western side of the town and visited another temple complex named Kongobuji. It is the administrative temple of Koyasan Shingon Buddhism.

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We were especially taken with the 17th century building (above) used to store ancient manuscripts. Needless to say it was closed to travellers like us.

As we were just across the road from the Danjo Garan complex which we had enjoyed exploring the day before we went back to look around more. We were pleased we did as we came upon a lovely bridge, lake and shrine.

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On our return trip we also visited a small but lovely garden just opposite the Visitor Information Centre.

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Once back at our lodgings we rested and chatted with our room neighbour, Colin in the tranquil gardens of our temple lodgings.

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Dinner was again beautifully presented as you can see. This time we were able to eat more of the foods. Perhaps we are becoming more used to the new flavours we are experiencing.

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Tomorrow we travel to Kii-Tanabe by local bus and then train for the start of our trek the day after.