Kumano Kodo - Nakahechi Route


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May 24th 2020
Published: May 25th 2020
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Wakayame Castle with Cherry Blossom
So after spending a short time in Los Angeles, in March 2019, I flew from LA to Osaka with Japan Airlines. As previously commented, I had decided to try and do self guided hikes, so again booked with World Expeditions for a Kumano Kodo, Coast to Coast Self Guided trip. It was for 10 days and included accomodation, luggage transfer and most meals.

Having landed in Osaka, I had booked a hotel in Wakayame so I had easy access to the station to Tanabe the next day. Luckily for me, it was cherry blossom season and a walk from the hotel was the Wakayame Castle which was lovely to see with the cherry blossoms in full colour.

After a nights rest, I caught the flight down to Tanabe, about a two hour trip. I checked in at the local information centre and received my maps and directions. I was advised that at 3.00pm, I was to meet my guide who would take me around Tanabe and to my Purifying Ceremony at the Shinto Temple. This I was not aware of, but really enjoyed and ceratinly set me up for a fantastic trip.

The hike was 10 days, with
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First day out of Tanabe, off the suburban roads and onto the Pilgrim Trail
2 days travelling and a one day rest day at Hongu, covering just over 100kms. Most days were not long, the longest day being the first day out of Tanabe, which was 22kms. Most days quite short, but track was in some places quite rough as it was cobbled and an old Pilgrims Path. The solitude and beauty however was great, walking through the forests which had been walked for centuries by Pilgrims was very spiritual and gave you a real calmness. With typical Japanese efficiency, everything worked like clockwork, buses and trains arrived spot on time, my luggage was always at the next accomodation when I arrived and meals were served right on time. Also most of the accomodation had their own Onsens, which were great to slowly slide into after a great days hiking. The temples were also beautiful and the exercise of getting the stamps in your Credencial became a joy as most were also quite beautiful. After overnighting in Katsuura, the next days train journey back to was nice and I booked back into the same hotel in had used on arriving in Osaka at Wakayame.

The flight back to LA from Osaka with Japan
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Day 2 and walking through lonely paths with lovely foliage
Airlines, was good and on arriving back in LA my wife told me she had booked us a few days in Las Vegas ! So I went from being on a Shinto Pilgrimage to Sin City ! That Life !!

This was first attempt to self guide which I enjoyed immensely, being able to set my own pace, enjoy the peace of the trail and stop when I wanted too. I guess I only went half way, as I had booked through a tour operator and let them do all the bookings and not carry my pack either. That would be another challenge for another trek.


Additional photos below
Photos: 16, Displayed: 16


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Day 2 and the track changes to a rough path
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Lovely Trail
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Huge Shinto gate at Hongu
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Steps up to Shinto Temple at Hongu
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Shinto Temple at Hongu
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Shinto Temple at Hongu
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Cobbled Pilgramage path
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View from Trail across to river
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Beautiful calmness on long stretches of the trail
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Just walking along and a deer stands eating at the side of the trail. Just looks at me and keeps eating. A lovely moment.
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The famous three tiered temple and waterfall at Nachi
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Another view of Temple at Nachi
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Steps down from temple on way to Katsuura. Would have been tough climbing up


Tot: 2.916s; Tpl: 0.02s; cc: 13; qc: 27; dbt: 0.0186s; 2; m:saturn w:www (104.131.125.221); sld: 1; ; mem: 1.3mb