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Travel Book Japan's Kumano Kodo Pilgrimage

Guidebook to walking Japan's Kumano Kodo, a network of ancient pilgrimage trails on the Kii Peninsula, south of Osaka.

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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.

About the Author

Originally from Melbourne, after graduating from university, Katrina Davis moved to Japan. Working as an adventure tour guide in Japan helped Kat develop her skills to seek out the local hotspots and also develop a love for hiking. 'A wise man climbs Mt Fuji, a fool climbs it twice' is a popular Japanese saying, so Kat climbed it 7 times. From Japan to Canada to London where Kat is now based, she quit her office job in 2013 to walk the Camino de Santiago and has never looked back. She has since completed seven Caminos and walked over 10,000km in Spain, Portugal, England, Italy, Japan and America, including the 4240km Pacific Crest Trail from Mexico to Canada.

Table of Contents
  • Contents
  • 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 中辺路
  • Route 2 Nakahechi route
  • Stage 1 Takijiri-oji 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 高野山 – Choishimichi 町石道
  • Route 3 Choishimichi route
  • Kohechi 小辺路
  • 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 伊勢路
  • 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

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Additional information

Davis, Kat
Cicerone Press Limited
Year of publication
31 July 2019
Number of pages
USD 27.95

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