Kumano Kodo Day Four

Our last steps on the Kumano Kodo
A moving meditation

Our last steps on the Kumano Kodo…

Search ‘Kumano’ for our three other posts.

Leaving Koguchi, the Ogumotori-goe ascension “passing over the clouds”
Sunbeams alight the path
Warodi-ishi with the three Kumano deities (Mercy, Healing and Compassion) in divine conversation
The lightness of being
An attitude of gratitude
Pausing in wonder, steeping in awe
A thousand years ago, poetry recitals
Unspoken respect for fellow travellers, past and present
The remains of Kuso-no Kubo where pilgrims lodged until a hundred years ago
“This route is very rough and difficult; it is impossible to describe precisely how tough it is.” Poet Fujiwara Teika’s pilgrimage diary from the year 1201
All souls touch the earth
A Butsuzo shrine keeps the silence
Echizen-toge pass, the highest elevation on the Kumano Kodo Nakahechi trail
A bodhisattva, one of the 33 between Echizen-toge pass and Fuanami-toge pass
“Beautyway,” a spiritual invocation of the exterior landscape
In the mist, mysticism
A staircase of stone mossed by time
Monks at Nachi Taisha practice Shugendo, an ancient religion based on knowledge obtained on the path resulting from ascetic practices of divine natural powers
At the endpoint of our trek representing the deity of Mercy, one of the three most  sacred places on the Kumano Kodo—Nachi Taisha with its three components: the shrine, the Seiganto-ji temple and the Nachi-no-Otaki waterfalls
“I wish you breathe the fresh air here, and drink water and make some room in your heart to feel something. And if you feel that, I am very grateful.” Ryoei Takagi, Shugendo Monk, Nachi Taisha


Bashō., Matsuo. Narrow Road to the Interior. Boston: Shambhala, 1991.

We found the quote from Ryoei Takagi at Blue Dot Perspective.

CNN Travel has a good article about the Kumano Kodo, what it calls “the world’s best unknown hike.”

An article in enRoute magazine introduced us to the Kumano Kodo.

We found out more about the trail from the Japan Visitor site.

Kumano Travel was our one-stop centre for the Kumano Kodo. We booked all of our accommodation, meals (except for Day Three’s lunch as you read!) and transportation for all of our luggage to arrive at each night’s destination. Flawless service. Their website has great maps and audio tapes and all kinds of information about the various trails.

Photo Credits: The feature image in this post was taken by Ward, as was the photo of the mossed-stone walkway and the picture of Nachi Taisha, its 133-metre waterfalls the tallest in Japan.

Kumano Kodo Hike Info

Total distance: 16343 m
Total climbing: 1630 m

Day 4     Cumulative

Total Distance      16.3 km      68.9 km

Total Ascent        1,320 m     4,428 m

Total Descent      1,058 m     4,131 m

6 Responses

  1. Wow – wonderful pictures – talk about elevation change etc on this hike – the same as the Grouse Grind…….but then you have to hike down – not take the gondola! Enjoy Mexico and the heat!

    1. To prepare, from my backpack I removed my sunglasses case, all Kleenex except for one, a pencil…it was as light as the wind. And strangely enough, despite the elevation changes, none of us found it to be a difficult day. It was, as we said, a moving meditation through this beautiful ancient forest.

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