Let’s Walk the Ancient Kumano Kodo Road, Japan
Time and Distance of the Trails
There are no set rules, and the trails you choose, one may choose a strenuous route and hike all day, take a bus, or just a few hours hike.
The Nakahechi Trail
· Nakahechi, means Imperial, this is the most difficult and exciting trail to take. There are three shrines on this route. In ancient times hiking the trails of Kumano Sanzan, at Hongu, from here you may visit the other two shrines, you can take one of two routed through the mountains visiting the water-fall Nachi NoTaki, or along the Kumano Gawi River ending in the village of Shingu.
· You may take a bus to these ancient shrines if hiking is not for you. There are old farms with ancient houses on them. If you are up for a short hike say 30 minutes from Takahara and then about 30 more minutes’ walk from the bus stop to Tsugizakura.
· Experienced hikers and climbers will hike about 8 more hours from Tsugizakara
· Kumano Heritage Center, very close to Kumano Hongū Taisha, a very well done and modern cultural preservation center, here you will see professional museum quality displays about the ancient shrines and route.
· You can take a bus to the 3 joined hot springs from Hongu, here you will see the villages a stream swiftly cuts through the village center. There are Japanese traditional huts you can stay overnight, where you can experience the baths both indoors and out. There are also larger accommodations you may choose to stay in this ancient village.
The Kumano Kodo trails as you can see is a once in a lifetime experience. It is impossible to cover everything this ancient World Heritage site has to offer in one article. This is a historical spiritual cleansing experience, if getting away from the norm is what you are seeking and speaking to the world through this old Japanese tradition, it is highly recommend booking your stay in advance.
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