The Kumano region sits well south of Osaka in the mountains of the Kii peninsula. Kumano includes Koyasan which is more accessible and popular. But venture further south along the ancient roads linking to the shrines and temples of Kumano Sanzan is worth the effort and hours getting there.
In 2004, the UNESCO declared The Sacred Sites and Pilgrimage Routes in the Kii Mountain Range as World Heritage. This lush and rugged area has been considered the abode of the gods and worshipped for centuries.
Walking routes are easily signposted, and cater for the long trekker, or day walkers. There are greatly detailed trail maps available, divided into sections. These include the routes, village details, suggested timings, transport options and lodgings. Most importantly for us older folk – a gradient chart!
Sample the Tsugizakura-oji to Kumano Hongu section map.
The mountainous areas are spectacular. Our group jagged a day in June after rain when low mist hung mysteriously in isolated valleys.
This is a great place. Walk the spiritual Kumano Kodo pilgrimage route. Finish a section of the walk, then soak and relax in the waters of an isolated onsen or even in riverside rotenburo. Like this one!
I have to say that there is lots of great information available to explore and enjoy the many sacred sites and pilgrimage routes in the Kii mountains. A few that I found very useful were: