From Japan

Land of the Rising Sun

Mt. Kumotori Snow Hike

In recent years I’ve discovered the joys of hiking in Japan, where all levels of experience are catered for with well-maintained trails and some of the best mountain huts in the world. Up until this January, I’d never ventured out during the winter and, as this trip proved, I was missing out! Read more

Kumano Kodō Day 6: Shingū

My final day on the Kumano Kodō was spent travelling down to Shingū (新宮市), a small city on the southern coast of Wakayama. Instead of hiking, I took a traditional boat down the Kumano-gawa River as pilgrims have been doing for centuries. Read more

Kumano Kodō Day 5: Hongū

A gloriously bright morning greeted me on Day 5, the Kumano-gawa River acting as a perfect mirror to the mountains and sky above. Leaving the ryokan just before 8 am, I walked back to the Hatenashi-toge pass trailhead by way of Yanagimoto-bashi bridge. Read more

Kumano Kodō Day 4: Totsukawa Onsen

It rained hard overnight and the valley was shrouded in mist when I awoke at 5 am to the sound of breakfast cooking in the adjacent kitchen. I dozed off till breakfast at 7 am, another feast of local ingredients. Read more

Kumano Kodō Day 3: Miura-guchi

After a fitful nights sleep, I awoke early on Day 3 and had a healthy breakfast of fish, rice and salad before heading out the door at 8.30am. My legs were starting to feel the strain but I was in high spirits. Read more

Kumano Kodō Day 2: Omata

After a good nights sleep at Sekisho-in temple, I got up early to attend the 7 am morning prayer service. It was cold to the bone in the main hall which I was surprised to find packed to overflowing with adherents and curious bystanders like myself. I sat next to a mother with her disabled son who had a special prayer said for him. Read more