Tagged Pilgrimage

The Shikoku Pilgrimage (四国遍路)

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

Kumano Kodō Day 1: Kōya-san

On my return trip to Shikoku in late October, I alluded to an upcoming expedition. I spent six days walking the Kohechi route of the Kumano Kodō pilgrimage and now, as 2016 comes to a close, I’ve managed to pull together a full report. Read more

Outdoor Gear Review

Unlike outdoor adventures I’ve undertaken before, the Shikoku Pilgrimage is unique in that you’re rarely far from civilisation and that it takes upwards of 7 weeks to complete. This means you don’t need to worry about food or cooking equipment but any gear you carry needs to be extremely durable and light. Read more

Pilgrimage Epilogue

Arriving at my apartment in Tokyo on Tuesday at noon, part of me didn’t want to unpack the bag that had been strapped to my back for most of the past two months. After all the endings of the last few days at Ōkubo-ji, Ryōzen-ji and Kōya-san, this was the moment when I knew the adventure was over and it was time to face a new beginning. Read more