Week 5 in Japan rounded out our Kumano Kodo Pilgrimage on the Kii Peninsula.
Here is where we spent those days:
- Kumano Kodo & Gorge
- Katsuura, Nachi, & Nagoya
- Nagoya & Yamaguchi
- Akiyoshidai & Asa
- Asa & Matsue
- Matsue & Kanazawa
- Kanazawa & Wajima
Val found the Kumano Kodo Pilgrimage on the National Geographic website. After the Onaida Nature Trail I was a little hesitant to go on another Japanese hike, but since National Geographic recommended it, we thought it shouldn’t be too hard, so we began our pilgrimage. The beginning of our hike began in a slight sprinkle but it eventually dried out. The cloud formations and atmosphere or the whole hike was miraculous. With the mist rolling in through the woods, the bright orange crabs crawling by, dark red wood chips covering the walkway, and the bright green leaves, the pilgrimage was interesting, but not as easy of a hike as we had hoped. At one point, we came out at a hilltop village surrounded by rice fields all the way near the top of this mountain range in the Kii Peninsula. By this time, we were completely exhausted, even though it was only six in the evening. We opted to set up our home and go to sleep. The next day we finished our pilgrimage, which ended at the next closest bus stop that would take us to the shrines.
We eventually made our way the Grand Nachi Shrine, which was located by one of the tallest waterfalls in Japan. At the top of the stairs to the shrine, we were greeted by the unforgettable scent of incense. The pagoda with the waterfall in the distance was remarkable, even now it looks like it was photo-shopped, and the experience was surreal. The shrine was one of the best that we visited and the different shops that lined some of the walk-ways were nice. I found a fantastic re-usable bag for Val.
Leaving the Kii Peninsula we headed for Nagoya, which is also the closest connection to the Shinkansen to our next location. Interestingly we could not find a park in Nagoya to camp out in, but we did find a park-ish area that was around the Nagoya Noh Theater and that is where we slept. It was a great find for us. It was a little farther away from traffic, so it was quieter. In addition, it had less foot traffic as well, so we were able to sleep in.
After visiting a few other destinations, we eventually made it to Kanazawa. Before leaving this destination for the rice fields, we had to check out the castle. We had previously checked out Himeji Castle, but could not enter the main castle as it is under renovation. Here was us hoping we could see the interior of Kanazawa Castle…alas the actual castle was destroyed hundreds of years ago and they are working on reconstructing the castle following old photos, plans, and pieces that had survived from the original.