The Kumano Kodo pilgrimage “Kohechi route” survey hike was held for 4 days from October 28th, as a part of the bilateral Kumano Kodo promotion project between Tanabe city and Totsukawa-mura village of Nara prefecture. The goal of this project was to experience firsthand the pilgrimage route and assess the infrastructure along the way.
The Kohechi route is located in the middle of the Kii peninsula and connects Koyasan and Kumano Hongu Taisha. It is approximately 70 kilometers long and runs over three challenging high mountainous passes of ~1000 meters in elevation. It is not a technical route but is a demanding walk and should be only attempted by those with experience walking in a mountainous environment.
We started from Kongoubuchi temple in Koyasan and walked 56kms through Nosegawa-mura village, Totsukawa-mura village onto our final destination, Kumano Hongu Taisha.
After walking this demanding route we were able to recharge during the evening with Onsen and delicious meals made with authentic, fresh ingredients from the mountains.
We heard the cries of Japanese deer from afar and discovered watering holes of wild bore. It was certainly something special and extraordinary to experience this natural environment so intimately. Historical remains are also attractions along the Kohechi route.
Kumano has been believed as a sacred land for dead/pilgrims to be reborn/revived anew since prehistoric times. In a way we experienced the feeling of being reborn through the walking process. We would love to have more visitors walk in Kumano to feel the history and nature of this spiritual region.