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Kumano Kodo featured in the Financial Times

"Japan's Kumano Kodo pilgrimage trail"
Text: Andrew Eames
Published by the Financial Times
April 3, 2015

"Portentous thunder was booming around the hills as we walked through the arch at Hosshinmon-oji. It was like a drumroll of the gods, acknowledging our progress through this “gate of aspiration for enlightenment”, the last of the concentric rings of shrines before our final destination.

Imitation lightning made from zigzags of paper and hung around the shrine’s altar began to jigger under the impact of heavy drops of rain. Up above, real lightning chose that moment to produce its own kind of enlightenment, as if the gods had instructed their paparazzi to record our passing.

All in all it seemed rather unnecessary to try to attract any more godly attention by rattling the shrine’s bell but to do so is part of the ritual of every pilgrim at every shrine along the route, so I did my bit. After I’d rattled, I followed the supplicant procedure: put money in the box, clap — a puny sound amid all that thunder — and make a wish. Then we pressed on, another stage completed.

There were four of us walking, led by local tourism director Brad Towle, and we only had 7km remaining before we reached the Hongu Taisha and journey’s end, but by now the storm was right above us and water was pouring in rivers off our umbrellas. After a couple of kilometres we ducked for cover into the state-sponsored teahouse at Fushiogami-oji, where pilgrims habitually fell on their knees at the first glimpse of their final destination. But visibility was down to less than 300m so, over a coffee made by smiling ladies using water from spiritually significant volcanic springs, we took stock."


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NEW Ise-Kumano-Wakayama Area Tourist Pass

NEW Ise-Kumano-Wakayama Area Tourist Pass
This is an easy way to do a loop of the Kii Peninsula.

From July 15, 2016 (Friday)
PRICE Adult 11,000 yen Children 5,500 yen (Children 6 to 11 years old)
NOTE: This pass is not available for purchase in Japan.
VALIDITY PERIOD Five consecutive days
AREA ●JR conventional lines: Nagoya-Shingu-within Osaka City (via lse Tetsudo Line or Kameyama, via Kisei Main Line/Hanwa Line) ●Nagoya-Kameyama-Nara-within Osaka City (via Kansai Main Line) Taki Toba (Sangu Line) ●Kansai International Airport-Hineno (Kansai Airport Line) ●Bus routes for accessing Kumano Kodo, Kumano Hongu Taisha, Kumano Nachi Taisha (Only Kumano Kotsu Bus); and Select bus routes
TRAIN TYPES ●Unlimited use of non-reserved seats on ordinary cars on all JR conventional line trains in the subject section. ●Reserved seats can be used up to four times on ordinary cars of limited express and rapid trains. ●Only non-reserved seats can be used on the limited express "Haruka' between the Kansai Inte…