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BBC article about Koyasan

Bradypus

Moderator
Staff member
Camino(s) past & future
Too many and too often!
An interesting and beautifully illustrated article about Koyasan - a temple town which is headquarters for the Shingon Buddhist sect behind the Shikoku 88 temple pilgrimage and also one of the starting points for the Kumano Kodo which links major Shinto shrines. Slightly confusingly the headline photograph is actually from one of the Kumano Kodo shrines about 100km away. Having walked from one to the other in May I can personally testify that they are a long way apart 😉
 

Jean Ti

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
.
Thank you for the link, I would like to walk in Japan and i understand they also have caminos too. I wonder if it is very expansive to walk in Japan caminos?
 

Bradypus

Moderator
Staff member
Camino(s) past & future
Too many and too often!
Thank you for the link, I would like to walk in Japan and i understand they also have caminos too. I wonder if it is very expansive to walk in Japan caminos?
Depends very much on the route you choose and the type of accommodation. There are two main Japanese pilgrimage routes which foreigners walk: the Shikoku 88 temple circuit (Buddhist) and the Kumano Kodo (mainly Shinto shrines). Neither have the sort of albergue network that you may be used to from walking in Spain. On the Kumano Kodo routes accommodation is mostly in small and quite expensive minshuku - traditional Japanese style. The short supply means that they are often fully booked weeks or even months in advance. The Shikoku circuit is much longer and there is a very wide variety of accommodation for pilgrims: free rooms in some temples, hostels, minshuku, business hotels or very basic covered shelters for those who carry mats and sleeping bags and are willing to sleep rough. Day-to-day costs for food and so on are not necessarily very expensive and can compare quite well with most of Europe at the budget end of the market. Cheaper than my own home country - UK - for example.
 

Jean Ti

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
.
Thank you for your reply, I will try to locate their web site for more details.
 

Bradypus

Moderator
Staff member
Camino(s) past & future
Too many and too often!
Thank you for your reply, I will try to locate their web site for more details.
As far as I know there is no official website for the Shikoku pilgrimage. Lots of information available online from other sources though. This website gives a useful introduction: https://www.jpilgrim.com/ . For up to date information there is an active Facebook group with both Japanese and foreign members - some of them Shikoku residents: https://www.facebook.com/groups/30817087712/

There is a website for the Kumano Kodo which gives lots of practical information and links to the Tanabe tourist office who organise most of the accommodation and other services: http://www.tb-kumano.jp/en/kumano-kodo/ There is also an English-language Facebook group for the Kumano Kodo: https://www.facebook.com/groups/kumanokodoplanning/
 

Jean Ti

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
.
As far as I know there is no official website for the Shikoku pilgrimage. Lots of information available online from other sources though. This website gives a useful introduction: https://www.jpilgrim.com/ . For up to date information there is an active Facebook group with both Japanese and foreign members - some of them Shikoku residents: https://www.facebook.com/groups/30817087712/

There is a website for the Kumano Kodo which gives lots of practical information and links to the Tanabe tourist office who organise most of the accommodation and other services: http://www.tb-kumano.jp/en/kumano-kodo/ There is also an English-language Facebook group for the Kumano Kodo: https://www.facebook.com/groups/kumanokodoplanning/
Great ! Thank you!
 

Raggy

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
2017, 2018, 2019
Slightly confusingly the headline photograph is actually from one of the Kumano Kodo shrines about 100km away.
Perhaps Auntie Beeb is listening to you - The thumbnail image on your link shows Nachi Taisha but the headline graphic on the BBC site is now a Jizo statue with a red bib, which may well be on Koya san, although similar stone figures are to be found all over Japan:
 

Bradypus

Moderator
Staff member
Camino(s) past & future
Too many and too often!
Perhaps Auntie Beeb is listening to you
I think so. I found an email address for the website's photo editor and pointed out that their headline image was not in Koyasan. The photo was changed fairly soon after I sent the email. That Jizo might well be in Koyasan. There are quite a few in Okunoin and the bridge in the background is also of a very familiar style. I grew very fond of the Jizos I met on Shikoku and the Kumano Kodo. There is one whose special interest is in curing back pain. I made sure to leave him an offering :cool:
backache2.jpgbackache1.jpg
 
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tominrm

Hiking to Celebrate the End of Working Life.
Camino(s) past & future
CF(2014,2019)
del Norte ( 2015)
Portuguese ( 2016)
Primitivo ( 2017)
VdlP (2018)
I walked (and took buses and trains) Shigoku 88 Temple Pilgrimage and walked one of Kumamoto Kodo routes to qualify Dual Pilgrimage certificates.
As for the expenses it cost me about US$100 a day including occasional transportation. Ryokan costs $40-65 a day sometimes with dinner and breakfast. Transportation and food are expensive. Many Japanese get their meals from “convini” (Convenient Store 7-Eleven).
2020 Tokyo Olympics will draw huge crowd to the country next year so be aware of that if you plan to go.
 

Rex

One Step at a Time
Camino(s) past & future
SJPdP to Santiago (2013)
Lisboa to Santiago (2018)
via Francigena (1st Half ~ 6/2021)
Walked the last 15 miles up to Koyasan in 2012 and spent two nights with the monks in one of the monasteries. This walk was prompted by an earlier visit to Koyasan via the tram to the top of the mountain. Walking in the cemetery at Koyasan at night was one of the truly holy experiences of my life. Discussions with one of the monks prompted my pilgrimage on the CF. While daily costs are relatively high in Japan, the experiences are worth the cost. It really helps to keep costs down if you book your lodging months in advance or use a travel agent who specializes in Japanese travel. The monks are lovely people and it is worth your time to arise and attend early morning prayers (chants) with them. Amazing how much they remind me of Gregorian chants of many Roman Catholic monasteries, both in rhythm, melody and intonations. Definitely worth the trip.
 

jujubery

Member
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Francis (2017)
Via Francigena Italy portion (April 2018)
Good day all.
Bradypus, I see you went to Japan in May. My husband and I plan on trekking the 88 Temples in April and May of 2020. What was your weather like? and did you have a problem with the end of April, "Golden Week" festival, finding accommodations? Were accommodations hard to come by?
Thanks,
Juju
 

kazrobbo

Tassie Kaz
Camino(s) past & future
CF 2012
CP 2015
St Olavs Norway 2016
88T Japan 2017
PWC/VF 2019
Israel 2020 X
Wales CP 21?
KK?
VdlP?
My husband and I plan on trekking the 88 Temples in April and May of 2020. What was your weather like? and did you have a problem with the end of April, "Golden Week" festival, finding accommodations? Were accommodations hard to come by?
Thanks,
Juju
I walked the entire 88 Temples route in April & May 2017. The weather was cool to begin with which delayed the cherry blossoms but quickly warmed up. Shikoku is sub-tropical so you can expect some humid conditions. I only had a few rainy days & walking in spring avoids typhoon season.
Golden 'Week' (actually 10-12 days) can range from a mild inconvenience to a bit of a nightmare...I experienced both but its not insurmountable. Knowing I'd be in a popular area during GW, I booked as much accom as I could well in advance but still ended up off trail & having to skip ahead by bus. No major accom issues the rest of the time.
The Way of 88 Temples is far & away my favourite of all the long distance walks I've done. I'd do it again in a heartbeat & at the same time of year...wouldn't change a thing.
Visiting Mt Koyasan is both a traditional and lovely way to end your pilgrimage. And the cherry blossoms...they really are something. 🌸
Gambatte 😊
👣 🌏
 
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Bradypus

Moderator
Staff member
Camino(s) past & future
Too many and too often!
Bradypus, I see you went to Japan in May. My husband and I plan on trekking the 88 Temples in April and May of 2020. What was your weather like? and did you have a problem with the end of April, "Golden Week" festival, finding accommodations? Were accommodations hard to come by?
I deliberately timed my visit to avoid Golden Week and arrived a few days later. No particular problems in finding accommodation in mid-May this year. The weather was mostly excellent for walking - a couple of rainy days but mostly dry and with comfortable day time walking temperatures without the excessive heat and humidity of the summer. I arrived in Osaka on 16 May and flew out from Tokyo on 5 June.
 


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