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LIVE from the Camino Camino kodo- Japan day 1

Theandrea

New Member
Camino(s) past & future
May 2015, March 2016, January 2017
#1
Oh what a different experience! We doing the dual pilgrimage and are in Japan at the moment to complete the dual Camino . Santiago saw me already 4 times and we are now eligible to get the dual pilgrimage status after we complete the Camino Komodo kodo .
It's a little different than on the Camino in Spain. Pilgrimage in Japan is about visiting important temples and pray at them or show gratitude. You don't have to walk a certain km amount but you must visit certain temples.
We started today at mt Fuji temple and walked around he mountain at 2300 attitude. It was very cold, foggy and awesome. Unfortunately the holy mountain didn't show up . It was too shy ! (Maybe it was the fog but I like to believe it was us being intimating). We walked a bit around the mountain at 2300 meters. Headache from a too quick up journey. All good now at the bottom of th mountain. He is still shy though. I wonder if we see him at all! Next stop is tanabe the start of a 6 day temple walk.
 

Attachments

Camino(s) past & future
Camino Mozarabe Almeria (2017)
Cherhill to Canterbury - Pilgrims' Way (2018)
Via Francigena (2019)
#3
The Kii peninsula is so beautiful. Try to find hot springs (onsen) to relax at the end of the day. Outside some onsen you may see benches around a footbath - ashi-no-yu. Best feeling ever after a long walk.
 
Camino(s) past & future
Samos-Santiago (2015)
Samos-Santiago (May 2016
Porto-Santiago (May 2017)
Kumano Kodo (March 2018)
#4
Have a great time! I climbed to the summit of Fuji in July 1999 and saw the sunrise at then end of the trek. Just walked the Kumano Kodo in March of this year. I love Japan and wish you the best pilgrimage.

The onsens or a soak in a hot tub are the best remedy for sore muscles. Enjoy!
 
Camino(s) past & future
Samos-Santiago (2015)
Samos-Santiago (May 2016
Porto-Santiago (May 2017)
Kumano Kodo (March 2018)
#6
What’s a “dual pilgrimage”?
A “Dual Pilgrim” is someone who has walked the required minimum distance of both UNESCO-inscribed World Heritage Pilgrimage Routes.

There is a dual Pilgrim credencial that can be used for both a Camino and the Kumano Kodo or you can use your Camino de Santiago credencial and the Kumano Kodo credencial as proof of completion.

Filling out the required form at the office is pretty easy. A nice washi paper certificate is issued to mark this recognition/achievement.
 
Camino(s) past & future
Samos-Santiago (2015)
Samos-Santiago (May 2016
Porto-Santiago (May 2017)
Kumano Kodo (March 2018)
#7

Bradypus

Antediluvian
Camino(s) past & future
Too many and too often!
#8
Wow, I was number 1,011 in March 2018! That’s almost 500 in just the last six months and it took three years to reach 1,000 Dual Pilgrims.
I received my Dual Pilgrim certificate at Kumano Hongu Taisha at the end of March. I didn't note which number I was in the list though. I have since heard on various internet groups of a number of people who received one around the same time or later. It seems they are becoming better known and more often requested.
 

Morgan Holmes

Every day is a path to walk.
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances to Santiago from SJPDP (2014); Fromistá to Santiago (2018).
#9
The dual pilgrimage is a fascinating prospect. I read Gideon Krauss-Lewis' book about doing the CF and the Shin Ko Ku pilgrimages back-to-back, and was amazed by his account of the Japanese route around the north island. May I ask for a clarification? Does one have to obtain the dual pilgrim credencial in Santiago before heading to Japan? or vice versa? Or is it possible to obtain one by post?
 

Bradypus

Antediluvian
Camino(s) past & future
Too many and too often!
#10
The dual pilgrimage is a fascinating prospect. I read Gideon Krauss-Lewis' book about doing the CF and the Shin Ko Ku pilgrimages back-to-back, and was amazed by his account of the Japanese route around the north island. May I ask for a clarification? Does one have to obtain the dual pilgrim credencial in Santiago before heading to Japan? or vice versa? Or is it possible to obtain one by post?
Just to be clear: the Kumano Kodo and the Shikoku 88 temple pilgrimage circuit are two very different routes. On different islands. And one is focussed on Buddhist temples and the other on three major Shinto shrines. Try not to confuse the two :)

I do not know if it is possible to obtain a certificate by post. If you have already completed a Camino you should take either your Compostela or your credencial with you to Japan. I took the credencial I had used when walking the Camino Portugues and which was stamped as complete by the pilgrim office in Santiago. You can then collect a Japanese credencial from a number of places - mine came from the tourist office in Kii-Tanabe. There are stamps in boxes at many of the smaller shrines along the Kumano Kodo routes. Stamp your credencial at each as you pass by. I presented my Spanish credencial and my Japanese one at the office near the Hongu shrine and received my certificate there. Like the Caminos there are a number of different qualifying routes. The most popular route - the Nakahechi trail - is about 40km and mostly through forest and small villages. A beautiful path.

http://www.tb-kumano.jp/en/world-heritage/dual-pilgrim/

kk2.jpg
 

Morgan Holmes

Every day is a path to walk.
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances to Santiago from SJPDP (2014); Fromistá to Santiago (2018).
#11
Just to be clear: the Kumano Kodo and the Shikoku 88 temple pilgrimage circuit are two very different routes. On different islands. And one is focussed on Buddhist temples and the other on three major Shinto shrines. Try not to confuse the two :)

I do not know if it is possible to obtain a certificate by post. If you have already completed a Camino you should take either your Compostela or your credencial with you to Japan. I took the credencial I had used when walking the Camino Portugues and which was stamped as complete by the pilgrim office in Santiago. You can then collect a Japanese credencial from a number of places - mine came from the tourist office in Kii-Tanabe. There are stamps in boxes at many of the smaller shrines along the Kumano Kodo routes. Stamp your credencial at each as you pass by. I presented my Spanish credencial and my Japanese one at the office near the Hongu shrine and received my certificate there. Like the Caminos there are a number of different qualifying routes. The most popular route - the Nakahechi trail - is about 40km and mostly through forest and small villages. A beautiful path.

http://www.tb-kumano.jp/en/world-heritage/dual-pilgrim/

View attachment 46693
Yes; thank you. I'm aware they are very different and only the Kumano Kodo is a UNESCO site. I merely said that I had read a fascinating book about a Japanese and SDC pilgrimage being paired and that I was therefore interested in this latter offering.

Thank you for the information about being able to take one's original certificate(s) from Camino. I have 1200kms under my belt and two compostelas, so I can consider this dual pilgrimage option.
 

Bradypus

Antediluvian
Camino(s) past & future
Too many and too often!
#12
Yes; thank you. I'm aware they are very different and only the Kumano Kodo is a UNESCO site. I merely said that I had read a fascinating book about a Japanese and SDC pilgrimage being paired and that I was therefore interested in this latter offering.
My apologies - it was not my intention to be sarcastic. Although this thread is about the Kumano Kodo your post only mentioned Shikoku and the two pilgrimages are often confused. I think that Shikoku has now become better known than the Kumano Kodo worldwide and it is often assumed that the Camino twinning is with Shikoku. I hoped to clarify this for those who may be following this thread.
 

tominrm

Hiking to Celebrate the End of Working Life.
Camino(s) past & future
CF(2014)
del Norte ( 2015)
Portuguese ( 2016)
Primitivo ( 2017)
VdlP (2018)
#13
I arrived yesterday (Sept 26). This is what I saw outside of the Hongu Taisha Information Center. It closes at five, 3 minutes before I got there so I did not get my Dual Pilgrim certificate yet.

It had been wet two days from the starting point (Takijiri Oji) to the temple (Hongu Taisha).
Workers are seen repairing the path damaged by the big storm about a month ago.

Does anyone know if someone in Santiago de Compostela issue Dual Pilgrim certificate? I met a French couple and talked about this Dual Pilgrim. They will get Japanese Pilgrim first hoping to do Camino de Santiago soon.
 

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Bradypus

Antediluvian
Camino(s) past & future
Too many and too often!
#14
Does anyone know if someone in Santiago de Compostela issue Dual Pilgrim certificate? I met a French couple and talked about this Dual Pilgrim. They will get Japanese Pilgrim first hoping to do Camino de Santiago soon.
I had a Facebook chat about this earlier today. A friend told me that when he registered as a Dual Pilgrim in Santiago he was given the souvenir pin badge but there was no certificate (unlike the Hongu Taisha office who give a multilingual one).
 
Camino(s) past & future
Francés ('14/'15)
St Olav/Francés ('16)
Baztanés/Francés ('17)
Ingles ('18)
#15
A news item from Spain today says that the total number of Dual Pilgrim certificates issued since their introduction in 2015 is now reaching 1,500.
Well, whatever it takes to get people out walking...;)
Would anyone want to do this without the certificate? Very clever marketing, I must say.

I am hoping to do this pilgrimage and part of the Shikoku pilgrimage next year - it's been on my radar for a while, and I really look forward to it...
 

Bradypus

Antediluvian
Camino(s) past & future
Too many and too often!
#16
Would anyone want to do this without the certificate? Very clever marketing, I must say.
Me for one :) I probably would not have travelled from the UK to Japan just to walk the 40km of the Nakahechi Kumano Kodo. But I had just spent about 7 weeks walking the Shikoku 88 temple circuit and then completing that pilgrimage by visiting Koyasan: the headquarters of the Shingon sect and the burial place of Kukai. With time to spare before my flight home I was very well placed - geographically, physically and financially - to make a short additional walk based around Shinto shrines. Having walked to Kumano Hongu Taisha I felt that I had walked enough for the moment and visited the other two Kumano grand shrines by bus and train. I enjoyed the Nakahechi trail so much that I hope to return some day to walk more of the Kumano paths. The recent massive typhoon caused serious damage to the route I am most interested in and I will be keeping an eye open for news of its reopening. The last estimate I saw is that it may not be walkable until spring.
 
Camino(s) past & future
CF December 2017
#18
I just typed in Kumano Kodo to YouTube and up comes a Dual Pilgrim “How To” Series developed by the Japanese Tourist Bureau. It explains dual pilgrim status. I’m now really interested. I’m off to Japan January 2020 - wasn’t planning to walk, but now might change my mind. Thought the winter might be too harsh for walking but will check it out.
 

Bradypus

Antediluvian
Camino(s) past & future
Too many and too often!
#19
Thought the winter might be too harsh for walking but will check it out.
The Kumano tourist office states that the longer and more mountainous Kohechi route is generally closed because of snow from December to March but the more popular Nakahechi route remains walkable all year round. There is a very good map booklet and guide for the Nakahechi route handed out free by the tourist office in Kii-Tanabe or downloadable from their website here: http://www2.tb-kumano.jp/en/kumano-kodo/pdf/Kumano-Kodo-Nakahechi-Route-Maps-Complete.pdf
 
Camino(s) past & future
Frances 2014
Portuguese 2015
Via Francigena 2016
Kumano Kodo, Japan 2017
VdlP 2018 to be cont’d
#20
The Nakahechi Route is possible in February — I had cold, frosty, dry days on my walk. It was extremely quiet though and I did not see any other walkers aside from a deer in the forest, standing ahead of me on the path. The lady at the minshuku that night said that it was very good luck. Another reason I loved that route.
 

tominrm

Hiking to Celebrate the End of Working Life.
Camino(s) past & future
CF(2014)
del Norte ( 2015)
Portuguese ( 2016)
Primitivo ( 2017)
VdlP (2018)
#21
I got my Dual Pulgrim certificate this morning Sept 27).
My serial number, they said, is 1533. It is not written on it. It is on their record book.

Here is what I see the dilemma Kumano Kodo faces. They want to attract foreigners as much as possible using innovative marketing ploy of Dual Pilgrim, they want to preserve the ancient , sacred paths. Making it more attractive to others who not really motivated means providing more convenient facilities such as more lodging, restaurants, even vending machines along the way. Right now it can be very hard for those who are not used hiking the trail with steep slopes (there are so many man-made steps). It’s only 40 some km, but it is brutal two days. Even if you want to make it in three days, you may have manageable first two days, but the third is hard. I am just speaking for myself. Maybe others find it is not bad. I met a man from Switzerland in his thirties this morning and he was carrying full-camping gear and walk the route in opposite direction from Hongu Taisha. He is not interested in any certificates.
 

tominrm

Hiking to Celebrate the End of Working Life.
Camino(s) past & future
CF(2014)
del Norte ( 2015)
Portuguese ( 2016)
Primitivo ( 2017)
VdlP (2018)
#22
This picture shows how onsen eggs are prepared. Put eggs in a net and hang in the public onsen. 13 minutes. The temperature of this onsen is, according to the info on the wall, is 90 degree C. It takes 13 minutes to cook. Onsen eggs are, usually, medium hard. I saw another man hanging a basket with bunch of sweet potatoes. I have no idea how long it takes to cook (neither the man). He came every 5 minutes or so with a chop stick to poke to see if cooked. 8BFC8CA7-B133-4CF8-AC11-C63E5449DD32.jpeg
 

Bradypus

Antediluvian
Camino(s) past & future
Too many and too often!
#23
Right now it can be very hard for those who are not used hiking the trail with steep slopes (there are so many man-made steps). It’s only 40 some km, but it is brutal two days. Even if you want to make it in three days, you may have manageable first two days, but the third is hard. I am just speaking for myself. Maybe others find it is not bad.
As you say that is very much a personal judgment. I walked the Nakahechi trail in March in a little under two days and carrying about 12kg of gear. My pack was heavy with winter clothes and down sleeping bag as I slept outdoors in the open shelters in the forest for two nights having already done so for many nights on the Shikoku pilgrimage route. I did not find the Nakahechi trail particularly strenuous but that may be because I came to it straight after walking for several weeks on Shikoku. Having just walked about 1200km - some of that on more difficult terrain than the Kumano Kodo - I was probably in as good physical shape as I am ever likely to be. I would certainly agree that it demands greater physical fitness than some Camino routes.
 
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PeteD

New Member
Camino(s) past & future
Bicigrino Camino Frances March 2016
Kumano Kodo Sept 2018
C del Norte (Oct 2019)
#24
We have just returned from Japan and walking the Kumano Kodo Nakahechi route. Having previously cycled the CF in 2016 I was eligible for dual pilgrim status and went through the quick and friendly process at Tourist Information Centre at the Hongu Taisha. I undertook the Kumano Kodo as a pilgrimage and found that it very much felt like one and may have an even longer and certainly more sustained heritage than the CF does. The walking was no harder than the worst sections of the Cf and was generally in more unspoilt forest area with occassional villages and Shinto shrines. We found the locals to be delightful and friendly even if English was rare on the trail.
Unfortunately we had to abandon a longer planned walk when Typhoon Trami was heading directly for the mountains! We booked our own accommodation and meals through the very helpful Tanabe City Kumano Travel Service which made everything possible. And the Japanese food was superb!! Don't miss an opportunity to bathe at an onsen - we had a onsen to ourselves in the village of Yunomine Onsen.
Overall a very different cultural and pilgrim experience but very genuine, friendly and moving experience.
Only issue was having to sleep on futons laid out on tatami matting with small pillows that felt like they were filled with gravel! Give me a bunkbed in an overcrowded, stuffy albergue with snoring every time :)
 

MikeyC

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
CF - September 2016
CF - April May 2017
Shikoku - October 2017
Kumano Kodo - October 2017
#25
Two items I always take on trips to Japan - a camping pillow and size 12 slippers for indoors. I have yet to find Japanese slippers that fit and this avoids embarrassment for the host.
 

Bradypus

Antediluvian
Camino(s) past & future
Too many and too often!
#26
Two items I always take on trips to Japan - a camping pillow and size 12 slippers for indoors. I have yet to find Japanese slippers that fit and this avoids embarrassment for the host.
After walking on Shikoku and the Kumano Kodo I needed to buy some light shoes for wearing around town in Osaka. I take a UK size 9 or 9 1/2 and I found that was right at the top end of the sizes available in most shops.
 
Camino(s) past & future
Samos-Santiago (2015)
Samos-Santiago (May 2016
Porto-Santiago (May 2017)
Kumano Kodo (March 2018)
#27
I like the buckwheat hull pillows and futons on tatami mats in Japan. My husband does not like the pillows so he brought his own travel pillow on our two trips to Mount Koya and the Kumano Kodo.

I’m 6’2” (188cm) and I can’t tell you how difficult it can be in Japan for tall people or those with long feet. Many times I’ve felt like Gulliver in the land of the Lilliputians. I’ll never forget on my first trip to Japan in 1996, hearing an embarrassed and apologetic Japanese shop clerk saying, “So sorry lady, you’re too tall!”

Nevertheless, I love Japan, have returned many, many times, and always make sure I have shoes, sandals, socks, and other clothes in good condition with me. About the only thing I can be guaranteed to fit into (thankfully!) is a yukata (cotton kimono).
 
Camino(s) past & future
Kumano Kodo (2018)
#28
I would like to walk the kumano from 19th - 25th November, but online I do not seem to be able to book accommodation anymore. Have you got any advise? I guess it is a bit risky just to start walking without having any accommodation booked?
What did you do?
 

Bradypus

Antediluvian
Camino(s) past & future
Too many and too often!
#29
I would like to walk the kumano from 19th - 25th November, but online I do not seem to be able to book accommodation anymore. Have you got any advise? I guess it is a bit risky just to start walking without having any accommodation booked?
What did you do?
Have you tried contacting the Kii-Tanabe tourist office directly by email or phone and asking them? There are staff members there who speak good English. The numbers walking in late November are likely to be very small and some of the accommodation places may have closed down for the winter. I think your options may be very limited. As I was carrying a heavy sleeping bag and inflatable mat I was able to sleep in the open shelters in the forest for the two nights I walked the Nakahechi route.
 
Camino(s) past & future
Kumano Kodo (2018)
#30
Thank you very much - do you think walking the kumano end November is not such a good idea (weather wise)? I am a good and experienced walker, but I don't really want to camp on my own ...
 
Camino(s) past & future
Samos-Santiago (2015)
Samos-Santiago (May 2016
Porto-Santiago (May 2017)
Kumano Kodo (March 2018)
#31
Do ask/book with http://www.tb-kumano.jp/en/ about lodgings being open during the time you wish to walk. The small minshukus are family-owned and may not be open, but they should be able to find you something. They are very helpful. There really aren’t places you can just appear on the doorstep and ask for a bed.
 

Bradypus

Antediluvian
Camino(s) past & future
Too many and too often!
#32
@SarahBr It would really depend on what you consider good walking weather. I am Scottish and I find cool weather easier to deal with than heat. The Kii-Tanabe tourist brochures say that the Nakahechi route is walkable all year round. I walked in late March and found the weather then excellent. Here is a link that gives weather information for a nearby town in November that may help you to have some picture of what you can expect.
https://weatherspark.com/m/143379/11/Average-Weather-in-November-in-Shingū-Japan
 
Camino(s) past & future
Kumano Kodo (2018)
#33
Thank you guys - that is really helpful. I don't mind cold and rain as long as it isn't like that for the whole 8 days haha.
I really don't want to give up on the adventure!
Thank you again
 
Camino(s) past & future
Samos-Santiago (2015)
Samos-Santiago (May 2016
Porto-Santiago (May 2017)
Kumano Kodo (March 2018)
#34
We walked in early March and the daytime temperatures were pleasant but not higher than about 20C/68F, with evenings chilly and damp. The rain we had while walking was more a heavy mist, not enough for an umbrella. A hat and/or hood was sufficient for me as the tree canopy helped a lot!
 


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