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Dual Pilgrim Certificate at Santiago?

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Tachi

New Member
Camino(s) past & future
Kumano Kodo Nakahechi (June 2018)
Camino Portugues (May 2019)
Hi all,

Last summer I walked the Kumano Kodo in Japan (which I would highly recommend!) and next month I plan to walk the Camino. I have my stamp book from the Kumano (not the Dual Pilgrim Passport, though), and would like to get a Dual Pilgrim certificate when I complete my Camino, but am having trouble finding info on whether it is possible to get it in Santiago, and where.

Has anyone gotten a Dual Pilgrim Certificate in Santiago before? Is it in addition to or instead of the Compostela?
 

t2andreo

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
C/F: 2013, 2014
C/M: 2016
C/P: 2015, 2017
C/I: 2018
Voluntario: 2014 to 2018
No, it is not possible. It has actually been raised before. The purpose of the Compostela and the function of the Pilgrim Office, is to document the completion of a pilgrimage to Santiago for the purpose of venerating the relics of the Apostle Saint James (Santiago). It has been doing this for more than one-thousand years.

Any other processes or certificates were created over the years to accommodate the need for documenting a visit to the Cathedral and crypt by tourists, or people who did the Camino, but did not do the pilgrimage for a religious or spiritual purpose. Similarly, the certificate of distance was created to provide specific and optional documentation of distance traveled to get to Santiago for the purpose of venerating the relics...

The Cathedral and Pilgrim Office does not document other pilgrimages...period...

Sorry that this is not the answer you wanted, but it is the correct answer.

Just as an FYI, I have worked at the pilgrim office as a volunteer for five consecutive years, and return next week to have another go. So, I sort of know what I am talking about.
 

Bradypus

Antediluvian
Camino(s) past & future
Too many and too often!
Just to clarify.

It is possible to register as a dual pilgrim at the Santiago tourist office in Rua do Vilar but NOT in the pilgrim office.

If you register as a dual pilgrim at the Santiago tourist office you will receive a small metal badge but NOT a certificate. The certificate is only issued to those who register in Japan.

If you wish to register as a dual pilgrim in Santiago then you should FIRST go to the pilgrim office, register there and receive your Compostela. Then you take both your Compostela and your Kumano Kodo stamp book to the Santiago tourist office and register as a dual pilgrim with them.

dual-pilgrim.jpg
 

Saranger

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
Samos-Santiago 2015 & 2016
Porto-Santiago 2017
Kumano Kodo March 2018
Ferrol-Santiago May 2019
Yes, Bradypus knows what he’s talking about!

For anyone wanting to walk the Kumano Kodo, you can pick up a Dual Pilgrim passport and other helpful information in the Santiago Tourism Office (not the Pilgrim Office or Galicia Tourism Office). That’s where I got mine two years ago.
 

t2andreo

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
C/F: 2013, 2014
C/M: 2016
C/P: 2015, 2017
C/I: 2018
Voluntario: 2014 to 2018
Thanks Bradypus. I did not know that. Need to file it away for future use.
  1. Get Santiago Compostela at Pilgrim Office (Rua Carretas #33)
  2. Take Santiago Compostela and Kumano Kodo Certificate to Santiago Tourist Office, located at Rua do Vilar #63.
  3. Ask for Dual Pilgrimage Certificate at the SANTIAGO TOURISM OFFICE
Easy Peasy.

Thanks again. I love learning something new each day. This qualifies.
 

Bradypus

Antediluvian
Camino(s) past & future
Too many and too often!
Ask for Dual Pilgrimage Certificate at the SANTIAGO TOURISM OFFICE
But sadly the Santiago tourist office does NOT issue a certificate - only the rather pretty metal badge. I have a Facebook friend who delights in being a "dual-dual-pilgrim" having walked multiple Caminos and Kumano Kodo routes and who chose to register both in Santiago and at Hongu on the Kumano Kodo. He was seriously underwhelmed by the lukewarm reception in the Santiago tourist office compared with the experience in Hongu. I registered in Hongu last year and found the office there very welcoming. And I have a pretty piece of paper too...
 

dfox

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
CF (4/2017)
CP (5/2019)
Last summer I walked the Kumano Kodo in Japan (which I would highly recommend!)
I am seriously thinking to "hike" the Kumano Kodo in October/November next year, but one item holding me back is lodging or accommodation. I heard that they are expensive and also not many available along the trail as CF.

Any pointers will be appreciated.
 

Mark T17

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
Kumano Kodo 2012
Frances Sept 2017 (bike)
Hi all,

Correct above, the reception in the Santiago Tourist Office is a little poor, but they do give you the pin and a couple of stamps for your passport which I thought was good (see attached).DP 2.jpg

DP 2.jpg
 

Tachi

New Member
Camino(s) past & future
Kumano Kodo Nakahechi (June 2018)
Camino Portugues (May 2019)
But sadly the Santiago tourist office does NOT issue a certificate - only the rather pretty metal badge. I have a Facebook friend who delights in being a "dual-dual-pilgrim" having walked multiple Caminos and Kumano Kodo routes and who chose to register both in Santiago and at Hongu on the Kumano Kodo. He was seriously underwhelmed by the lukewarm reception in the Santiago tourist office compared with the experience in Hongu. I registered in Hongu last year and found the office there very welcoming. And I have a pretty piece of paper too...
Haha. You’re making me nervous about my reception!

Nothing could top finding out that the “online booking” on the Kumano was actually just two ladies with a corded phone manually calling up the people who run the inns, though. It was so cool to finally meet them in the in the Tanabe tourism center! Like meeting Kumano Kodo celebrities.
 

Mark T17

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
Kumano Kodo 2012
Frances Sept 2017 (bike)
I am seriously thinking to "hike" the Kumano Kodo in October/November next year, but one item holding me back is lodging or accommodation. I heard that they are expensive and also not many available along the trail as CF.

Any pointers will be appreciated.
Hi dfox,

You have to use the Kumano Kodo website to pre-book and pre-pay accommodation. You can get different packages that include meals, etc but they are not albergues, more like "bed and breakfast" places or you can stay in an onsen or resort type accommodation if you want to pay more. In 2012, I budgeted about US$100 per day for accommodation and meals. See: www.tb-kumano.jp/en

It's a lot different to the Camino Frances, the Kumano is more like an offroad mountainous hike with limited support between stages. However, there is plenty of support at the end of the stages.

Cheers
M
 

Tachi

New Member
Camino(s) past & future
Kumano Kodo Nakahechi (June 2018)
Camino Portugues (May 2019)
I am seriously thinking to "hike" the Kumano Kodo in October/November next year, but one item holding me back is lodging or accommodation. I heard that they are expensive and also not many available along the trail as CF.

Any pointers will be appreciated.
Hi dfox,

I’d really recommend the Kumano! It was one of my favorite travelling experiences in all of Asia and a great way to see a side of Japan many visitors never experience.

A big part of that is the lodging, so definitely use the Tanabe tourism site to book as much of your accomadation as you can. Although it looks like a soulless electronic booking site, in fact it is mostly a way to connect foreigners with mom-and-pop lodgings; when you book, it sends an email to two lovely ladies at the Tanabe tourism desk (who you can meet in person when you go to pick up your stamp book) who call the lodgings, many of which are run by older couples who only speak Japanese and may not even use email, let alone internet booking. (Do this as far ahead as you can, because good lodgings fill up!) And always opt for dinner, breakfast, and box lunch, a Japanese-style room, and pick a place with a hotspring bath, if you can. The meals, which take advantage of seasonal local produce and are prepared in a multi-course Kaiseki style, often run for $100 USD or more at a restaurant, so to get it for breakfast and dinner along with a night in a traditional ryoukan (which itself can cost ~$200), all for around $100 is actually a really phenomenal deal! There are one or two hostels along the way (though they’re definitely not available in every town) but I would say, think of ryokans as an integral part of the Kumano experience. These lodgings are a once-in-a-lifetime thing (unless you go back, I guess.)

Kiri-no-Sato Takahara
Just off the trail, this small ryoukan is balanced on a hillside overlooking the town of Takahara. The food was phenomenal, and make sure to ask for a glass of their home-made umeshu (plum wine). There’s a lovely onsen bath and the bath, the dining room, and room balconies all have a great view of the valley below. Truly one of the most peaceful and soothing places I’ve ever been. I think I could stay here for a month.

Guesthouse Okagesan
This is your chance to experience life in a traditional Japanese house, complete with an in-floor stove and rice-paper sliding walls, which once belonged to a famous local monk and writer (a relative of the current owner.) I think technically up to three guests can book it, but I had the whole house to myself- the owner lives in another part of the village. It’s more like an AirBnB than a hotel. It was my longest day on the Kumano (~30 Km, plus walking around the shrines of Hongu) and I got in quite late, around 9PM. I walked into the owner’s yakitori shop/bar- I think the entire village was there- and the whole bar toasted my safe arrival. No one spoke English and my Japanese isn’t great, but I could feel the exuberance. The owner came by the next morning with hot, fresh onigiri made with local fresh-caught fish, even though I didn’t order breakfast!

OPTIONAL:
Minshuku Yunosato
This ryoukan is on the side of a river, and has an outdoor hotspring bath perched next to the bridge above it. The owner was really nice, and eating dinner, we could hear the sounds of her kids in the kitchen. There aren’t any shops to speak of in the town. Other than the bus that comes in the morning, it’s easy to forget that the outside world exists, especially when you’re walking on the cool river rocks (the water was around 3 feet at its deepest, in June) and looking up at the stars.

OPTIONAL:
Nanki-Katsuura Kyukamura Resort
The perfect end to a long trek, this is an all-inclusive hotspring resort by the seaside, a short trainride north of the end of the trail, favored by families. I’ve been to a similar one in Gifu with local relatives, and it’s definitely a uniquely Japanese experience, though a very different vibe to the mom-and-pop ryoukans. The Kaiseki is about a million courses, I thought it was just an (excellent) buffet, but they kept bringing out more and more dishes! Steak, grilled shrimp, avocados stuffed with crab meat and cheese, delicate creations of rice flour, local seaweed salads, and of course fresh sashimi and grilled fish, my little table was filled with amazing food. The outdoor hotspring baths are numerous and are perched on cliffs overlooking the ocean, with hawks flying overhead. There are hiking trails to beaches and viewpoints throughout the National Park and a visitor center with incredibly friendly staff.

The actual trail itself (if you follow the most well-documented route, the Nakahechi) is not all that strenuous, I think, compared to the Camino (from what I’ve heard.) I completed the bulk of it in 3 days (though I afforded 5 days total on the Nakahechi, plus one in Tanabe, one in Shingu/Kii-Katsura, and one at Kyukamura.) It’s got a lot of elevation gain but the distance isn’t that long; most people that I met averaged 15 Km/day, making the main section a comfortable 3-4 days. Definitely plan on extra days, though- the mountainous stone-and-mud paths aren’t just unpleasant in the rain, some are actually dangerous. Also, some people hike the last two sections (past Hongu down to Nachi Taisha), which will add about 2-3 days (including Nachi Taisha, which you should plan several hours for), but I opted to take a boat trip down the river to Shingu, partially because it’s what the original pilgrims did but mostly because the lodgings on that part of the trail were all full. Book early!

You’ll need some time in Tanabe, the staging city, to pick up your pilgrim’s passport at the Tourism Center and see the local temples (not to mention get their stamps!) Unlike the Camino, the stamps are not random- you have to collect particular ones in order to qualify, so you have to track them carefully and make sure you don’t miss stamp boxes (which are often 100-200 feet off the main trail, next to shrines- clearly marked by signs, but you have to keep track of which ones you need to go off to and which detours are optional). You can get a completion certificate for doing the basic ones, but if you get them all they give you an extra gift (the major and optional stamps are outlined in the stamp book). The first recommended leg (Takijiri-Oji to Takahara) is quite short, around 4Km with not much elevation, so I was able to do stuff in Tanabe in the morning, take the bus out to Takijiri-Oji, and do the two trails from there (for 2 optional stamps) before heading on to Takahara. The Takijiri-Oji gift shop/visitor center is well worth a stop, I bought a bamboo hiking stick that’s strong, flexible, and incredibly light; it was around $15 USD and the best hiking stick I’ve ever owned. In fact, I’m taking it with me to the Camino! A neck towel also doesn’t go amiss, it’s nice for wiping your face while walking.

On the other end, make sure to leave time (at least half a day) for the waterfall and temple complex at Nachi Taisha which has the “classic” view of the Kumano (the red shrine in front of the waterfall.) In Shingu, in addition to Hayatama Taisha, make sure to make time for Kamikura shrine, a short but steep walk up to a shrine next to a large boulder, a shrine even more ancient than the 3 Taishas (which are 2050 years old!)

I went in June of last year, which is supposed to be the rainy season, but I got lucky and avoided most of it- it rained the day before I left and the morning after I finished the trail it started pouring. As I said, though, rain can make the mountail trails impassible so it’s better to be safe than sorry.

Wow, that ended up being really long! Please let me know if you have any other questions.
 

Mark T17

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
Kumano Kodo 2012
Frances Sept 2017 (bike)
Hi Tachi, sounds like you had an amazing trip on the Kumano and the boat trip to Shingu was a great way to finish off. I hiked the last 2 sections from Hongu (Kawayu) to Koguchi, then onto Nachi. The Koguchi leg was a reasonably pleasant 13km hike with fantastic mountain/forest views, however the last leg to Nachi was 15km of hell. The first half of my last day to Nachi was steeper than the Napoleon route out of SJPDP, an almost vertical climb on bush tracks leading to exhaustion. On arrival in Nachi, you are rewarded with walking out of the bush and seeing the great waterfall and pagoda which was fantastic. After all the hard work of the day, I remember not wanting the hike to end. November 2012 was a great time to hike with virtually nobody on the track.
 

Terri B

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
1998 St Cuthberts Way, 1999 West Highland Way
2016 & 2019 Camino Frances SJPDP to Santiago
Just as an FYI, I have worked at the pilgrim office as a volunteer for five consecutive years, and return next week to have another go. So, I sort of know what I am talking about.
Hi Tom, how long will you be volunteering for?
 

Terri B

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
1998 St Cuthberts Way, 1999 West Highland Way
2016 & 2019 Camino Frances SJPDP to Santiago
Looks like I'll miss meeting you Tom. I dont anticipate arriving in Santiago until sometime in late October.
 

dfox

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
CF (4/2017)
CP (5/2019)
Hi Tachi, sounds like you had an amazing trip on the Kumano and the boat trip to Shingu was a great way to finish off. I hiked the last 2 sections from Hongu (Kawayu) to Koguchi, then onto Nachi. The Koguchi leg was a reasonably pleasant 13km hike with fantastic mountain/forest views, however the last leg to Nachi was 15km of hell. The first half of my last day to Nachi was steeper than the Napoleon route out of SJPDP, an almost vertical climb on bush tracks leading to exhaustion. On arrival in Nachi, you are rewarded with walking out of the bush and seeing the great waterfall and pagoda which was fantastic. After all the hard work of the day, I remember not wanting the hike to end. November 2012 was a great time to hike with virtually nobody on the track.
Hello MarkT17 and Tachi;

I am planning to hike "the Nakahechi" trail next Oct/Nov, which consists of the following "stages":
1. Takijiri to Takahara, 4 km; difficulty rating is 2.5
2. Takijiri-oji to Takahara to Tsugizakura-oji, 17 km; difficulty rating is 4.0
3. Tsugjakura to Hongu-Taisha, 21.5 km; difficulty rating is 4.0
4. Kogumotori-goe: Koguchi to Ukegawa in Hongu, 13 km; difficulty rating is 4
5. Ogumotori-goe, 14 km, difficulty rating is 5

The difficulty rating is 4 and 5 for 4 out of 5 stages! What are such difficulty rating equivalent to CF, e.g., climbing up the Pyrenees? I am aware of many "ancient rocky steps" to walk on. Can a "moderate-fit" hiker manage them?

Any information will be much appreciated.

Thanks and regards,
 

Bradypus

Antediluvian
Camino(s) past & future
Too many and too often!
Can a "moderate-fit" hiker manage them?
That is very hard to say because everyone's judgment of their own abilities is very subjective. I walked from Takajiri-Oji to Hongu last March. I am in my mid-50s and overweight. Even so I did not find the slopes excessively difficult. It is very hard to compare the paths with the Camino Frances because most of the route is on narrow forest footpaths which do not readily compare with the wider and "improved" surfaces common on the Frances. Some of the sections have very rough walking surfaces such as exposed tree roots which do need special care. I found this a much more important factor than the ascents/descents.
 

Mark T17

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
Kumano Kodo 2012
Frances Sept 2017 (bike)
Hi dfox,

I started the Kumano on 20 November 2012, doing the stages below. I was 47 years old, 82kg and fit enough to run half marathons in 1 hour 45min. Bradypus is correct above, there are very few gravel or paved sections on the Kumano, it is almost entirely bush walking with 1000 year old stone steps and bush trails. Some landslides have occurred in recent years due to earthquakes, so there are some infrequent diversions onto nearby roads. Generally there is 1 hill per day on the stages below, you go up the hill in the morning and come down in the afternoon. I wore track pants, t shirt, fleece, a gortex shell and gloves each day. Locals said it had been snowing the week before, but it must have melted away by the time I started out.

I friend from work completed the Kumano in about July last year and she said it rained every day. Due to the Kumano's geographical location it gets a lot of rain, so be prepared.

1 Takajiri Oji to Nonaka (18km)
I got the bus from Tanabe to Takajiri Oji and started hiking at about 8am, so the Welcome Centre wasn't open. I got to Takahara reasonably early and was happy to go onto Nonaka, arriving about 4pm. There is a great minshuku in Nonaka run by a retired Japanese chef and his wife. It was the best Japanese food I've ever had. This day was equivalent to an average hilly day on the CF.

2 Nonaka to Kawayu (26km)
I started out at about 7am and it rained most of the day. The hills were not so bad, but the length of the day, rain and condition of the track made the hike very difficult. I stayed in Kawayu because of the hot springs available in the nearby river. I arrived at the minshuku at about 6pm and it was a long hard day.

3 Kawayu to Koguchi (13km)
This was a relatively easy day, so I started out late at about 9am and finished by about 3.30pm. The hills were about the same as an average hilly day on the CF. There is a great panoramic mountain/forest viewing area about halfway.

4 Koguchi to Nachi (15km)
This was by far the most difficult day I've ever had on the CF or the Kumano. I started at 7am, the first section is steeper than any hill on the CF and I averaged 30 min per km. I've attached a photo below which is typical of the tracks on the Kumano. You are rewarded with great views and arrival in Nachi at the end, seeing the pagoda and waterfall was amazing. I also tacked on a side trip to the Women's Temple in Nachi at the end which had great mountain/ocean views. Leave enough time at the end to see the waterfall, pagoda and Daimonzaka. I think I got the last bus from Nachi to Katsuura at about 5.30pm.

I fell over twice on the last day and needed an arthroscopy on my left knee about 6 months later.

Japan disc 1 497 (2).jpg
 

gollygolly

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
2000, 2013, 2014, 2015, 2016, 2017, 2018
Hi dfox,

You have to use the Kumano Kodo website to pre-book and pre-pay accommodation. You can get different packages that include meals, etc but they are not albergues, more like "bed and breakfast" places or you can stay in an onsen or resort type accommodation if you want to pay more. In 2012, I budgeted about US$100 per day for accommodation and meals. See: www.tb-kumano.jp/en

It's a lot different to the Camino Frances, the Kumano is more like an offroad mountainous hike with limited support between stages. However, there is plenty of support at the end of the stages.

Cheers
M


It is possible to walk any of the routes that make up the Kumano Kodo without using the website or pr-booking and pre-paying for accommodation, though it would be probably be easier to do so. There is also the possibility of making bookings / resrvations at the Tourist Office in Tanabe, who are very helpful. My own experience of walking the Kumano Kodo in the spring of 2018 leads me to suggest that pre-booking is probably advisable, as we set out with no reservations and had great difficulty locating anywhere to sleep, as local - ie Japanese tourism - is quite significant, and in cherry blossom season every place we came across was fully occupied.

The Kumano-Kodo route from Takajiri Oji is probably the most commonly walked, while the route from Koyosan is probably the most infrequently walked and possibly the most interesting :

https://en.visitwakayama.jp/itineraries/koyasan-to-kumano/

Highly recommend including the boat trip that can be arranged in Tanabe or in Hongu or in Shingu

https://www.kumano-travel.com/en/tours-activities/traditional-boat-tour

While the Camino to Santiago and the Kumano Kodo are 'twinned walks' they are quite distinct in character, though both are hugely uplifting to the spirit and the soul.
 

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