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Kumano Kodo 2017

Jill81

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
Frances 2014
Portuguese 2015
Via Francigena 2016
Kumano Kodo, Japan 2017
VdlP 2018 to be cont’d
Hello fellow pilgrims,
Firstly, a very big thank you to all those who make this forum possible! A couple of years ago I came across some information here about the Kumano Kodo in Japan and from that moment on it was on my list of walks to do. Finally, everything came together and I was able to complete the walk and just returned last week. I received the "Dual Pilgrim" certificate after walking the Nakahechi route, a tough forested route with a lot of significant climbs and descents. It was very much a solitary experience with no other walkers around whatsoever but this was probably due to walking somewhat out of season. Staying in the small villages was an incredible and thought provoking experience. If you can handle complete cultural immersion I highly recommend it! And one big bonus: Japan is super clean. No garbage, litter, or graffiti anywhere, in the countryside or the cities and the local authorities have constructed high tech composting toilets along the route. Wouldn't it be great to see some of those in Spain?
 

julia-t

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances 2015-17
Kumano Kodo March 2018
Camino Portuguese Valenca-SdC April 2018
How fantastic to see this! I will, all being well, complete my Camino Frances in April on my 60th birthday, accompanied by my daughter for the last 100km.

She is now living and working in Tokyo, and I plan to visit her in Spetember/October and I really want to walk the Kumano Kodo and visit all three Taishas. Maybe alone, maybe she will accompany me.

Please, can I keep in touch with you for advice, etc? On first glance at research it all seems quite intimidating and complicated.

Congratulations however on achieving your Dual Pilgrim status.
 

NewBeginning

Member
Camino(s) past & future
Fall (2017)
Hello fellow pilgrims,
Firstly, a very big thank you to all those who make this forum possible! A couple of years ago I came across some information here about the Kumano Kodo in Japan and from that moment on it was on my list of walks to do. Finally, everything came together and I was able to complete the walk and just returned last week. I received the "Dual Pilgrim" certificate after walking the Nakahechi route, a tough forested route with a lot of significant climbs and descents. It was very much a solitary experience with no other walkers around whatsoever but this was probably due to walking somewhat out of season. Staying in the small villages was an incredible and thought provoking experience. If you can handle complete cultural immersion I highly recommend it! And one big bonus: Japan is super clean. No garbage, litter, or graffiti anywhere, in the countryside or the cities and the local authorities have constructed high tech composting toilets along the route. Wouldn't it be great to see some of those in Spain?
Thank you, Jill. I hope you write much more about this. I've read some about it online and have wanted to spend time in Japan for years. More, pretty please!
 

Bradypus

Antediluvian
Camino(s) past & future
Too many and too often!
Good to hear that you found your Japanese pilgrimage so rewarding. My wife left the UK today by rail on an overland journey to China, Thailand and Japan which is planned to take 9 months and include walking the Shikoku circuit and visiting Mount Koyasan. She has also walked a couple of short Spanish caminos. I'm looking forward to hearing her compare and contrast the experiences!
 

Jill81

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
Frances 2014
Portuguese 2015
Via Francigena 2016
Kumano Kodo, Japan 2017
VdlP 2018 to be cont’d
IMG_9061.JPG
How fantastic to see this! I will, all being well, complete my Camino Frances in April on my 60th birthday, accompanied by my daughter for the last 100km.

She is now living and working in Tokyo, and I plan to visit her in Spetember/October and I really want to walk the Kumano Kodo and visit all three Taishas. Maybe alone, maybe she will accompany me.

Please, can I keep in touch with you for advice, etc? On first glance at research it all seems quite intimidating and complicated.

Congratulations however on achieving your Dual Pilgrim status.
How fantastic to see this! I will, all being well, complete my Camino Frances in April on my 60th birthday, accompanied by my daughter for the last 100km.

She is now living and working in Tokyo, and I plan to visit her in Spetember/October and I really want to walk the Kumano Kodo and visit all three Taishas. Maybe alone, maybe she will accompany me.

Please, can I keep in touch with you for advice, etc? On first glance at research it all seems quite intimidating and complicated.

Congratulations however on achieving your Dual Pilgrim status.
How fantastic to see this! I will, all being well, complete my Camino Frances in April on my 60th birthday, accompanied by my daughter for the last 100km.

She is now living and working in Tokyo, and I plan to visit her in Spetember/October and I really want to walk the Kumano Kodo and visit all three Taishas. Maybe alone, maybe she will accompany me.

Please, can I keep in touch with you for advice, etc? On first glance at research it all seems quite intimidating and complicated.

Congratulations however on achieving your Dual Pilgrim status.
Hello Julia-T,
You have some very good events planned to mark your 60th birthday! I wish you success with the completion of your Camino in April and hope that you will be able to walk the Kumano Kodo as well. My suggestion would be to plan for October, November, or even the first part of December to avoid the heat and rain of September.

The two most popular periods in Japan are the spring blossom time and the fall foliage time. Great times to be there IF you can organise your accommodation. I choose to walk in February (winter season) and did not book my lodgings until I arrived in Tanabe and that worked out well for me and gave me the flexibility I needed. There is very little accommodation in the villages along the route so you can't "wing it" and expect it to all work out like you can on other Caminos. It takes some planning but it's not difficult and I'd be happy to send you a private message if you would like more details.

Do try to visit all three of the Kumano Sanzan: Hongu Taisha, Nachi Taisha, and Hayatama. You will love it!
 

VNwalking

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
Francés ('14/'15)
St Olav/Francés ('16)
Baztanés/Francés ('17)
Ingles ('18)
This is definitely something I hope to be able to do sometime--I've been looking at this website from time to time on the off chance I can manage to get space in my life and the means to do this....
Thanks, Jill!
 

Jill81

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
Frances 2014
Portuguese 2015
Via Francigena 2016
Kumano Kodo, Japan 2017
VdlP 2018 to be cont’d
This is definitely something I hope to be able to do sometime--I've been looking at this website from time to time on the off chance I can manage to get space in my life and the means to do this....
Thanks, Jill!
Yes, the Kumano-travel.com is an excellent resource for planning your trip. They really have thought of everything and their staff in Tanabe and Hongu speak English and are very helpful. Although the Kumano Kodo and the Camino share a thousand years of pilgrimage tradition they are very, very different. It's tough, and is more of a wilderness hike than a walk. There are many beautiful stretches of trail but also a lot of steep, slippery tangles of rocks and tree roots to negotiate. I saw deer and there are wild boar in the forests as well. So, quite different from wandering along from one café con lèche stop to the next!
 

Patch

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
Leon to Santiago (June 2014)
St Jean to Leon (Sept 2015)
Burgos to Santiago (June 2016)
Porto to Finisterre (June 2017)
Jill - many thanks for the reference - I was planning such a walk for my 65th (UK retirement age) - 2018. How did you find the language barrier as I hear Japan is a difficult country to find your way around
 

Jill81

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
Frances 2014
Portuguese 2015
Via Francigena 2016
Kumano Kodo, Japan 2017
VdlP 2018 to be cont’d
Jill - many thanks for the reference - I was planning such a walk for my 65th (UK retirement age) - 2018. How did you find the language barrier as I hear Japan is a difficult country to find your way around
Generally you will not have any problems getting around or dealing with day to day things such as buying train tickets, etc. Inevitably someone will speak a bit of English. The Japanese are very organised and have made a real effort to smooth the way for foreign visitors so don't let fears of the language barrier hold you back. I managed with a phrase book and a couple of apps for offline translation. The only disadvantage is that unless you are traveling with someone you will have very little opportunity to chat about all the day to day experiences.
 

danielc

Member
Camino(s) past & future
SEPT '13 CF - SJPP to Santiago
OCT '14 Porto to Santiago
Yes, the Kumano-travel.com is an excellent resource for planning your trip. They really have thought of everything and their staff in Tanabe and Hongu speak English and are very helpful. Although the Kumano Kodo and the Camino share a thousand years of pilgrimage tradition they are very, very different. It's tough, and is more of a wilderness hike than a walk. There are many beautiful stretches of trail but also a lot of steep, slippery tangles of rocks and tree roots to negotiate. I saw deer and there are wild boar in the forests as well. So, quite different from wandering along from one café con lèche stop to the next!
Reading somewhere ...is there an issue with snakes at some section
 

Jill81

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
Frances 2014
Portuguese 2015
Via Francigena 2016
Kumano Kodo, Japan 2017
VdlP 2018 to be cont’d
Reading somewhere ...is there an issue with snakes at some section
There are snakes in that area and I almost stepped on one that was sunning itself on the path. Luckily it was not a Japanese Pit Viper, which are venomous. Although unlikely, it is also possible to encounter bears on the more remote sections such as the Kohechi route from Koyasan to Hongu Taisha.
 

Mark T17

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
Frances Sept 2017 (bike)
Congrats Jill, I walked the Kumano Kodo in 2012 and it inspired me to do the Camino this year. Hopefully I'll start in St Jean in September. I certainly enjoyed the time alone, authentic Japanese food and the Nachi waterfall was a fantastic way to end the trip. I will always remember my "pilgrim moments" at sunrise and sunset in the mountains and collapsing at the end in Nachi.
 

Jill81

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
Frances 2014
Portuguese 2015
Via Francigena 2016
Kumano Kodo, Japan 2017
VdlP 2018 to be cont’d
Congrats Jill, I walked the Kumano Kodo in 2012 and it inspired me to do the Camino this year. Hopefully I'll start in St Jean in September. I certainly enjoyed the time alone, authentic Japanese food and the Nachi waterfall was a fantastic way to end the trip. I will always remember my "pilgrim moments" at sunrise and sunset in the mountains and collapsing at the end in Nachi.
Hi Mark,
I enjoyed the solitary aspect of the Kumano Kodo but I also loved walking the Frances in 2014 and meeting people from all over the world. Without doubt, there are people planning, dreaming, and preparing to walk that will all come together to join you in September. I like to think of it as friends I haven't met, all drawn to the same thing at the same time.

When you walked the Kumano Kodo did you collect stamps along the way? If you can prove that you walked it and you also complete the Camino it is possible to request a Dual Pilgrim certificate in Santiago. Only a few hundred people have received them so far.
Here is a link with the information:
http://www.tb-kumano.jp/en/world-heritage/dual-pilgrim/
Best wishes!
 

Annie Little

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
Frances Sept-Oct 2016
Wow that is serendipitous ! I did Frances last sept and when I got home started researching other walks for this sept 2017 .... and Japan Kumano came into the radar .... have been trying to decide whether to do it or follow the pull to go back to Frances .... yesterday I pretty much decided on Japan .... and now I have seen this thread :)
 

Mark T17

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
Frances Sept 2017 (bike)
Hi Jill - The dual pilgrim system wasn't in place in 2012, but Brad from the Kumano website has sent me emails verifying my pilgrimage in Japan and he said I should produce some photos to the pilgrim office in Santiago to prove my Kumano. So I think I qualify.

Hi Annie - The Kumano was great, I think it would be like doing half the Pyrennes each day over 4 or 5 days. Budget about US$120 per day to cover all food and accommodation in Minshuku - Japanese bed and breakfast places. Pick the accommodation on the website that supplies all meals because there is no where to get lunch on the trail. Also plan to carry 2 litres of water each day because there are no fountains. Let me know if you want any more tips, I also went to Kyoto, Osaka and Koyasan on the trip.
 

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