Sunday, August 25, 2019

The Start of the Saigoku Pilgrimage


Saturday, March 5th, 2016 and I leave Seiganto-ji, the first temple on the Saigoku Pilgrimage. It was not originally the first temple. That was, I believe, Hasedera up in Nara, but I'm guessing because of the popularity of the pilgrimages to Kumano it was changed.


The first 8 days or so of the Saigoku Pilgrimage follows the same route as some of the Kumano Kodo pilgrimage routes, and this section from Nachi up to Homgu is called the Nakahechi From the temple stone steps climb up through the forest.


After a while it opens up and become Nachi Kogen Park and it's possible to look down over Nachi and further south. Just as I'm leaving the park I meet a young Frenchman walking in the opposite direction. He has come from Tanabe, where most people start, and after Nachi he will walk the Iseji route up the coast. He complained about the paucity of places to sleep out on the route, having spent a rainy night in the disabled toilets of a park on his first night out.


He was the last person I saw that day. The path continued to climb through the forest and from the site of a former teahouse there are even more expansive views. When the Kumano Kodo was a popular pilgrimage route there were many teahouses along the way offering refreshments and respite for pilgrims, but now they almost all just marked by a sign.


4 comments:

  1. I was just up that way on the Kumano Kodo in the spring. Can't say I enjoyed it as much as the part of the Shikoku 88 I walked with the same group right before that but they booked us into onsen every night & that was great!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. for me the Kumano Kodo is really more about hiking rather than pilgrimage. Very few pilgrims on it, lots of hikers... whereas Shikoku has pilgrimage infrastructure, etc

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  2. Beautiful, I can almost smell how clean the air is through those pictures.

    See any animals?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. not much.... much less than on most of my walks

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