Lisa Mead at stone monuments on the trail Lisa Mead at stone monuments on the trail

Japan’s pilgrim route

Lisa Mead from A Walker’s World recently took part in a famil trip on the Kumano Kodo Trail in Japan. This pilgrimage trail in Southern Japan has existed for over 1,000 years and pilgrims from all levels of society have trod their way to the Grand Shrines of Kumano. Mead says the week long route is a challenging trail that is steeped in a rich cultural and natural heritage. Walking can be tailored to cover the highlights of the route to suit a walker’s level of fitness for three days and longer. ‘Accommodations along the way are mostly Japanese traditional style inns and guesthouses with tatami mat flooring in the guest and dining rooms and futon mattresses to sleep on. Meals are included which is an adventure into typical Japanese cuisine. Hot springs are common on the route and baths with mineral waters (called ‘onsen’) are soothing at the end of a day’s walk. Protocol is important and preparation notes are provided to cover the dos and don’ts. The Kumano Kodo is an immersion into the Japanese way of life far from the large cities. ‘The Kumano Kodo pilgrimage route embodies the spiritual origins of Japan in much the same way the Camino de Santiago in Spain embodies Christianity. Completing certain sections of both trails will earn walkers the Dual Pilgrim Credential.