Senjojiki – A Thousand Tatami Mats

Cape Shionomisaki

Shirahama Beach

Tanabe Ogigahama Beach

If visiting Tanabe, don’t forget to bring a pair of sunglasses; the sun is blinding here. (Photo: Virginia González) The beach is located behind a park just a 5 minute walk from the train station. (Photo: Virginia González) A promenade with numerous seats connects the beach to the parking lot. (Photo: Virginia González) In the […]

Tanabe’s Martial Traditions

Morihei Ueshiba’s Bronze Statue in a small park near Tanabe’s Ogigahama Beach Ueshiba sensei and his young follower Morihei Ueshiba’s grave is visited by many aikido enthusiasts from around the world. Morihei Ueshiba’s Bronze Statue in a small park near Tanabe’s Ogigahama Beach Practitioners of aikido will have heard of Tanabe, the second biggest city […]

Tankaku Castle: Shingu Castle Ruins

View of the main castle entrance during hanami season. Tankaku Castle is one of the best spots in Shingu to enjoy cherry blossoms in spring. Tankaku Castle's main entrance.  It is a less than 15-minute walk from JR Shingu station to the castle ruins, or a 5-minute walk from Hayatama Taisha. Few records remain concerning […]

The Green Pheasant – Japan’s National Bird

The Green Pheasant is a beautiful bird to watch. Showing off the tail feathers. A male pheasant by the roadside in Kumano. The Green Pheasant is a beautiful bird to watch. Did you know that the Green Pheasant is Japan's National Bird? The Green Pheasant, an omnivorous bird, is endemic to Japan. The bird featured […]

The Kohechi Pilgrimage Route

This stone informs us that this path is a World Heritage of UNESCO The landscapes along the route are gorgeous A traditional house at the beginning of the course Along the way we meet ancient mansions You quickly evolve into a thick forest One of the many statues of Kannon that line the path At […]

The World Heritage Sites of Shingu

Tankaku Castle ruins Eel donburi lunch at Tenyoi restaurant Entrance to the Kamikura shrine Walking through the Kumano forest to reach Oogumo Torigoe Kumano Hayatama Taisha Shinto shrine Tankaku Castle ruins Shingu landscape If you ever feel like getting away from the bustle of a big city (Tokyo in my case), Shingu in Wakayama prefecture […]

Things to Do in Shingu City

Shingu City is part of Wakayama Prefecture located on the Kii Peninsula. Easy access from Kyoto and Nagoya makes it a worthwhile trip to get out of the big cities. While Shingu City has a modest population of approximately 29,000 people, the amount of restaurants and historical sights, registered as World Heritage Sites, is certainly […]

Tomogashima

One of a number of fortresses on the island: this is Fortress III Ferry Ride Port of Kada Ferry Beach Lighthouse One of a number of fortresses on the island: this is Fortress III Looking for an interesting place to spend the day with walks, picnics, history, or relaxation? The island of Tomogashima will not […]

Welcome Spring with Ume Viewing

White plum blossoms are a beautiful sight on a sunny day in February Famous Benkei welcomes you at the Plum Orchard From the ume orchard you can see the ocean in the distance Plum trees cover the hillsides. The blue plastic sheets will be rolled out in June for harvesting the green plums. Not all […]

B & B Café Hongu

B & B Cafe Hongu View Easy access to all sights which are nearby B&B Cafe Hongu B&B Hongu is just across the road from the Hongu Grand Shrine. B & B Cafe Hongu View Located just across the road from the Kumano Hongu Taisha (Hongu Grand Shrine), this modern B&B and café is not […]

Buddha Guesthouse in Tanabe

The main entrance to Buddha Guesthouse The shared living room The house, as seen from the outside A sign outside the house Shared lounge In-house garden and smoking area The main entrance to Buddha Guesthouse (Photo: Virginia González) For centuries, Tanabe has been considered to be a gateway to the Kumano Kodo pilgrimage routes. There […]

Dormy Inn Premium Wakayama

A spacious single room at Dormy Inn Premium Wakayama The bathrooms are adequate but the shower is stocked with high-quality bath products The hotel lobby Looking for an affordable bed in Wakayama City? You could hardly do better than the Dormy Inn Premium, located just a very short walk from JR Wakayama Station on the […]

Ekoin Temple, Mount Koya

Guess what everything is Marvel at the food Meander between the graves during the day Follow ancient paths Admire the screen paintings Relax in your own yukata For hikers, those interested in Buddhism and lovers of nature, Mount Koya in Wakayama is a must-visit. You can spend days wandering around the sacred site, slipping back […]

Guesthouse Rico

Cosy reception Locals at the storytelling event in Guesthouse RICO Storytelling event at Guesthouse RICO Future coworking space and shared kitchen Tatami rooms Private room I’ve stayed in many hostels, but honestly I can't remember one that beats Guesthouse RICO in Wakayama City. The completely refurnished old building has a great atmosphere and extraordinary facilities. […]

Koyasan Temple Lodging

Monks live here so expect to see them on your travels A path in Okunoin Just one of the many beautiful sights that await you at Koyasan Baptism in Okunoin at Koyasan. Talk about being immersed in the culture! No pun intended! Our private "hanare" or residence, complete with our own garden yard Inside our […]

Kumano Backpackers Guesthouse

Kumano Backpackers Guesthouse A view of the mountains from the balcony Single room equipped with air conditioning A Japanese decorated corridor in the first floor The shower, located on the first floor The kitchen Kumano Backpackers Guesthouse After spending a month sharing space with other people in Tokyo I couldn't believe that I was finally […]

Kumano Deai-no-sato Egg Farm

The egg farm is located on a hill and a 10 minutes drive by car from Hongu (Photo: Virginia González) The family is also engaged in organic farming. The farmhouse is 100 years old. (Photo: Virginia González) The place was established and is run by Mr. Asano and his family. The café has a nice […]

The Sacred Valley of Koyasan

Near Konpon Daito temple in Koyasan‘s centre One of Koyasan’s many pilgrimage routes near Daimon This little shrine near Okunoin has a small river running by Near Konpon Daito temple in Koyasan’s centre (Photo: Bonnie Waycott ) A direct train from Osaka drops you at a station called Gokurakubashi (Heaven Bridge), where a cable car […]

Zuigan-ji Temple in Matsushima

Hondo Hall – main hall under renovation. Shadows on the cliff face along the path to the temple. Date Masumune's family crest carved into a bamboo sign. Hobutsukan building. One of the many cave shrines. The cedar grove that surrounds the Zuigan-ji Todo. Hondo Hall – main hall under renovation. (Photo: Geom – wikimedia commons creative […]

Warai Festival

Carrying yotsudaiko (wooden structure with 4 kids playing drums) The leader of the festival dressed as clown People of all ages participate at the event The leader guiding the participants to Niu shrine Oni (demons) are important part of the festival Enjoying shishimai (lion dance) from one of the 4 participating villages When: Mid Oct […]

Kumano Kodo Pilgrimage Trails

A conic straw hat and a staff are common equipment of pilgrims in Japan Old and moss-covered, seeminly endless stone steps – the characterisic sign of the Kumano Kodo trails Shadow of a pilgrim A conic straw hat and a staff are common equipment of pilgrims in Japan Pilgrimage – “a long journey or search […]

A Visit to Koyasan: Kongobuji

This is the largest rock garden in Japan. The rocks (from Shikoku, birthplace of Kobo Daishi) represent 2 dragons emerging from a sea of clouds to protect the Okuden (a section of the Kongobuji) The Entrance. It is said that Kobo Daishi (the Japanese famous monk who propagated Buddhism in Japan) referred to the whole […]

Awashima Jinja Shrine

An overwhelming presence of eeriness and peace coming off of the Ichimatsu dolls Torii Gate upon entrance Lovers visit the uncrowded shrine Chozuya / Temizuya Awashima may be a small shrine, but it is a very special one Figures on ground Situated in a hilly place and surrounded by the sea is Awashima-jinja Shrine in […]

Christmas in Tanabe

Christmas at Tanabe Aritoshi Street scene Dead or alive Tanabe Why I like Tanabe Heaven put me in Tanabe, a World Heritage Site, for Christmas. Here, the Kumano Kodo, an ancient classic pilgrimage trail, turns pilgrims towards the three fabulous Grand Shrines, the Kumano Sanzan. On Christmas Eve, a live band strummed out carols, station […]

Saito Goma Fire Ceremony in Hongu

Fire ceremonies at shrines and temples have become popular attractions but they have a deep symbolic meaning that only the initiated fully understand. Fire, like water, has purifying qualities and it is much used in Shinto and Buddhist ceremonies, as well as in Shugendo ceremonies. Shugendo, literally “the path of training and testing” is a […]

Hongu Taisha Spring Festival

Fathers carry their young sons on their shoulders and walk over the Dainichi-goe trail of the Kumano Kodo pilgrimage route, which links Yunomine Onsen to Hongu Town. Before walking fathers and sons purify themselves in the hot water of Yunomine. Boys wearing traditional costumes carry the Kumano flags Yamabushi mountain priests play an important role […]

Introduction to Koyasan

Buddha dressed in snow graveyard path Konpon Daito cable car to Mt. Koya Introduction to Koyasan Introduction to Koyasan Buddha dressed in snow Still on my New year holiday, brought the kids to the daycare to take a  trip with my wife to the famous Mt. Koya. The place is 860 meters above sea level […]

Introducing Kumano–“The Land of the Gods”

Along the Dainichigoe trail Nachi waterfall is impressive Entrance to the Hongu Taisha-the Hongu Grand Shrine Along the Dainichigoe trail Kumano is situated in the southeastern part of the Kii Peninsula in Wakayama Prefecture. Only a few hours away from Osaka it is a world apart from the chaos of Japan’s modern city life. The […]

Kishu Lacquerware

An unusual piece of lacquerware at Uruwashi-kan, the Kishu lacquerware traditional industry center Beautifully crafted plates are on display and for purchase at the Uruwashi-kan Lacquerware items for your Japanese lifestyle Kuroe Town’s traditional lacquerware craft aims to find “traditional beauty in everyday life”. Lacquerware has been popular in Japan over the centuries. It is […]

Kitsumoto Jinja – The "Mandarin" Shrine

Kitsumoto Jinja priest, Mr. Kazunori Maeyama, explains about Tajimamori, the Shinto God of the Mandarin. Purification here is not without a mandarin An ancestor of the original Tachibana tree The shrine priest shows us a fruit from the Tachibana tree. The small shrine building The God of the Mikan, the satsuma mandarins Hidden in Shimotsu, […]

Koyasan: Heart of Shingon Buddhism

One of the best times of year to visit Koyasan is in autumn to see the momiji (maple leaves). The Okuden at Kongubuji temple is an "inner hall" used for ceremonies, however in recent years various dignitaries (including Crown Princess Masako) have stayed here.  The Okuden is surrounded by the Banryutei, Japan's largest rock garden. The Daito […]

Kumano Hongu Heritage Center

The North and the South Hall Information boards in the North Hall Temporary exhibition in the North Hall Three Kumano mandala in the North Hall Various objects displayed in the North Hall’s permanent exhibition The South Hall The North and the South Hall (Photo: Virginia González) The Kumano Region, located in the rugged Kii Mountains, […]

Kumano Hongu Shrine Spring Festival

Venue: Kumano Hongu Taisha When: Apr 13th – Apr 15th 2022, 12:00am – 11:59pm While this event is confirmed, coronavirus (COVID-19) measures may result in sudden cancellation, postponement or changes to the event format (eg online only). While we do our best to keep our listings updated, please check the official event website for the […]

Yuasa and Kushimoto Town

The streets are preserved as they were The observation deck in Kushimoto Great views of the nearby lighthouse The standing rocks at low tide The standing rocks lead to the small island Fresh sashimi is a must! Yuasa Town Striving to preserve its historical past together with their most beloved produce, soy sauce, Yuasa town […]

Mount Koya: Beware of Bears

Karukayado Kongobuji Daito Karukayado I stop at Karukayado (the Hall of Karukaya). The Karukaya is a story of a boy called Ishidomaru who came to Koya-san in order to meet his father. The boy met a monk, who was, in fact, his father. But, as the monk had renounced his past life for the priesthood, […]

Mount Koya

Spring time at Konpon Daito pagoda in the Danjo Garan sacred compound Impressive Saito pagoda in the Danjo Garan compound One of over 200,000 tombs set amidst large cedar trees in Okunoin, said to be Japan's largest graveyard Spring time at Konpon Daito pagoda in the Danjo Garan sacred compound Hidden away on a mountain […]

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