Hiking: Kumano Kodo and Owase Hiking Trail・熊野古道

I won’t pretend to know what I’m talking about when writing about the Kumano Kodo (熊野古道) so I’ll keep this post short and suggest you go over to Craig Mod’s wonderful www.walkkumano.com for all the info you need (and buy the book). You’ll be in good hands.

I cycled past this mountain pass on the Kumano Kodo a few years ago on a bike packing trip and it really was about time for another visit. The area of Japan that stretches between Ise Shine, Japan’s most revered (伊勢神宮) and the city of Owase (尾鷲) in Mie prefecture is one of my favourite parts of the country. Mountains, coastal villages, dried fish on shinto torii gates, drunken fishermen, the area has it all.* I spent a considerable number of weekends back in 2013 wandering around with my Leica and expired slide film photographing anything that interested me (here, here, and here) so it was refreshing to get back to the area and this time try some hiking.

At the start of the Magose Pass section of the Kumano Kodo.
Mountains in Kihoku to the north.
Magose Pass (馬越峠).
Owase hiking trail.

We chose to hike up to Magose Pass and then continue on to Mt. Tengura (天狗倉山) on the Owase hiking trail. Neither were particularly high or physically challenging but somewhat unexpectedly we found the first section of the Kumano Kodo difficult to walk on as the stones that made up the cobblestone path (known as ishitatami 石畳) were extremely slippy after some overnight rainfall. Life got much easier once we reached the turn off to the Owase trail.

The final climb up Mt. Tengura・天狗倉山 (522m)
Mt. Tengura・天狗倉山

For the first time I tried recording sound of both the ocean and the forest with my iPhone XR but without great results. Next time a proper mic attached to the Lumix G9 would probably be the better option. Still, if you have a minute and three seconds to spare go for it (it picks up ever so slightly after 30 seconds or so).

Details of the hike and more photos can be found, as usual, on the Yamap account here.

* I thought that photo was part of one of my posts from back in 2013 but I can’t seem to find it.

Cycled since I was a kid, moved to Japan in 2001, bought my first 'serious' camera in 2005. Spent the later half of the 1990s travelling in Australia, Hong Kong, India, Nepal, Japan, and the Philippines and wish I'd photographed a lot more back then.

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