Previous Gallery – Next Gallery
We got to Tanabe late and wandered over to our ryokan. Here is a shot of it during the day..
The ryokan felt a lot like a hostel. Shoes off at the door.
The lobby, where the internet was the strongest.
The Honeymoon Suite. Not quite as posh as where we were the night before.
Not all the toilets in Japan are heated. Traditional toilets look like urinals on the floor. Do It!
Up early for our day hike on the UNESCO Heritage Trail. Breakfast comes with the room. We chose a western style meal. Casey is trying to figure out what the fried meat is.
Eggs, I think that’s fried bologne, bread, and…
…yellow goo. We weren’t sure what it was, but I tried it and- surprise! it turned out to be corn chowder. A classic American breakfast item.
Statue of an ancient warrior monk Benkei. It’s said that he was six and a half feet tall and killed at least 200 people in every battle he was ever in.
Here he is again on a sign.
Looking out from Kii Tanabe Station in Wakayama Prefecture. The statue of Benekei is off on the left. Here we meet the 6am bus. It will take a leisurely 2 hours and take us to meet our guide for our day hike on the Kumano Kodo. A UNESCO Heritage trail.
Do I get internet out here?
Early morning japanese countryside from the bus. I don’t know what that is.
Casey meets our trail guide Jennifer. She will tell us everything we need to know about the pigramige.
The first shrine on the hike. Earliest use of these trails dates back to the 10th century.
Hiking the Kumano trail.
The trail joins three great shrines
Locals sell hand made crafts from wodden canopies on the side of the road. Sales are on the honor system.
An abandonded elementrary school.
A small shrine commemorating a little girl who died on the trail. Or a monk that died on the trail. Or for pregnancy. Or it could be for teeth. I forget.
These log beds are meant to lay down on and look up through the trees
Jennifer told us that the effect is better on a sunny day.
From here you can see aross the valley. The trail continues through the break in the mountains.
This view overlooks the grounds that had the biggest shrine ever built on it. But floods washed it away. Now, there is a giant gate (also the biggest gate in Japan) marking the spot where the temple stood. I you look through the trees to the water you can just make it out.
There’s the gate.
Jennifer told us there was an old soap opera that was shot in this house.
More small shrines.
Yatagarasu, the three legged crow. It is told the crow embodies the spirit of the sun and was sent from heavan to guide Emporor Jimmu on the Kumano trail back in 600 bc. Now Yatagarasu makes and appearance on Japans Wolrd Cup logo.
The shrine at the journey’s end… Hongu Taisha
Hongu Taisha. This is the shrine that stood in the flooded river valley marked by the large gate. It was moved to this location in the 1880’s.
Every shrine has a small fountain in front to clean/bless your hands and mouth before you pray.
The full shrine.
Jennifer shows us the proper technique for praying at the Shinto shrine.
Just like Sumo, these banners are from sponsors/donors to the shrine.
Time for Udon lunch.
Tempura vegetable block.
I don’t believe this man had ever seen a foreigner before. He asked us all sorts of quesstions and thought I went to Harvard.
Onson! The hot spring baths. Have you ever seen a picture of monkies in a hot spring. These are those springs. It’s super hot sulfer baths.
We get our own little room to spash around in for half an hour.
After a relaxing soak.
The view aroudn town while we wait for the bus to take us back to the ryokan.
Previous Gallery – Next Gallery