Iseji Japan 2019

Day 18: Odomari to Shingu

Sunday was the last leg of my walk, from Odomari, where I have slept the past two nights, to Shingu, more specifically the third of the grand shrines of Kumano, the Kumano Hayatama Taisha (the two others being Nachi Taisha and Hongu Taisha, which I visited earlier during my walk.

I am writing this Monday morning, looking out over the bay of Kii-Katsuura, with the trawlers and tourist boats shipping people back and forth to a couple of hotels that lie on islands within the bay.

The first and pretty much only climb on Sunday was Matsumoto-toge pass. The climb started 500m from the hotel and was up to 135m, so pretty easy. I spoke with a Japanese man on the way up, he worked for Suzuki. I asked him about work-life in Japan. He told me that most people still worked for one company, but at least in the bigger companies one woks 50 hours a week, and the majority of people don’t work weekends. For smaller companies in smaller towns many worked Monday to Saturday. He told me that long work hours was now mostly a big city thing. Only once had he been outside Japan. Many years ago he was in Orlando and visited Disney and Universal, and loved it.

The guardian statue at top was erected whilst the land owner was away. When he returned in the evening, he thought it was a ghost and shot at it. Even today, one can see the bullet hole, if you know where to look.

We reached the top together, but he needed to rest and I had another 27km in 24 degrees, so pushed on. I walled through the narrow streets of Kumanoshi, past a couple of temples and eventually was walking along the coast, next to the tsunami wall that protects the towns in case of disaster.

The pebble beaches were deserted, apart from a few fishermen. After a few kilometers I came to the lions rock, Shishi Iwa, so called because at the right angle it looks like a roaring lion.

I walked on along the coastline until I reached Hananoiwaya shrine, which is a 45m high rock, which according to myth is the gravestone of Izanami, who gave birth to many deities, but who burned to death when giving birth to Kagutsuchi, the fire god.

I walked in land for a few kilometers, passing though a few villages and a scrap metal yard, directly onto the road.

There was a lot of walking along route 42, so in the end it was just a matter of putting on my headphones and walking as many kilometers as possible as quickly as possible.

At Kii-Ida the route goes back in land and one takes the backroads to the shrine. If I was ever to do this again, I would take the train from Arii station (after Hananoiwaya) to Kii-Ida station.

There were a number of small shrines the last few kilometers and a sign showing that I had 10km left to walk.

The final kilometer takes one along the Kumano river towards the final destination. The Kumano Hayatama Taisha Shrine, is, in my opinion the most beautiful of them all. The Shrine was empty, an amazing difference from Ise Grand Shrine just a week ago – what a difference Golden Week makes.

I checked Google Maps and it was 1,2km to the station, and 30mins to the next train. I walked to the station and caught the train to Kii-Katsuura, where I will be staying a couple of nights. I somehow managed to get off a stop too early and had to walk yet another 2km to the hotel.

At the hotel I had a hot bath and sat at the port with a beer I bought from a guy with a parrot.

And dinner was excellent, as it was when I stayed here 1 year and 1 day ago. Three or four other dishes were added as well.

3 Comments Add New Comment

  1. Lawrence says:

    Would love to know the name of the hotel you stayed in in Kii-Katsuura. We will be there soon. Love your blog.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *