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I spent 12 magical days in Japan and based my trip around the Kumano Kodō pilgrimage walk. I flew into Hiroshima from Sydney, Australia and explored the area including Miajima Island. I do regret not fitting Shimanami Kaido (One of the world’s most incredible bike routes) into my itinerary as not far that from Hiroshima. I then headed to Osaka to begin the walk and experience a large Japanese city plus it gave me the opportunity to travel on a bullet train. Ideally i would of like to have seen Tokyo but Osaka seemed to be a reasonable substitute. I walked the Kumano Kodo and then headed to Kyoto for a little more sight seeing before returning home (Sydney, Australia).

Highlights

Thumb Miyajima Torii Gate

Miyajima Island

Miyajima Island is less than an hour from Hiroshima and famous for its giant torii gate, which at high tide seems to float on the water. The sight is ranked as one of Japan’s three best views and the most accessible

Hiroshima

Hiroshima

I was extremely moved by Hiroshima and how something so horrific and violent occurred in what is just a beautiful and peaceful city.

Kumano Kodo

Kumano Kodō

The Kumano Kodō is a series of ancient pilgrimage routes that transverse the Kii Hanto, the largest Peninsula of Japan. These sacred trails were and are used for the pilgrimage to the sacred site “Kumano Sanzan” or the Three Grand

Osaka

Osaka

As i was doing the Kumano Kodo then Osaka’s Kansai international airport was to be my starting point for this adventure. It gave me the opportunity to experience a large Japanese city. Plenty of shops and a great train system after you worked it out.

Kii-Katsuura

Kii-Katsuura

Kii–Katsuura is where the Kumano Kodo meets the Pacific Ocean. Once a quiet fishing port, the town’s fortunes changed when an abundance of hot springs were discovered here and today the town’s shore line is dominated by many big onsen hotels.

Kyoto

Kyoto

Kyoto, Japan served as Japan’s capital and the emperor‘s residence from 794 until 1868. It is one of the country’s ten largest cities with a population of 1.5 million people and a modern face.

Itinerary

Wed 9th Nov 2016 – Arrival and explored Miyajima Island

I flew into Hiroshima from Sydney on an ANA overnight flight. (A transfer was required at Tokyo to catch a domestic flight to Hirishima). The flight and food were excellent although the cabin temperature was a little warm for my liking.

From the airport we caught a bus to Hiroshima where we dropped our bags off at Hotel Sunroute Hiroshima and headed straight over to Miyajima Island via Tram and Ferry.

Slept in Hiroshima

Thurs 10th Nov 2016 –  Explored Hiroshima

Visited Hiroshima Castle and Hiroshima Peace Museum.
Slept in Hiroshima

Fri 11th Nov 2016 – More Hiroshima then train to Osaka

After spending two days in Hiroshima I headed to Osaka via bullet train.

Slept on Osaka

Sat 12th Nov 2016 – Explored Osaka and Nara

Nara was the ancient capital of Japan about 1400 years ago and is a popular day trip sightseeing destination, close to both Kyoto and Osaka. As such, only in this city can visitors find historical sites such as shrines and temples which have more than 1000 years of history.

The main charms of Nara are its historical buildings, the best known of which is Todaiji temple. Nara has an older history than Kyoto which makes it a favorite destination for travelers to visit throughout the year.

Slept in Osaka

Sun 13th Nov 2016 – Kumano Kodo Day 1:
Train from Osaka/Kyoto to Kii-Tanabe (~3 hrs)
Bus from Kii-Tanabe to Takijiri (~40 min)
Walk from Takijiri-oji to Takahara (3.7 km, ~2.5 hrs)
Slept in Takahara

Mon 14th Nov 2016 – Kumano Kodo Day 2:
Walk from Takahara to Tsugizakura-oji (~14 km, 6~7 hrs)
Slept in Nonaka area

Tue 15th Nov 2016 – Kumano Kodo Day 3:
Walk Tsugizakura-oji to Kumano Hongu Taisha (21 km, 7~8 hrs)
Bus from Hongu to Yunomine Onsen (~10 min)
Slept in Yunomine Onsen

Wed 16th Nov 2016 – Kumano Kodo Day 4:
Bus from Yunomine Onsen to Ukegawa (~10 min)
Walk Ukegawa to Koguchi (~13 km, 4.5~6 hrs)
Slept in Koguchi

Thurs 17th Nov 2016 – Kumano Kodo Day 5:
Walk Koguchi to Kumano Nachi Taisha (~14.5 km, 6~8 hrs)
Slept in Nachi

Fri 18th Nov 2016 – Kumano Kodo Day 6:
Bus from Nachisan to Kii-Katsuura station (~20 min)
Took a boat trip to explore Kii-Katsuura
Train from Kii-Katsuura to Kyoto
Slept in Kyoto

Sat 19th Nov 2016 -Explored Kyoto

Over the centuries, Kyoto was destroyed by many wars and fires, but due to its exceptional historic value, the city was dropped from the list of target cities for the atomic bomb and escaped destruction during World War II. Countless temples, shrines and other historically priceless structures survive in the city today.

Sunday 20th Nov 2016 – Osaka (return home)

 

Useful Resources

Japan National Tourism Organization http://www.jnto.go.jp/

Timetable and Route Search http://www.hyperdia.com/en/