We walk from Takahara to Chikatsuyu and will stay at the Minshuko Nakano, a basic lodge.
We walk through mountain forests and ridge-top communities.
An Oji, subsidiary shrine
Close-up of left statue (this multi-arm statue reflects an early Buddhist/India influence)
Descending on the Kumano Kodo
Purification for an oji
Walking through a community — fish
Jizo statue built to mark the place where a pilgrim died from hunger in 1854. He had placed an oval coin (Koban) in his mouth — so this statue is known as the Koban Jizo.
The left statue shows the retired Emperor Kazan (who completed the pilgrimage). He is portrayed as a boy riding a horse and a cow. Beside him is a statue of the founder of a mountain ascetic practice.
We stay in Ckikatsuyu — fish are grilled for supper.
Starting off dinner with sashimi (raw fish) — good!
More fish — very good!
We take a bus to a cultural center. We see exhibits explaining the Kumano Kodo trek.
Main Deities — each of the three Shinto shrines has its own deity. Shintoism has a local flavor that has been integrated though the adoptation of Buddhism. Under the influence of Buddhism, the local deities were thought to be incarnations of the Buddha — and could be honored within the context of Buddhism.
We walk the Kumano Kodo — high elevation — we are hoping to catch a glimpse of the great shrine.
Pilgrims used to fall on their knees when they first saw the great torii, Oyunohara, outside of Kumano Hongu Taisha.
You can see the great torii Oyunohara, the largest torii in Japan.
Our lunch — rice wrapped in sea weed and pickled takana mustard leaves (meharizushi) prepared for us at the lodge.
Purification for entering the shrine area.
Entering Kumano Hongu Taisha
The austere main shrine
We watch a tour leader instruct participants — they stand in line, waiting, in turn, to ring the bell, bow, pray, and clap their hands. To the right, a cult group, dressed in white, prays in formation and claps in unison.
The tour group stands in line; each individual rings the bell and prays.
There are many small religious sects in Japan — some of which become mainstream.
Ueshiba Morihel, founder of Aikido, was born in this area (Tanabe). Aikido is a philosophical system and martial art that uses the opponent’s energy against him.
The great torii Oyunohara, site of the original shrine grounds, now has rice beside it.
I watch a man planting rice.
The rice field contains footprints.
Human religions are created by humans. The forms that religions take reflect the culture of each society’s practitioners. Those who look deeply inside themselves perceive the inner source that gives rise to religion.