Dear Haijin, visitors and travelers,
Welcome at a new episode in our wonderful Kai. This month we will go on a journey again, not by train or plane, but on foot. We are going to walk the Kumano Kodo ("ancient road") one of the most wonderful pilgrimages of Japan.
As you all know my master, Basho, was a traveling poet as was for example Yozakura, the unknown haiku poet and apprentice of Basho. Basho undertook several journeys in the last ten years of his life and we have followed him on his journeys here at CDHK often. His travels weren't pilgrimages, but they ar now seen as pilgrims routes because of his haiku.
Here at CDHK we have walked "Santiago de Compostela" and the Shikoku pilgrimage earlier, so we are experienced pilgrims I think, but this month we will have a "tough" pilgrimage, because the Kumano Kodo goes through the wonderful Kii peninsula of Japan.
|Kumano Kodo Map
For over 1000 years people from all levels of society, including retired emperors and aristocrats, have made the arduous pilgrimage to Kumano. These pilgrims used a network of routes, now called the Kumano Kodo, which stretched across the mountainous Kii Peninsula.
The walk itself was an integral part of the pilgrimage process as they undertook rigorous religious rites of worship and purification. Walking the ancient Kumano Kodo is a fantastic way to experience the unique cultural landscape of Kumano's spiritual countryside.
In July 2004, the Kumano Kodo pilgrimage routes were registered as UNESCO World Heritage as part of the "Sacred Sites and Pilgrimage Routes in the Kii Mountain Range" property.
Kumano has been considered a sacred site associated with nature worship since prehistoric times. When Buddhism arrived in Japan in the 6th century this area became a site of ascetic training. As Shinto and Buddhism mixed, the belief of Kumano as a Buddhist Pure Land became prevalent. The 9th and 10th century was the formative period of the sacred sites that we know today.
|Pilgrims on the Kumano Kodo
walking the path
overcoming my physical form
finding Inner Self
I hope you all will enjoy this new pilgrimage ... and I hope this pilgrimage will inspire you ...
This episode is NOW OPEN for your submissions and will remain open until March 10th at noon (CET). I will try to publish our new episode later on. For now ... have a save trip.