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Enjoying the morning and autumn leaves at Chikatsuyu-Oji

16 November 2016 

This was the view we had while we had our breakfast at Minshuku Chikatsuyu at 7 AM in the morning.  This minshuku is highly recommended for its good food served at dinner, nice location by the Hiki River and is one of the minshukus in the village that has its own shared indoor onsen.

The lady host helping us to snap a photo at Minshuku Chikatsuyu before we checked out.


Panoramic photo of the dining room at Minshuku Chikatsuyu 


After a simple breakfast of bread with jam and fresh fruits, we continued our Kumano Kodo journey with a stop at the Chikatsuyu-Oji before catching the 9.05 AM bus to Hongu.

Chikatsuyu-Oji is one of the oldest Oji shrine that has line the Kumano Kodo trail, offering places of worship and rest. Over 800 years ago, during the peak of the imperial pilgrimages, over 300 people could be staying at this area. They would perform cold water purification rites in the nearby river before worshipping.

 

We were blessed with clear blue sky and the morning sun shining on the autumn leaves at the Oji made the place looked even more magical.

Photographing autumn leaves at Chikatsuyu-Oji.


Stone with the iconic 3 legged crow at autumn leaves and flowers enjoying the sun at Chikatsuyu-Oji.


The plan for Day 3 is to hike the Kumano Kodo trail from Hosshinmon-oji to Kumano Hongu Taisha shrine. This is an easy 7 km hike that we have chosen instead of walking from Tsugizakura-oji to Kumano Hongu Taisha (21 km, 7~8 hrs) which is the normal plan.

For our plan, we would take the 9.05 AM Meiko Bus from the Nakahechi art museum to Hongu Taisha-mae. This is an express bus and does not stop at the Chikatsuyu-oji bus stop.  The Nakahechi art museum is just south from the Chikatsuyu-oji at the entrance to the large public parking lot. We would arrived at Hongu Taisha bus stop at 9.35 AM. From there, we were to change to the 10.10 AM Ryujin Bus from Hongu Taisha-mae to Hosshinmon-oji where we would begin our walk back to the Hongu Taisha Shrine.

Tip:  There is a shop with coin operated lockers across the road from the main entrance to Hongu Taisha and that was a good place to store our luggage before the walk.

We arrived at the Nakahechi art museum bus stop early and had some time to enjoy the sun and shoot some pictures nearby before boarding the bus at 9.05 AM.

Kumano Kodo Nakahechi route

Enjoying the morning sun and autumn leaves near the bus stop at Chikatsuyu before boarding the bus to Hongu. 

 

We arrived at Hongu as planned and found the lockers to deposit our larger backpacks and items we would not need for the hike. The lockers required a 500 yen coin to operate and it was fortunate we had such a coin with us.

The bus stop for the Ryujin bus to Hosshinmon-Oji was different from the one that we alighted from. It was easy to find with the help of map of the area that I had pre-printed before the trip. While waiting for the 10.10 AM bus, we even had some time to snap some photos of the entrance to the Grand Shrine before joining a queue of hikers, young and old, taking the same bus.   Some hikers may chose not to walk the entire Kumano Kodo and came by bus from Kii-Tanabe or Shingu to stay at one on the nearby onsen villages instead. This trail from Hosshinmon-Oji to the Grand Shrine would be a suitable day hike for these travellers.

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