Kumano Highway, Shindachisyuku
This is a former inn town with traditional old houses. Start your Kumano Kodo walking tour here, where you will find a wealth of local history, from historic sites along the Kumano Kodo route dating back more than 1,000 years to facilities where feudal lords stayed.
This is a temple with a clean, elegant appearance, located a short distance from the road. The highlight is the garden designed by Mirei Shigemori, one of Japan's leading gardeners, who is also known for the Honbo garden at Tofuku-Ji Temple in Kyoto. Visitors can also climb the mountain at the back of the temple grounds to enjoy a Buddhist pilgrimage experience with a sense of seclusion.
Yamanaka Gorge Side Terrace
This shop complex is a renovated 300-year-old house. Take a break in the café where you can enjoy delicious coffee and shakes. Also noteworthy is the shop's design, which combines modern aesthetic sensibilities while utilizing the appearance of the old architecture.
Yamanaka-juku, Kumano Highway
Yamanaka-juku is another inn town visited on this tour. In contrast to the Nobutatsujuku in the town visited earlier, it is a small village almost surrounded by mountains. Take a stroll through the winding alleyways and get a feel for the old-fashioned lifestyle left behind in rural Japan.
Yamanaka Shrine (Umame Oji Shrine)
This shrine is closely associated with the Kumano Kodo. In the small precincts of the shrine, 'Oji', the alter ego of the god of the Kumano Kodo, is enshrined at this location. The atmosphere is quiet and solemn, perhaps because it used to be a place where ceremonies were held. It is now a target point for walkers on the Kumano Kodo and the finishing point of this tour.