Kumanokodo Iseji


This is the most grueling leg of the Iseji. It used to be feared by pilgrims because it was plagued with bandits and wolves. This route is has many Buddhist stone statues along the wayside. There are many historical spots and stunning views, but at a price. Both the ascent and decent are steep, and seasoned hikers can experience first hand how pilgrims felt on their way to Kumano.NOTE that the Meiji course is not safe as a hiking course, Please take the Edo route which is designated as a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

Distance Approx. 10.1km
from Mie prefecture Kumano-kodo Center to Mikisato Station
Walking time 5hrs.
Level ★★★★
Gravestones of fallen pilgrims
From these gravestones you can see how widely popular this pilgrimage route was.
The first grave belongs to a man from Ibaraki (500km NE), the second from Nagasaki on the southern island of Kyushu (800km W) and the third from Hiroshima (500km W).
Sadly, some of the pilgrims couldn't survive the journey, but local people generously gave them a proper burial.
This is the steepest slope on this route, the most difficult on the route to Kumano from Ise. The stone steps seem to keep climbing on and on endlessly.
Kojindo and the grave of Mampoin
Many pilgrims came here to worship here before starting the Saigoku Kannon Pilgrimage of 33 Buddhist temples worshiping deities of mercy. Nearby stands the grave of an ascetic mountain priest who came to here to drive out the bandits on this stretch of the road.
The viewpoint at the top
On a clear day, there is a magnificent view up and down the coast. There is an arbor so you can have lunch out of the rain when the weather is bad.