About 3 hours
Around 8km (From JR Atashika Station to JR Odomari Station)
Hadasu-no-michi: Hadasu is said to be the place where the illustrious Royal Doctor Jofuku came from China in search of the elixir of life. The mountain slope is dotted with terraced rice paddies and houses, and with the many legends and historical spots here, you can experience history in this small hamlet. A species of tree that Jofuku found to have medical properties now grows at Hadasu and Jofuku Shrines. Obuki-toge Pass: This route passes through an extensive bamboo grove which is rare on the Kumano Kodo. The gentle slopes, wonderful views and peaceful atmosphere make this an enjoyable walk. After descending the mountain, the view of the white sandy coast will melt away any fatigue you may have from the walk.
Kamakura Period Stone Path
This is a stone path dating from the Kamakura period, making it the oldest stone path on the Iseji Route. The stones used to pave paths in those days were much larger than those used in later periods, making it easy to distinguish from roads paved in the Edo period (1603‒1868).
Emperor Qin's doctor, Jofuku, came seeking the elixir of life and imparted knowledge of the advanced civilization of China to the locals. Even when Japan went to war with China 100 years ago, the locals' reverence for Jofuku never wavered.
The Footprint Spring
The famous Buddhist monk, Kobodaishi (founder of Koya-san), is said to have left a footprint in the stone here where this hole is. The holy water here never dries up and is said to cure anything that ails you.
The Inscribed Stone
There is a big rock in front of the house of a lord that ruled here long ago. A couple, whom the lord had wronged before settling here, had sought him out to seek revenge, but the lord retaliated when they attacked. He reflected on this tragedy and had these characters carved on this rock: Kin - diligence, Shin - prudence/moderation and Nin – endurance through humiliation.
Just before you get to the pass, you will see a stone fence erected in the Edo period to protect crops from wild boars and deer.
The Obuki Teahouse operated here until about 1950. They would wrap rice balls and sushi in the leaves of plants - called "baran" and "hanamyoga" - which they planted here. The teahouse is long gone, but the plants remain.
From Obuki Pass, a gentle slope descends through a peaceful and scenic bamboo grove. During the season of the bamboo shoots (typically in the months of February and March), try and spot the holes where wild boars have dug up these shoots.
The beautiful sand beach, the Mamirugashima and Hakoshima islands off the coast, and the rocky point called Onigajo (Demon's Castle) make for a breathtaking view.
Other routes on the Kumano Kodo Iseji Trail