About 5 hours
Around 10.1km (From Kumano Kodo Center to JR Mikisato Station)
This is the most grueling part of the Saigoku pilgrimage, and pilgrims were often at risk of attacks by bandits and wolves here back in the day. Upon crossing Mount Yakiyama, hikers will be met with many stone buddhas all around. This route has many historical sites and beautiful views, but the ascent and descent of this route is extremely steep. Seasoned and confident hikers can try taking this route and experience for themselves the tough journey that the pilgrims had to take back then.
These gravestones were erected by the locals for pilgrims who did not survive the treacherous journey, with the first belonging to a pilgrim from Ibaraki Prefecture, the second belonging to a pilgrim from Iki Island of Nagasaki Prefecture, and the third belonging to a pilgrim from Hiroshima Prefecture.
This is the steepest segment of the entire route, with endless flights of steep winding steps.
Kojindo and the Grave of Mampoin
Many pilgrims used to visit and pray here before arriving at the first stop of the Saigoku Kannon Pilgrimage. The grave of Mampoin, a yamabushi (a mountain ascetic hermit) who suppressed bandits who plagued the area, can be found nearby.
Sakura no Mori Hiroba
There is a pavilion here in the midst of numerous cherry blossom trees, from which you can see Shima Peninsula and Mount Nachi on a clear day.
Other routes on the Kumano Kodo Iseji Trail