Day 8 – The Road To Enlightenment – Walking The Saigoku Kannon Pilgrimage – Nachi-San To Katsuura, Wakayama, Japan

Day 8 – The Road To Enlightenment – Walking The Saigoku Kannon Pilgrimage – Nachi-San To Katsuura, Wakayama, Japan

Breakfast was served very early at our guesthouse.
The owner of our guesthouse had already started his morning routine of smoking a cigarette outside the guesthouse every ten minutes.

The funny thing was that even though nobody was outside so early, he was wearing a face mask, as if the poisonous smoke he was inhaling every ten minutes all day long, were not just as deadly as the coronavirus he might or might not catch.

After checking out, we started to walk down the slope, leaving Nachisan mountain.
There is an ancient stone paved pilgrims road, called the Daimon-Zaka.
It is the last part of the Kumano Kodo, heading to the Kumano Nachi Grand Shrine and Nachi-san Seigantoji-temple.

It is about 650 meters long, and is lined with old cedar trees, some of them with massive trunks.

There are two 800-year-old cedar trees, called the “Meoto Sugi,” meoto, which means a wife and a husband, and sugi, meaning cedar trees.

Even this early in the morning, we still met a few mothers and daughters who walked up the trail, with the tall trees towering over us.

The rest of the the walk to the town of Katsuura, was downhill and along the river.
We wished construction workers and people working in their gardens a good day, and otherwise felt happy.

Katsuura is famous for its fresh tuna and for its onsen hot springs.
In fact, the Katsuura port boasts the largest catch of fresh tuna in Japan.

The eateries around town serve all sorts of Tuna dishes, not only tuna sashimi and sushi, but also dishes like fried tuna and tuna burgers.

The fish market is set up for many tourists, with outdoor seating for lunch.
It was not empty when we visited, but it was most definitely operating on a reduced scale.

We walked around town, since we arrived too early to check in.
We sat in a small cafe, and the owner gave us some maps and brochures of things to see and do in the town.

The hotels and inns around town have their own onsens, some with outdoor onsens overlooking the ocean.

The locals were around, some working, some drinking and eating, but the town has the scale of a town that is normally flooded with tourists, who are now mostly gone.

As we walked around town, Jules said that it felt eerily quiet without all the tourists.
It was as if we were walking in an empty city, after a devastating war.

We arrived at our hotel, and sat in the lobby until check-in time.
Because there are not many tourists in our hotel, they had closed the public indoor and outdoor hot springs, and upgraded our room to a much nicer room with a private outdoor hot spring bath.

I guess it was more economical for them to upgrade us and the few more guests they have, than run the big hot spring pools for just a few guests.
The rooms on both sides of our room do have guests in them.

It felt heavenly to shower and bathe outdoors in privacy and in front of the blue ocean, then to soak in a hot springs bath where you can adjust the temperature exactly to your liking.

We sat looking at the birds of prey soaring in the sky on invisible currents, gliding effortlessly and without moving their wings.
We are observing and riding the invisible currents of global events right now…..not knowing what tomorrow will bring….
Like the birds in the sky….trusting that all is well and that we are divinely guided…..

We went to eat dinner in town in a restaurant that was recommended to us by our hotel’s front desk.
He told us they have very high end food, at very reasonable prices.

Unfortunately he must have been right, because every seat in the place was taken, with people crowding at the bar.
So we went next door to an Italian restaurant.
They served some local tuna and very good Italian food.
They were also full, but we got two seats at the bar.
The hostess came over with a bottle of hand sanitizer, and asked each guest entering the restaurant to rub their hands with the sanitizer.

The nights are still a bit cold at the end of March, and rain is predicted for most of next week, which will make walking a bit wet.
But tonight it is warm and dry in our room, and we are grateful for everything!

Wishing you a trillion blessings,

Daily stats:
Steps walked – 23,077
17 km. walked
Active walking time – 5 hours
Total walking time today – 6 hours.
Total walking distance on the Saigoku to date – 140 km

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