Kumano Kodo Nature Hiking & Ise Grand Shrine Trip: Part 1

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Taking the night bus to Mie (approximately 400 miles away from Tokyo), those attending this TUJ trip awoke in the morning to find a lovely beach!

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Even though it was around 5:30AM, the sun and sea was refreshing and energizing (not to say we all didn’t nap after getting back on the coach).

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  After a bit of driving, we arrived at our first hiking site. It was a short trek up the mountain, very enjoyable for an early morning walk.

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  The trees were absolutely incredible, rising far above us but still allowing sun to dance around.

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  We discovered that the cedars were sacred objects themselves, most over 800 years old!

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  As we went further on, we found many other people making the pilgrimage up to the shrine at the peak. White is a traditional color to wear when making this pilgrimage.

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  The weather was perfect for hiking with a cool breeze and warm sun all day.

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  The peak offered a beautiful view of the valley, with cherry blossoms blooming and blue mountains fading into the horizon.

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  There were a surprising amount of people at the peak’s temple! Everyone was thankful to have completed the numerous amount of stairs leading up.

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  Each temple offers a stream of fresh water accompanied with a series of bamboo ladles to cleanse the hands and the spirit. There is a particular ritual of scooping and rinsing the mouth, which left me feeling cool and refreshed.

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