Around 480 km from the popular Mount Fuji trek in Japan, there is a trekking trail that is even more sacred to the people of Japan, but less frequented and lesser known to travelers. The trail snakes through the dense mountain forests of the Kii Peninsula in Japan, located south of Kyoto and Osaka. Established in the 10th century, the Kumano Kodo trail is one of the oldest pilgrimage trails in the world, and one of two that is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The other one is the Camino de Santiago in Spain. The Kumano Kodo pilgrimage takes you to three Grand Shrines: Kumano Hayatama Taisha, Kumano Nachi Taisha and Kumano Hongu Taisha. Here are some images of the scenic trail. ALSO READ: Photos of Gunkanjima Island in Japan That Showcase Its Desolate Beauty Also Read - Despite 42 Covid-19 Deaths in the Country, Japanese Defy Social Distancing to Admire Cherry Blossoms

An image of Kumano Kodo; letters on the banners say Kumano Daigongen, the name of the god

An image of Kumano Kodo, a sacred trail and World Heritage site in Wakayama, Japan. Letters on the banners say Kumano Daigongen, the name of the god Also Read - Twitter Advices Its 5000 Global Employees to Work from Home Amid Coronavirus Fears



Moss-covered stones mark the trail along Iseji, the Eastern Route of Kumano Kodo

Kumano kodo; Iseji Also Read - 119 Indians, 5 Foreigners Onboard Coronavirus-hit Japan Ship Land in Delhi on Air India Flight

A view of the walking path at Kumano Kodo, a UNESCO World Heritage since 2004

Walking path at Kumano-Kodo, UNESCO World Heritage since 2004, Wakayama, Japan



The entrance to Hiryu Temple and Nachi Falls on the sacred trail; the text reads ‘Hiryu Temple, Annex of Nachi Shrine’

Nachi, Japan at the entrance to Hiryu Temple and Nachi Falls on the Kumano Kodo sacred trail. (Text reads, Hiryu Temple, Annex of Nachi Shrine)

Kumano Kodo refers to a network of pilgrimage trails through the southern Kansai region

Kumano Kodo pilgrimage routes in Wakayama, Japan. Kumano Kodo refers to a network of pilgrimage trails through the southern Kansai region

The famed Daimon-zaka slope of Kumano Kodo; the letters spell out ‘Daimon Zaka of Kumano Kodo’

Daimon-zaka slope of Kumano Kodo in Wakayama, Japan. Letters mean Daimon Zaka of Kumano Kodo. The Kumano Kodo was registered as UNESCO World Heritage site in 2004

The view when walking along the Daimon-zaka slope in Nachi

Kumano Kodo at Daimon-zaka slope, a sacred trail and World Heritage site in Nachi, Wakayama, Japan

A shinto priest and tourists at Kumano Nachi Taisha Shrine’s Heiden hall

A shinto priest and tourists at Kumano Nachi Taisha Shrine's Heiden hall. The Temple is a World Heritage Site

Nachi Taisha is one of the main destinations of the Kumano Kodo pilgrimage routes

Nachi Taisha was one of the main destinations of the Kumano Kodo pilgrimage routes

Nachi Falls, Japan’s tallest waterfall with a single uninterrupted drop

Nachi Falls, Japan's tallest waterfall with a single uninterrupted drop

Another view of the Nachi Taisha Grand Shrine buildings

Nachi, Japan at Nachi Taisha Grand Shrine buildings

The view from one of the rest stops along the Kumano Kodo pilgrimage route

Kumano Kodo - ancient pilgrimage route in Japan that has more than 1000 of years

One of the Kumano grand shrines at Wakayama

Kumano Shrine at Wakayama Japan

Pilgrim man and woman hiking up the Daimon-zaka, paved with stone and lined with massive evergreens, to the gates of Nachi Taisha

Pilgrim man and woman are hiking up the Daimon-zaka. The route, paved with stone and lined with massive evergreens, leads 600 meters up to the the gates of Nachi Taisha, Wakayama, Japan

The Kumano Kodo pilgrimage is almost the polar opposite of the Mount Fuji trail. Here, you’ll seldom find pilgrims or other people around you. For most of the journey, you are alone and in peace with nature, present in all its untouched purity around you. The earliest recorded visits to the region was by emperors Uda and Kazan, and the whole route and the three grand shrines symbolize how the region’s culture and religion is in sync with nature.