The first day is not as beautiful as the previous days when it was sunny and warm. Instead, it is cold, rainy and stormy. I don’t mind, it just feels more like nature. The day is a holiday. The 21st March is the beginning of spring and for the Japanese people one of the few days off.
I decided to walk the pilgrimage the opposite direction. The first reason is that it’s more economical, the second reason that I’m just very unique and the third reason is that at this place, at und beginning of my trip, there is the shrine of Kumano Nachi Taisha, and whatever happens, I definitely wanted to see that shrine. The pagoda is situated at a side of a mountain and has a waterfall in the background. The picture of it is incredible.
There is not one route of the Kumano Kodo but five. They all cross in the middle of the mountains in a big shrine called Kumano Hongu Taisha. Kumano means the area, Hongu is the village and taisha means shrine. The word Kodo describes an old road.
It goes mainly through the forest, but as soon as you are in the open you are in the clouds and the wind blows the rain into your face. It’s not only the day with the worst weather, but also it’s the hardest episode of the individual intersections.
I’m alone. No one wants to walk in this weather but me.
Also, no one walks the same direction as me. In the following days I only meet people coming towards me. No one catches up on me neither do I find someone making a rest. It’s me, myself and my thoughts that wander around. Already before I started frequently to do daily short meditation and I decide to continue on that path. It’s a pilgrimage after all.
While the weather roars around me I arrive the top of the first peaks and cover myself totally with my jacket, close the eyes and just listen to the storm.
I’ll repeat this several times that day. A long sip from the sake I carry helps to feel even more cozy.