The flickering light of candles placed in thousands of paper lanterns and bamboo holders wash the...
The Kunisaki Hantou Minemichi Long Trail, to give its full name, is a meandering, 134km-long hiking route that weaves through the Kunisaki Peninsula following in the footsteps of the Rokugo-Manzan monks, who first came here for their ascetic practices 1,300 years ago. The route links many temples and other sacred sites including the Kumano Magaibutsu, Makiodo, Fuki-ji, Tennen-ji, Inomure-yama, Nakayama-Senkyo, Kyu-Sento-ji, Itsutsu-ji Fudo, Iwato-ji, Monjusen-ji, Ruriko-ji and Futago-ji.
The trail passes by paddy fields and quiet hamlets via quiet country lanes, through forests along old mountain paths, and up to and along the many ridges that fan out like the rays of the sun across the peninsula. With the exception of the steeply sided, 721m-high Mt. Futago-san, climbs are rarely very long but do include some giddy heights, such as cliff faces and precipitous paths that should only be negotiated by competent hikers or in the company of an experienced guide.
Kunisaki is a special area and a hike along the Kunisaki Long Trail, in its entirety or just some of its constituent parts, is a journey not just into the peninsula’s geographical heart, but also its society, culture and history.