Japan, Santiago, Unesco discussed on The Budget Minded Traveler
I'll be at a little jet lag today. I did us get in late last night. And I've been in Japan for three weeks. So it's, it's going to be a little bit of a shock to the system for the next few days, but I love it. We get you like fresh off the plane, like your head probably hasn't even had time to process, everything that you just went through, and we're going to go there. Anyway. Well good as long as long as you know that. I'm good to go. I was wondering where my niece has soup west this morning, have any, I missed it. Was that? Did you have that like every day? Yeah. Most. Yeah. Japanese breakfast, always Mesa soup. Normally some fish various other things that I had no idea what it was. But yeah, I got used to that. Wow. That's so cool. So you were there for three weeks, and that is what we are here to talk about, of course. So I guess we can get right into it. You did a portion of its just a portion you did of the commodity Kodo. Right. Well. It's a it's a good question. Because what I did was the new Koto, and it's unlikely, a regular pilgrimage route where you have a very specific beginning and ending. It's a little bit more going to say. Haphazard. But, but yes, I did five days of it. Basically, went from one place to and finished at temple. But there were a few times, where I had to take buses in order to make that work, but yeah, so I did the pilgrimage I technically got the status of a pilgrim. Come on. Koto pilgrim. And there are longer routes. There's about seven routes that you can do on the commodity Koto. Okay. So let's start with the first question, which is, what, what is the commodity Koto like you have already mentioned that it's a pilgrimage? Uh-huh. This is we. We did talk a few sets back about the community Santiago in Spain being a pilgrimage. So maybe you can enlighten us a little bit about what the come on. Koto trail, actually is. Yes, I wish I wish I could say fully understood it, but I still had something very different. It is a pilgrimage, but it's not a Christian pilgrimage. It's a ancient pilgrimage from the eleventh century in which basically people from all walks of life from emperor to samurai to just regular people used to complete and I shouldn't even say complete they used to walk in this area. So it was considered the key peninsula, which is a south of Osaka. It's one of the biggest peninsulas in Japan is the area for the Camano hikes and key k I actually means tree. And this whole area is filled with mountains and trees sounds beautiful. It is beautiful. It's just green trees everywhere. But this was an area where people used to come. To kind of cleanse themselves in a way, it was a, it was a process of purification in praying and kind of becoming one with nature, so where's the community? Santiago is this whole process of walk into the end and basically being forgiven of your sins. Getting the Compostela. The KOMO news Koto isn't quite as clear as that. But it is the idea of pilgrimage ING through these kind of sacred mountains to three. There's three different sacred shrines that you can attend or go to, and it's a process of purification in getting closer to nature. So that that's what it is from a historical standpoint. Now it has developed into these kind of seven routes, and it also, I can't remember what year it was but achieved UNESCO world. Heritage status a few years ago. And it is the only other pilgrimage route, basically that is cheap UNESCO status. In addition to the Camino to Santiago, so that's why lots of times they've talked about together as kind of sister pilgrimages. Uh-huh. Okay. Yeah. You did mention that earlier. So that does make sense. Okay. Yeah, but they're two very different religions. So the other thing is the Japanese basically practice Buddhism, and Shintoism, which are there to religions in what the commander Koto or what this area did was kind of bring the two together and intermixed them. So it is spiritual definitely spiritual. But it's just it's not like the Christianity that many Americans were used to. Okay. So do you know I have two questions to follow that up? Do you know approximately like is it pretty touristy or do you know? Well, that's a hard question to you, because there are multiple different routes, I suppose, but I mean, I know that it's not as popular as the Camino, we can start with that nodded. Yeah. So did you see a lot of people when you were out there? I mean who knows about this, and who's going to do this hikers? Or do you think people are there to actually respect the, the reason it's there in go to, like kind of cleanse, and do like the nature thing. What do you think about that depends? So as far as the reason people are there it depends, I would say the few Japanese people that I met along the trail. It was a little bit more of a maybe kind of us spiritual journey for them. Whereas all kind of the, the westerners western Europeans Americans are probably there, mainly to hike and a lot of people I have a feeling. Are there who have locked the Camino to Santiago, and are looking for other pilgrimages to do which is what really brought me there, too? So as far as how many people it's a good question. I actually asked one of the big providers there that I worked with Oku Japan, if they had any stats on the number of people who finished or you know, but like I said, it's not a real clear cut starting finish. So it's, it's hard to say and they didn't have any numbers nor did the tourism board, really any real good numbers that they could share with me. Sadly, but from my experience. No, they were not a lot of people at all. On average, like I did count one day it was a full day of hiking for me. I think it was only like a little over six miles, but it was a long day. So it was up and down through these mountains. I walked solo. But in that day, I saw only think it was ten other groups of people, and that mainly consisted of couples. There was maybe two out of those ten that was bigger groups that were hiking together. Let's say ten or more. Let's say ten probably ten people. And then there were very few solo hikers too. I mean, I may be ran across to other solo hikers. So I thought that was really interesting. Most of the time I was at their hiking. I was pretty much felt completely alone. So in that way, it's nothing in many ways, actually, it's nothing like the Camino to me, the only thing that the Camino, and this pilgrimage the KOMO Makoto heaven. Come in are the UNESCO status. Very different things. Okay. Yeah. That pretty much means it's exactly like totally different from the canal. Okay. I mean, and they're both pilgrimages will relate in this different and, but the type of pilgrimage is very, very different. The one thing also to know is because it's just gaining popularity there, the infrastructure around. It is not there yet. And I don't know that ever get there as far as like the community Santiago, which has so much infrastructure around it in the sense of like lodging restaurants, you know, services, more the pilgrims. This is very much restricted because the places where you go the, the villages are small, and there's not a lot of lodging options. So it's kind of self restricted by the fact that there's nowhere to stay really don't book early enough for few don't organize it, it's not the type of trail at least during the higher seasons. Probably in the winter. This would be okay, but anything other than winter, it's not the kind of trail where you just walk in hope to find a place to stay when you're done walking right in a. Apparently you can do that on the communal like depending on the season. Yeah. Okay. Oh, wow. Okay. And so let's, let's be clear about the timing you this is June right now. And so you were there, walking the at the end of the day, the last week of may and that was shoulder season. Or do you think that was tourist season getting into? It's you know, I would say it's kind of on the its near shoulder season because June is considered rainy season for Japan. Okay. So most people had told me had suggested that I get as much, but, you know, don't really come too much June. Maybe beginning of June is okay. But the other thing that you have to think about, and this is okay. Who really helped me with this too, is I was going to go at the beginning of may, and they're like, no don't even bother because it's Golden Week in. Japan which is like a week long holiday. And they're like, don't even bother then because it would be a mess. So that's why I moved it to later in may. I think, but I, of course, don't know 'cause I didn't do it. I personally think the best times to go would be early spring, like say March April, and then probably fall. Let's say September October November. I think the summer would be pretty warm and you contend with rain. A lot more brain probably June, July. Okay. That's good Intel, and if you go in the spring, that's oh, some CNN. Right. Yes. Yes. Now granted you are walking mainly not through cherry trees. You're walking through Japanese cedar. But still, it would be dutiful. It's a good time to be in Japan, regardless. Yeah. You can you can go to Kyoto, right? And see the cherry blossoms there. I see all the crowds, and then escaped to the keeping flood, like it out forest bay than the mountains. So you mentioned that you did it solo but you did go with Oku. So did they did? They was it easy to follow the, the pather like were there signs along the way. Did they have to give you instruction I'm like thinking back to when I went on my bike tours and leg? We had to follow the directions otherwise we would have been lost. But in a place like I don't know the w for example, interest so pinedale like you can't really get lost their like it's easy to follow. So how was it injected in there? And I've done the w so yes, I would say it was more like the w you really can't get lost. Okay. However, yes, I went with Oku Oku provides a self guided option where they helped you set up. They basically help you kind of figure out how many days, you're going to be there and the Browns you wanna take the help you set up all the lodging any food that kind of goes along with the lodging and they do give you. You a ton of information on maps, and, like how to get to the trail heads. And then there are a lot of places to where like I said, unlike the Camino, where you do sometimes have to take a bus or some kind of public transportation to get to the next place, and they help you organize all of that. Now I'll be very honest. I freaked out when I got there, big packet of information started reading through it, of course, at the last minute 'cause I do everything last minute. So like, you know the week before I'm supposed to go, I'm reading through all of this stuff about every day, and all these detailed things about the, the, you know, the trail and the maps, and all this stuff and I kind of freaked out because I'm like, oh, my God. This is so much harder than I thought it was going to be. And I'm imagining myself getting loss, you know, walking alone and all this stuff, and I actually wrote them and, and I'm like, wow, this seems really complicated. And they're like, no, it'll be fine. It'll be fine. And so I get there and it wasn't complicated at all. When I learned to do from the logistic kind of logistics stuff that they sent me was not really too much, not worry too much about it, but only read one day at a time. Like what do I have to do tomorrow? I have to get up and I have to catch this bus and whatever I'm walking this route and day by day. It's really easy. And I didn't even honestly I didn't even open their maps when I was on the trail. So that's how easy it was around the trail. Maybe only can I think of two times that in my head. I thought I hope I'm on the right trail.