The Kumano Kodo Trail - Day 4 - Shingu

The rain had slowed down a bit when we woke up to Day 4 of our self-guided tour. The plan was to catch a bus to Shingu where Kumano Hayatama Taisha, another of the three Grand Shrines, is located and then take the train back to Osaka. Oku Japan offers a 5 day tour which includes a long and difficult hike to Nachi where the very impressive-looking third Grand Shrine is located, but we knew that hike was beyond our abilities and couldn't fit in a trip to Nachi by train or bus on this trip.

By the time we arrived in Shingu it was pouring once again. Walt settled in at the bus station, but I slogged across town in search of the shrine. I stood dripping in the doorway of some sort of apartment complex across the the street from the entrance to take this picture much to the amusement of an elderly man who was entering the building.

Once again I had the shrine pretty much to myself. As you can see, it looks much like the shrine in Hongu except for the color.

The Nagi tree in the picture on the right is reportedly over 800 years old.

It was a 4 hour train ride back to Osaka so we bought some snacks from a convenience store to eat during the journey. I was feeling a bit hungry as we sat outside on the platform waiting for our train, and I was considering eating one of my rice balls when suddenly the young man on the next bench let out a loud scream. A large bird had swooped down from the sky and snatched the food he was eating from his hand. The bird, known as a kite or tobi is apparently known for this sort of behavior. I don't think I'll ever feel comfortable eating food outside in Japan again.

The Kumano Kodo Trail had been a wonderful experience, but it felt good to return to Osaka and sleep in a western style bed. It will be difficult to come up with a comparable adventure on our next trip to Japan.