Leaving Gobo, we head towards south Wakayama, commonly called Nanki. This time we walked from Gobo to Kirime for 20km. Like other parts of the Kumano Kodo Kiiji Trail, there are many things to see along the trail including one related to the famous folk legend of the dragon Anchin and Princess Kiyohime. Additionally, this section of the Kiiji Trail goes right near the beautiful ocean, so it’s a really photogenic and relaxing area to hike.
Note: See here for the other entries of our Kiiji and Kumano Kodo series!
Kumano Kodo Kiiji Trail: Gobo to Kirime
Gobo is the biggest city in central Wakayama. The gobo「坊」(monk) suggests, that Gobo originated as a temple town of the Hongan-ji sect hundreds of years ago. However, the historic area of Gobo is near the Kishu Nishi-Gobo Station and there are not so many things near the JR Gobo Station.
The Kiiji Trail continues just a few minutes away from Gobo Stations. Shortly after, the trail crosses the Hidaka River, one of the most famous rivers in Wakayama Prefecture.
After Hidakagawa River is Iwauchi Oji. A with the case with other oji near the big river, it seems this oji was relocated often due to flooding. From Iwauchi Oji, the Kiiji Trail goes down some small roads through little neighborhoods. To be honest, if you do not have a map, it would be pretty hard to stay the course.
Just before Shioya Oji, the Kiiji Trail goes into a nearby forest. It was quite hard to find the right trail, but if you successfully find it, you will come out of the forest right in front of Shioya Oji. Shioya Oji is also known as Bijin Oji (lit. beautiful oji) because it enshrines a beautiful statue of Amaterasu.
The Hidaka River is famous as the natural habitat of seaside hibiscus or hamabo. These flowers are also the city flower of Gobo. They bloom from July to September, but we visited October, so we were too late…
At the mouth of Hidaka River, the Kiiji Trail goes south along the ocean and you can enjoy the view of the beautiful ocean! We also finally found several convenience stores! It is really rare to see them on this trail so we took this chance to stock up. It felt rather like an rpg quest, to be honest…
After Gobo is the small quaint town of Inami. Inami is a quiet place, but this is where bonito flakes originated; a staple of Japanese cuisine. Upon entering Inami, you can see famous geological (or maybe fishing) structures, such as the Hatanozaki Cape. Though the Kiiji Trail does not go along the cape, if you have time, you should go check it out! There are so many interesting and unusual rock formations. You will not be disappointed.
After the Hatanozaki Cape, Tsui Oji is up the hill. You can see the entire town from the top of the hill.
Shortly after reaching Inami Town, we found Ikaruga Oji or also known as Tomi Oji, which is one of the oldest oji. Unfortunately, that there is almost nothing left of the oji and even less nearby. After this point, the Kiiji Trail goes along the national highway and Kirime Oji is only 20 minutes away! We’ve almost reached our stopping point for today.
At long last, we arrived at Kirime Oji. Kirime Oji is the one of big five oji and it still has a large building enshrining it. Many things took place at this oji. For example, the son of Emperor Go-daigo, prince Moriyoshi, had a vision here to head to Totsugawa Village, where he made allies who helped him fight against the Kamakura government. If you go behind the shrine, you can find a large monument stating that the prince indeed stayed here.
It is only a few minutes away from Kirime Oji to the Kirime Station. Though the train only comes once an hour, it is still better than other parts of south Wakayama where trains only come once every 2-3 hours. The next time we finally going to finish the last section of Kii-ji: Kirime to Kii-Tanabe!