Since ancient times the Kunisaki Peninsula has been a training ground for Shinto religion dating back to 660 BC. After the influence of Buddhism into the Shinto religion, a combination of rituals and practices were combined and one of these ancient practices is Shugendo. Shugendo is the practice of hiking mountains and visiting sacred places along the way performing seclusion, fasting, meditation, while performing acts of endurance such as standing under waterfalls in extreme cold or standing or sitting in snow for extreme amounts of time while chanting sutras.
The Kunisaki Peninsula once flourished as a center for Shinto-Buddhist beliefs producing thousands of statues that can be found in some of the most unexpected places. The hiking trails range from all levels, which allows everyone to enjoy the peaceful and natural environment here on the Kunisaki Peninsula. The Kunisaki Peninsula Long Trail consists of 10 courses that range from 11km~18km(7~11mi) comprising 137 km. The concept of opening the long trail is to educate those about the history of Shugendo as it pertains to the Kunisaki Peninsula and its Rokugo Manzan Culture.
These courses span the mountains and streets allowing for some wonderful discoveries of temples and statues that have been left untouched for thousands of years. Come explore Kunisaki and its cultural treasures. You won’t be disappointed.
Please keep in mind that the Kunisaki Peninsula was formed from volcanic activity and that the center of the peninsula has many valleys and peaks, and that hiking in Kunisaki will not only be through the forests, but also cover roads that run through the valleys bringing you up close with local farmland, houses, and people. Over the last 50 years Kunisaki flourished agriculturally and many small roads were constructed leading into the mountains for farming. Nowadays these old mountain roads are not used and as we try to keep the trails predominantly through the mountains, periodically the trails will cross or even use the small unused mountain roads.
Hiking courses are coming in English! Thank you for your patience. In the meantime, if you have any questions about hiking in Kunisaki, please send me an email.
Kunisaki Minemichi Long Trail
The Kunisaki Long Hiking Trail is now complete spanning 137km from Bungotakada’s Kumano Magaibutsu all the way to Kunisaki’s Futagoji Temple. The long trail showcases the history of the peninsula through a combination of walking and trekking over main roads, mountain roads, and through the forests stopping at temples and landmarks along the way.
The Minemichi Kunisaki Hiking Trail is broken into 10 segment courses allowing for both day hikers and thru-hikers. Guides and maps are available for a fee.
If you would like to look at the hiking courses more in depth, you can check out the Kunisaki Hantou Minemichi Long Trail Hiking Club’s website. It is currently only available in Japanese, but we are always happy to assist in anyway we can, so please feel free to contact us as well.
Happy Hiking! GO Kunisaki!