Yukawa Oji the dream of the powerful clan 湯川王子

Yukawa family was a powerful clan in southern Wakayama in several centuries until end of 16th century. There was Kameyama castle at the hilltop behind the Gobo station. Here was the base region of Yukawa clan.
In 1585, Toyotomi Hideyoshi won the war against Ohta, in today's Wakayama city. Then Hideyoshi advanced to south to subjugate Yukawa. Yukawa moved to the mountain of Nakahechi.
Despite the steep mountain region, there is relatively flat basin around Yukawa Oji. There is over 10 ha cultivatable land around here. Today, there no houses but there are many remain of houses and stone wall made the rice paddies.
Yukawa Oji is in this territory, with a Oji monument and small shrine building. There is small creek in front of the Oji. Backing about 100 m, there is a sign post "Yukawa family's graveyard". But the route to there is troublesome, the road is almost disappeared and there are no sign post ahead. It is more clear to cross the stream at Yukawa Oji and climb the hill about 30 m, you can reach the graveyard about 100 m walk.
Toyotomi Hideyoshi controlled whole Japan and Yukawa clan lost their power. Civil war era ended and Japan entered the new peaceful but boring historical stage.


# by wakayamakiga | 2017-12-13 21:51 | 平石保雄 | Comments(0)



  On Thursday November 16 (Thursday), I walked from Kobiro-Oji to Hoshinmon-Oji of Nakahechi with KIGA members. On the way to Kobiro, we looked at a big old ginkgo tree of Fukusada, and we took it in our cameras.

This area of Kumano road changed to walk through Rindo( forest roads) from Nakodo-tea house caused by disasters about five years ago, but recently I got a information that we are able to walk, so we decided to walk on the old road.(Michi.A)
It is a big trunk, I feel it annual rings.


The Kumano road goes on in a forest of the right hand side . After walking about tens meters, we will return to the rout 311 again and enter the natural forest on our left side.
This area of Kumano road changed to walk through Rindo( forest roads) from Nakodo-tea house caused by disasters about five years ago, but recently I got a information that we are able to walk, so we decided to walk on the old road.(Michi.A)

Nov 16th,We started from Kobiro-Oji pass through Kumasegawa Oji, and we started climbing a steep slope leading to Waraji-toge pass.
When we crosses the pass, it becomes a steep downhill. This is called “Mezaka” (woman's slope). After that, We started climbing a steep uphill slope again. This is called “Ozaka” (man's slope). And these slopes are called “Meotozaka” (couple's slope)
After this, we call the tea house along the river between two passages as a “Nakoudo chaya” (matchmaker tea house). This area is said to be a tough place.
At the end of the passage, there is a Iwagami Oji.
From there, the view of the Mikoshi toge pass direction was wonderful!
And everyone's tiredness was blown away by the wonderful view. (Michiko Y.)

We arrived at Iwagami-Oji safely.

 We had lunch time behind Iwagami Oji, on tree stubs as chairs.

  湯川村の上流の谷川のほとりに、小さな石の地蔵があり、おぎん地蔵と呼ばれています。 それには江戸時代(1813年)にあった悲話が伝えられています。
  当時の熊野古道は男性でさえも道中で山賊に襲われる危険がありました。 村人がおぎんの不幸を悲しみ葬るとともに、地蔵尊に託して道中の安全を願う地蔵を建てました。 

 A small stone-made Jizo stands at riverside of Yukawa-river. There is a sad story about Ogin-Jizo. In 1813 (Edo period), Ogin, a Geisha (a prostitute at Kyoto) was robbed of her money and killed here when she was on the way from Kyoto to visit her fiancé, Toyonojo lived at the village along Yukawa-river.  
 The robbery by bandits along the Kumano pilgrimage rout was always a risk even for men at Edo period.  
 A Jizo statue is usually dedicated as a guardian of the area. The village people prayed for a sad victim of pilgrimage, and expected she would then protect pilgrimages through a power of Jizo deity. (Haruo S.)

 言い伝えによると、明治の中頃(19世紀)、この地域に大洪水があり、村人達は、危険に陥りました。 その時お地蔵さんは、大声で叫び村人達が高台に避難するように知らせたのでした。村人は、運良く救われたのでした。その後、お地蔵さんをここに移し、今でも村人達に手厚く大切にされています。 

 This stone statue of Jizo or a Buddhist deity was placed in Iwagami mountain pass for a long time.   
  Behind the Jizo, there’s a rock with markings of snakeskin called Jagata. It was a stone statue to hold a memorial service for those travelers who died of hunger and illness on their way to destination.  
  According to a local legend, in the middle of the Meiji Era (19th C), when there was a big flood around this area, villagers were in danger. 
 Then this Jizo shouted to let them know that they should take refuse to the hilltop. And they were saved luckily. After that, they moved this Jizo in here and is enshrined respectfully even today.  
 There’s one more thing to tell you. Around this area, travelers may be possessed by Daru spirits or evil spirits. It is said not to eat all your lunch.  
  Leave some food for them to avoid its danger. (Toshiko.S)

 今日の参加者9名。/ I took a picture with nine members.

Following the course of the Iwata river, it was autumn leaves.

船玉神社/Funatama Shrine

猪鼻王子/Inohana-Oji ruins

MAP : From Kobiro-Oji to Hosshinmon Oji

# by wakayamakiga | 2017-12-02 12:40 | Nakahichi route/中辺路 | Comments(0)

熊野古道 楽しき2日間ガイド

Last Wednesday and Thursday, 22nd and 23rd, I guided a woman named Yoko to Kumano. In September when I had visited Kurama mountain in Kyoto, I had met her in the train and talked with her and I had suggested that if she would come to Wakayama, I would guide her to Kumano.

She came to visit Kumano last week and my husband and I took her to the trip to Kumano. At nine oclock in the morning, we picked her up at the hotel in Shirahama where Yokosan had stayed, and we three started the two daytrip.

First of all, we visited Takijiri Oji which was one of the five sacred Ojis and the entrance to the Nakahechi route (the most popular route). And there was Kumano Kodo museum, where you can learn what is Kumano Kodo is. Yokosan learned some about Kumano Kodo, and we prayed at the Takijiri Oji.

We drove to Gyuba Doji entrance, and Yokosan and I started walking from the entrance, visited Gyuba Doji, a famous statue and then walked to Chikatuyu Oji, the next Oji, where my husband had gotten ahead by car and waited for us.

After lunch, we three drove to Tsugizakura Oji, where big cedar trees were, thanks toKumagusu Minakata who had appealed to protect the trees which were about to be cut down in Meiji era.

Next, we visited Kumano Hongu Taisha, one of the Kumano Sanzan (three big shrines), and Oyunohara which was the original place of Taisha until the big flood in Meiji 22nd.

The night we stayed in Iseya, an inn, in Yunomine hot-spring. Yokosan and I took a bath in Tsuboyu (hot spring) which is a World Heritage site.

The next day, we drove to Shingu city, and visited the Shingu Hayatama Taisha and Kamikura Shrine. Kamikura Shrine is the place where Kumano Gongen, a deity, was said to be descended. Kumano Gongen was said to come from China first, then flew to Hiko mountain in Oita (Kyushu), next to Ishizuchi mountain in Ehime (Shikoku), flew to Yuzuruha mountain (Awaji island), flew to Kirime Oji (Wakayama) and finally descended to Kamikura shrine and stayed there ever since. There] are 538 steps to the shrine and you can see the good view of Ocean from there.

After Shingu city, we drove to Nachi. We walked Daimon slope for 30 minutes which is World Heritage Kumano Kodo, and we visited Nachi Shrine, Seigantoji temple and Nachi big fall which is the highest fall in Japan, 133 meters high.

Since Yokosan should get the flight ticket at Shirahama airport and take a flight for Haneda airport at 6:30 in the evening , we drove to the airport and saw her off.

Yokosan was an elementary school teacher and had retired 3 years ago, and a person who wants to learn many things, so she listened to me and asked me about Kumano Kodo. For two days we talked and talked and had a very good time. It was an irreplaceable experience for me as a guide of Kumano Kodo. (Yumiko.S)


# by wakayamakiga | 2017-12-01 05:44 | 須川由美子 | Comments(0)


 It has been raining from morning.We began to walk from Yakio,at 9:30.
After about an hour walk,we took a rest at Sangen-chaya(3tea houses ruins).
 When the rain stopped,it became so hot,we took off our rain wear,and continued walking the ruins of Sekisho(ancient times check point).
 We headed for Kumano hongu taisha shrine.We arrived before noon.First we prayed at the shrine,and we had lunch there.
  After that,we walked to Ooyunohara,where it is about 500m from Kumano hongu taisha shrine.Standing on the rice fields,the biggest torii(shrine gate)in Japan. It's 34m height and 42m in width. 

  There used to be a small island(sand bank)which is sorrounded by 3 rivers,Kumano,Otonashi,and Iwata river. 
  At that time,there were 12 shrines,No(h)play stage and so on. Until the Edo era,there was no bridge to the small island(sand bank).So people purified in the Iwata river,and crossed into sacred shrines. 
  Most of the shrines were unfortunately swept away by a big flood in 1889,and the remaining 4 shrines were transferred to the current Kumano hongu taisha shrine.The remaining 8 shrines are divided into 2 and enshrined in 2 small stone shrines.

  Next year,2018,there will be various anniversary events to celebrate the foundation 2050 years ago. (Michiko Y)


 その後,熊野本宮大社から500m離れた所にある大斎原まで歩きました。田んぼの中に 高さ34m,幅42mの日本一の大鳥居が建っています。ここは,かつて,熊野川,音無川,岩田川の合流点にある中洲にありました。当時,12社の社殿,能舞台等がありました。江戸時代まで,中洲への橋はなく,人々は,岩田川で水垢離をして,聖域に入っていきました。


# by wakayamakiga | 2017-11-06 21:31 | Kumano Sanzan | Comments(0)

Dainichi Pass in Kumano kodo

"Dainichi pass"
from Hongu to Yunomine
After lunch, we walked to Oyunahara、 the original Hongu Grand Shrine. Then we headed to Yunomine Hot Spring on the "Dainichi Goe" pass. This route is only 2.2km and the shortest road in Kumano Kodo. But it is steep road climbing about 250m in elevation.

We crossed Otonashi River and Iwata River that stream was used for "Mizu-gori" or purifying body for pilgrims, and road is flat. From here Dainichi Goe begin. We walked on well maintained steep stone step road. Two Japanese travelers walked with us and said "this road is too good (and I was disappointed)". But it is not correct, the road was complated in early 17th century and had been used until today.
Steep but good conditioned stone step road continues about 0.5km. Around the road there are big cedar and cypress trees. In the forest there are many flat areas. It suggests once there were many rice paddies composing the terrace field. Developing the economy after WWⅡ, many people migrated to the city and rice paddle changed to the cedar or cypress forest.

Then slope become milder and stone step is broken and rough. At the point 170m climbed, there is "Tukimi-ga-Oka" Shrine or moon watching shrine. It's name suggests this area was open and scenic space in the ancient times, not the forest. The road makes sharp turn to the right.
At the second sign pole indicating 1km, we reached the highest point and descend to Yunomine Hot Spring. We passed "Nose lost stone statue" or Hanakake Jizo. Then road become steeper and steeper down to Yunomine. Soon we can see among the cedar trees some curved tile roofs in Yunomine. We saw Yunomine Oji (mini shrine) and finaly arrived at Yunomine Hot Spring. (yasuo H)

from Hongu to Yunomine

The mountain pass from Yunomine-onsen toKumano-Hongu Grand Shrine.

This route is a bypass track of Nakahechiroute, ancient pilgrimage road to Kumano.

People purified themselves in the hotspring of Yunomine-onsen, before entering Kumano-Hongu Grand Shrine.


From Yunomine-Oji behind Yunomine-onsen, you walkup a steep slope, around

Dainichi-mountain (about 200m level aboveYunomine-onsen)


and walkdown to Kumano-Hongu Grand Shrine, about 3.4km, which is an easy walk if you takeyour own pace.


Along the ridge under cedar trees, theancient Jizo stones such as Hanakaki-Jizo , then Tsukimigaoka-shrine from whichcommands a view of Ohyunohara (the old site of Kumano-Hongu Grand Shrine)locates in the Kumano-river. (Haruo S)








The Yunomine Onsen is a hot springlocated about 2 km to the southwest of Kumano Hongu GrandShrine.

In Edo era, pilgrims purified theirminds and bodies by using this hot spring water before worship in Hongu GrandShrine. It was believed that this hot spring was goodfor incurable disease.

About 6 hundred years ago, a worrier Oguri Hangan who came from the eastern part of Japan heard about this and visited here to heal incurable disease.

It is said he could recover through Kumano Gongen (an incarnation of Buddha)

and Yakushi Nyorai ( a healing Buddha at temple of Toko) after he soaked in a hot spring in Yunomine.

This rumor spread quickly through Japan by Nenbutsu -Hijiri(Nenbutsu priests), who were members of Jishu or Ji sect, which was founded by Saint Ippen.

KumanoBikuni (Kumano nuns) also had to do with advocating this matter deeply. (Toshiko S)






 この噂は、時宗の遊行聖達によって日本中に広まりました。 時宗とは、浄土宗の一派で念仏宗のことです。一遍上人が開祖です。 遊行聖達と同様に熊野比丘尼も関わって来たと言われています。


# by wakayamakiga | 2017-10-30 23:09 | Nakahichi route/中辺路 | Comments(0)

KIGA 熊野・高野国際語り部の会のブログです

by 熊野小僧(kumano kozo)