This “small road”, part of the ancient Kumano Kodo network of pilgrimage routes, cuts through Totsukawa and the center of the Kii Peninsula to connect the mountain-top temple complex of Koyasan in the North West with the sacred Kumano Sanzan shrines in the South. Known as “”the mountainous route to Kumano””, the 70 km route is characterized by steep trails traversing passes over 1000 meters in elevation. In Totsukawa, the route leads through the picturesque mountain village of Hatenashi, known as “sky village”, for its high elevation. The stone path through the village is lined with small Buddhist statues and wells with fresh drinking water.
The Hatenashi village that you will pass on the way is chosen as one of “”Japan’s 100 villages””. It overlooks the Kii Mountains, receiving the name “”hometown of the heavens”” for its beauty.