A civil servant from Spain told me that it was his first visit to Japan.
During his 3 months of stay, he was in Kyoto and Nara for a month each. On his way down to Kumano, he stayed at Koyasan mountain. He was there for 5 days.
On his first day in Kumano, we started with walking on Kumano Kodo.
We met up in front of Hongu-Taisha, and took a bus to Hosshinmon Oji shrine.
It was sprinkling, he enjoyed the beauty of mysterious misty Kumano forest.
He took a lot of pictures of the great green scenery of Kumano while we had a break at Mizunomi Oji.
“Hold on,” he said, and went into a little shack of sales stand by Fushiogami-Oji. I wondered what he was going to do, and saw him taking more pictures of the mountains wrapped in mist. He told me that he bought his Cannon in Kyoto and his backpack in Nara, as if he was a little boy telling his story to his parents. It gave me such a heartwarming moment.
We arrived at Fushiogami-Oji at 11:45, and had a relaxing lunch (Onigiri-Bento from his accommodation, Omuraya) with the scent of bamboo lilies all around.
He told me he liked all kinds of Japanese food, and that he often goes to Japanese restaurants in Spain, too. He ate almost the whole Bento lunch.
He stamped the commemorative seal that had a poem of Izumi Shikibu (Japanese poet) on a card, and asked me to translate it in English. I felt relieved when he finally understood after I tried really hard to explain it.
We enjoyed the misty afternoon. He asked me how far it is to get to Koyasan mountain from the remains of Sangenchaya. I could see how he was interested in Koyasan mountain.
We walked for a while and he seemed really moved when he saw the Oyunohara Torii gate from a viewing platform.
After hours of walking on Kumano Kodo, we finally reached Hongu-Taisha. We were fascinated by the beautiful cypress bark thatched shrine.
I explained about Hongu Taisha to him, but I felt like he was more interested in those forest along with Kumano Kodo and Kumano mountains than historical stories.
-Volunteer Guide, Jin Nakayama