Hongu Taisha Spring Festival

Keeping traditions alive in Kumano

By Alena Eckelmann    - 1 min read

The spring festival at the Hongu Taisha (April 13th to 15th) gets absolutely everyone in Hongu Town-from the young to the old-participate to keep traditions alive. First a ceremony takes place at Hongu Taisha, one of the Three Kumano Grand Shrines, where a procession is forming. Then the procession makes its way to Oyunohara, a sandbank in the Kumano River and one of Kumano’s most holy sites. There a another ceremony is performed to honor the Kumano Deities and the tradition of the Kumano Kodo pilgrimage. Participants wear period costumes making for an authentic experience much to the enjoyment of visitors who join the locals in their festivities.

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Alena Eckelmann

Alena Eckelmann @alena.eckelmann

Celebrating my 10th year anniversary in Japan in May 2018, the country that I call home now. I lived in crazy Tokyo for 6 years and since 2011 I call the Kii Peninsula (Kumano, Koyasan and Yoshinoyama) my home. I have visited all 47 prefectures of Japan and for the last 4 years I have worked as a guide for foreign visitors. My special interest is in Japanese nature and spirituality. I love spending time in the forest and mountains and I love visiting temples and shrines. I am also a licensed guide for the Kumano Kodo pilgrimage trails and for Koyasan, the Buddhist monastery, in addition to being a practitioner and guide for Shinrin Yoku (Forest Therapy).   In recent years I have taken visitors to walk the Kumano Kodo trails, the Nakasendo trail, the 88 temple pilgrimage trail around Shikoku Island and to Dewa Sanzan, the three sacred mountains in Yamagata Prefecture. If you look for nature and spirituality in your trip to Japan, then Wakayama, Nara and Yamagata Prefectures are ideal places to get started!