Kiri-no-Sato Lodge

Lodging on the Nakahechi Pilgrimage Trail

By Alena Eckelmann    - 3 min read

Kiro-no-Sato Lodge is the perfect place to spend a night when you walk the Nakahechi pilgrimage trail located in the south of the Kii Peninsula.

The lodge is located on top of a mountain in Takahara Settlement and it is only a 3 km walk from the trailhead in Takijiri. However, I soon learned that this short walk from Takijiri to Takahara was no mean feat to even an experienced hiker like me.

Entering the lodge I found a spacious reception and a restaurant area, which featured a nice open-air terrace overlooking a valley. This was surprising; from my experience, there are not many places in Japan where one can sit outside in scenic surroundings.

I was warmly welcomed and guided to my room. All guest rooms in Kiro-no-Sato Lodge are overlooking a valley and each single room has a wonderful view over the mountains on the other side of the valley.

When I entered my room, I was surprised again. I found a small ante-chamber where I could place my shoes and my rucksack. There was also a large wardrobe and a washing basin and I had my own toilet. Behind a sliding door was the main guest room. On one side of the room a large window could be opened to access the terrace where a deckchair was inviting me to sit down and relax.

I unpacked, opened a can of cold beer, packed myself up in a warm blanket and set down on the terrace to watch nature’s spectacle unfold right in front of my eyes. Sometimes heavy clouds would block my view just to open up suddenly and give way to an excellent panorama view over the valley and the distant mountains.

A couple from Japan’s Gifu Prefecture and I, we were the only guests at the lodge. Hence, there was nobody else in the ofuro, the Japanese-style bath. I had it all to myself and could really relax.

There was an indoors bathtub and an outdoors one. The latter was a big wooden tub filled to the brim with hot water. I delved in up to my neck and indulged in the evening mood al fresco – only my nose was a little cold.

The evening meal was simply delicious and it was lovingly arranged, but there was too much to eat to be able to finish it all. With a full belly and being very satisfied, I soon feel into a deep sleep.

On the next morning a brilliant sunshine promised a nice day. Breakfast was splendid again, and I felt well equipped for walking the 14 km that lay ahead of me for the day.

I bid my farewell to Kiri-no-Sato Lodge and felt happy that I had walked only 3 km on the day before, instead of walking the whole way to Chikatsuyu-Oji, another settlement on the Nakahechi trail that also offers accommodation. I would have missed the best lodging I have had during my entire stay in Japan!

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Alena Eckelmann

Alena Eckelmann @alena.eckelmann

Born East of the Wall and South of Berlin, I am celebrating my 15th year anniversary in Japan in May 2020, the country that I call home now. I lived in crazy Tokyo for 6 years and since 2011 I call the beautiful Kii Peninsula (Kumano, Koyasan and Yoshinoyama) my home.I have been a JapanTravel Partner since the conception of the platform in 2011! In Tokyo I worked in market research at AIP Corporation and in business education at JMEC. For the last 10 years I have been a guide for foreign visitors at Venture Japan, on top of being a Freelance Writer and a Business Researcher.  Apart from work, I trained at the Yoshinkan Aikido Dojo and at the Oedo Sukeroku Taiko Dojo for several years each, and I ran the 1st Tokyo Marathon and enjoyed cycling around Tokyo. During the last 10 years I am working with local authorities to improve their hospitality to foreign visitors and I have participated in many monitors as a media representative.  My current 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 a licensed guide for the Kumano Kodo pilgrimage trails  and for Koyasan, the Buddhist monastery, in addition to being a practitioner and licensed guide for Forest Therapy (Shinrin Therapy).  As a guide for walking tours, I have taken visitors to walk the Kumano Kodo trails, the Nakasendo trail and the Shikoku 88 temple pilgrimage trail.  Being grounded during this COVID-19 crisis, I enjoy gardening, baking bread in my new Japanese bread-maker and going for walks around 'my' village.  Take care, keep well, stay safe! 

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