A room with a view - All rooms have that view at Kiri-no-Sato Lodge (Photo: Felicitas Artym)

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 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

Founder of Kii Monogatari, my story and the story of the Kii Peninsula of Japan. Originally from East Germany, I came to Tokyo, via Berlin and London, in 2005. In summer 2011 I moved by choice to remote Kumano in the south of the Kii Peninsula where I live, work and play now, and explore every day.The whole of the Kii Peninsula is a Healing Hub for me with its abundance of forest, mountains, rivers, waterfalls, the ocean, friendly rural communities and sacred places. This is where nature meets spirituality, and tradition meets sustainability, the new paradigm for travel post-pandemic. My deep interest is in Japanese nature & spirituality. I love being in nature, in the forest and in the mountains, and I love spending time at temples and shrines.  I am building my life and my work around these two passions. I am a Licensed Forest Therapy (Shinrin Therapy) Guide and a Licensed Kumano Kodo and Koyasan Guide. I am also a Licensed Retreat Facilitator and I am planning retreats on the Kii Peninsula. Last but not least, I have been the Japan Travel Partner for Wakayama and Yamagata since the conception of the platform in 2011! These two prefectures are close to my heart because they are the centers of Shugendo, a spiritual tradition of mountain ascetism. I am a Shugendo Practitioner for over ten years now and received Tokudo in 2016 at a Shugendo temple on Yoshinoyama. Please kindly connect via my Facebook Page Kii Monogatari. Take care, keep well, stay safe! 

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