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Things to Do in Kyoto - page 3

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Kumano Kodo Pilgrimage Trail
1 Tour and Activity

The ancient pilgrimage to the Three Grand Shrines of Kumano spans as far back as 1,000 years ago and still continues today. The pilgrimage routes that crisscross Kii, Japan’s largest peninsula have become known as the Kumano Kodo. Pilgrims and tourists, alike, take on the route to reach Kumano Hongu Taisha, Kumano Nachi Taisha, and Kumano Hayatama Taisha. Throughout history, retired emperors, high-ranking officials, and other determined pilgrims have completed the pilgrimage.

Today, the Kumano Kodo pilgrimage is a designated UNESCO World Heritage Site. The route spans through the Kii mountain range, making for an arduous journey. Though challenging, the paths wind through verdant forests and pass by and over cascading waterfalls and streams. In addition to providing a path between the shrines, the Kumano Kodo links Kyoto to the mountainous Kii region.

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Kiyotaki River

The crystal-clear waters of the Kiyotaki River make its banks one of the most scenic walking trails in the Kyoto area. Alighting from the bus at the Takao stop that heads west out of Kyoto and then on to Ninnaji Temple, it’s just a short walk down to the banks of the Kiyotaki River.

The river’s waters are impossibly clear, and within them lives the giant Japanese salamander. Measuring up to 1.5 meters long, the world's largest amphibian is sometimes referred to as the “living fossil” on account of the spices not altering much in 30 million years. The gentle walking trail along the river continues on to the village of Kiyotaki. From there, you can catch a bus to Arashiyama or else turn back and retrace your steps along the river.

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