Last year Sarah Pratelli visited Japan and created this evocative video of her experience walking the Kumano Kodo.
When most people think of Japan, they think of high-rise buildings, neon lights and cities as far as the eye can see - but what most don't realise is that over 70% of the country is mountainous, with swathes of undeveloped countryside ripe for exploration.
One such region is the Kii Peninsula: Home to the Kumano Kodo
The Kumano Kodo is an ancient network of pilgrimage routes that snake their way through forests of towering cryptomeria trees and up time-worn cobblestone stairways, linking the three great shrines of Hongu, Nachi and Hayatama. These paths have been pounded by pilgrims for millennia and, along with the Camino de Santiago in Spain, are one of only two pilgrimage routes in the world to have been honoured with World Heritage status by UNESCO. Despite this, few foreign travellers ever take the time to explore this relatively undiscovered region of Japan - and they're missing out!
The Kumano Kodo is best accessed from Kyoto or Osaka (in the Kinki region of Japan), and is a fantastic place to stay in traditional countryside ryokan inns, eat fresh regional food, relax in onsen hot spring baths and generally soak up some of the ancient spirituality and atmosphere associated with the region.
Travel video shared by InsideJapan