熊野古道 Kumano Kodō Daimon-zaka 大門坂 – Large Gate Slope Entrance

It was easy to feel at one with Her majesty nature on this third morning of our Kumano Kodo pilgrimage 熊野古道. Our journey had commenced where pilgrims typically end – at Kumano Hongu Taisha  熊野本宮大社-and the Oyunahara 大斎原. Now on a cloudy October morning we approached the Daimon-zaka – 大門坂- the large-gate slope where a gate once stood long ago.

The Daimon-zaka is the Large Gate Slope Entrance on the Kumano Kodo pilgrim route in Wakayama Prefecture, Japan.
Leaving profane space and passing through the Torii gate to sacred space. The Ancients originally came here for pure nature worship of trees.

An impressive stone staircase at the bottom of the valley beckoned us to ascend. We crossed symbolically over a vermillion bridge after passing through the Torii gate entrance. It winded up the slope promising a breathtaking journey that will lead us toward our final destination on the 熊野三山 Kumano sanzan – Kumano Nachi Taisha, Seiganto-ji and the Nachi waterfall. Onward!

Sydney Solis at the Daimon-zaka entrance of the Kumano Kodo pilgrimage in Wakayama Prefecture, Japan.
Ready for the hike! Day 3 on the Kumano Kodo.

I thought it symbolic to begin at the end. Because the end really is the beginning. And it’s a metaphor for ourselves. That’s the beauty of Japanese culture – it’s intuitive and thinks in an endless cyclical nature of time rather than the western linear thinking. The word nature, shizen 自然, means one in of itself – we are a part of nature – there is no separation.

Map of the Kii Mountain Range and Kumano Kodo Sanzan Route pilgrimage in Wakayama Prefecture, Japan.
Map of the Kii Mountain Range and Kumano Kodo Sanzen Route in Wakayama, Japan.

We are a part of nature’s rhythms and cycles and humans’ job is to align with nature to achieve harmony wa 和- – not fight against it. It’s about time the Western world realize that which the East and Native Peoples have known all along – Western lifestyles and consumption alienated from nature is killing the planet.

Traditional Heian period pilgrim costumes are available for rent at the Daimon-zaka entrance of the Kumano Kodo in Wakayama, Japan
There are opportunities to dress in traditional Heian period pilgrim costumes for the journey.

Destroying the environment is destroying ourselves. Even the Native American Susquamish Chief Seattle knew this in his famous speech:

All things are connected. Whatever befalls the earth befalls the sons of the earth. Man did not weave the web of life; he is merely a strand in it. Whatever he does to the web, he does to himself.

Map of the The Daimon-zaka is the Large Gate Slope Entrance on the Kumano Kodo pilgrim route toward Nachi Taisha Grand Shrine in Wakayama, Japan.
Close-up map of the Daimon-zaka entrance toward the Nachi

Greedy cheapskates live here in Florida and vote for Mad King Trump just for a tax break regardless if he destroys America and the environment to do it. That’s how bad the West has become as it drags the world with it to the garbage dump physically, morally and ethically.

It would be the best thing, however, for the world to get back to nature and heal the neurotic split between mind and body caused by Cartesian thinking – I think therefore I am. Don’t think – just be! (Once in Buenos Aires at a restaurant I couldn’t make up my mind what to order. The waitress said, “Don’t think! Just eat!”

I am that I am. Tat Tvam Asi.

That’s better!

that is eternity –

no end and no beginning.

the end is the beginning

and the beginning is the end

only self and nature – shizen – 自然

one in of itself

The Daimon-zaka is the Large Gate Slope Entrance on the Kumano Kodo pilgrim route in Wakayama, Japan.
I’m eagerly awaiting the Covid virus to settle so I can return to Japan – where my friends are and heart and soul really belong- with nature.

2 thoughts on “熊野古道 Kumano Kodō Daimon-zaka 大門坂 – Large Gate Slope Entrance

  1. Pingback: 熊野古道 Kumano Kodō: 夫婦杉 Meoto-Sugi Husband and Wife Cedar Trees – Haibun and Photo | Sydney In Osaka

  2. Pingback: 熊野古道 Kumano Kodō: Nachi Taisha Shinto Shrine and 青岸渡寺 Seiganto-ji Buddhist Temple | Sydney In Osaka

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