There are 33 manifestations of the Japanese Deity, Kannon. We hiked the Kohechi Route of the Kumano Kodo from Hongu to Koyasan. The first section is a pretty intense hike from Yagio to Totsukawa Onsen using the Hatenashi-toge pass. A very interesting feature of this section of the hike is a “mini-pilgrimage” featuring 33 statues of Kannon. Kannon Has the proper Japanese name: Kanzeon Bosatsu, and is called a goddess of compassion and mercy.
Looking out for the numbered statues (each marked with a sign) was a great way to break up this challenging hike with breaks at each one plus it helped us understand our progress on the map without the need for GPS.
Kannon Statues 1, 30, 21, 32, and 33 are not along the trail. Statue #1 is suppose to be slightly north of the Yagio bus stop but after spending almost 20 minutes looking for it, we could not locate it. There had been seemingly very little foot traffic and the path had become overgrown which made it very tough to understand where it could be.
Statue 30 is located just outside the end of the trail and 31-33 are beyond the trailhead in the village of Hatenashi.
Because of the heavy rain during our hike and the treacherous trail conditions we were focusing on our footing down slippery rocks and missed a couple of the statues along the way. But we were still able to find and photograph 26 of the 33. As you can see below, each one is unique and distinctive and it’s pretty cool to see them All together!