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the Story of the Ascetics road

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Since ancient times in Japan, there is a tradition to worship Gods protecting Moutains, Hills and especially farming fields. It was said that the ones who were trained in the moutains were granted with supernatural powers, like preventing diseases and disasters. They were said to be wizards (Ennogyouja) able to control spirits and travel trough the air and the hills.
Up to now, Japan have seen and accepted a lot of different cultures and religions. Japanese people usually say that they are born in Shrines (Shintoism), they marry at the Church and finally the ancestor memorial services are performed at Bouddhist temples. Japanese culture has been inspired by its long heritage and tradition of accepting everything without exclusion, and it seems to Japanese people that this is the best direction to follow. All the cultural and religious influences added to the ancient "moutains worshipping cult" of Shintoism (Buddhism from India, Taoism from China etc) to create the Shugendo (修験道).

en top icon shugenIn the moutains and valleys of the National Parks of Muro, Akame and Aoyama, there are still a lot of remaining connections with the numerous Shugenja (who were a little like warrior priests) and Iga school Ninjas. The parks are about 263 Km2 across Nara and Mie prefectures, and have been formed by volcanic activity. Their steep cliffs and deep valleys used to be a place naturaled defended, difficult to penetrate. Witnessing the overwhelming forces of Nature present in the Park, it's easily understandable to ancient people started to worship and venerate this Land. Also, as this area was a strategic point between the old Nara capital and Ise, it is stuffed with Culture and Legends that numerousTemples and Shrines has engraved for eternity.

There is no doubt that, walking one step at once on the Tokai Nature trail (東海自然歩道) and the Shugen Trail (修験の道), your body will start fusion with Nature and that it will lead to a inner peace feeling, refreshing your body and your mind. After your walk, remember that there is a lot of famous quality volcanic hot springs and tasty food that await you!