Hi, I am a life coach and will be your lead for this pilgrimage. I love to walk and be immersed in the natural world. I have completed two pilgrimages in Japan: Shikoku and Kumano Kodo. They each offer a rich spiritual and natural environment conducive to contemplation, reflection and personal growth.
It’s my pleasure and privilege to lead you on this pilgrimage with two amazing local guides, Alena and Yoko, in the magical countryside of Japan.
For my complete bio, please see ABOUT ME above.
Hi and Konnichiwa!
I am Yoko. I live in Kumano near Nachi, a spiritual place where a big waterfall is worshiped. I am a regional licensed guide for the Kumano Kodo pilgrimage trails. Originally I am from Osaka but I moved to Kumano 10 years ago. My family grows organic rice, tea and vegetables. I like yoga, hiking, traveling and snorkeling.
I have had the good fortune to travel widely and experience a range of countries and cultures, including a trip to Paris, learning English in Florida, a working holiday in Australia, volunteer work in Bangladesh, and backpacking in India, Sri Lanka, Nepal, Thailand and Malaysia. I love meeting and talking with people from all over the world.
Walking in Kumano, listening to the sounds of birds singing and leaves whispering, you will have a chance to revitalize yourself and get some inspiration to take back home. I look forward to sharing the beauty of the Kumano pilgrimage trails with you, while also learning about your adventures.
Hello and Guten Tag!
My name is Alena and I am originally from East Germany. After studying and working for nine years in London, I came to Japan in 2005 on an EU-sponsored business training program. I learned Japanese and worked in market research and business education in Tokyo for six years, while exploring this mega city and engaging in a range of activities, such as Aikido and Taiko.
On my holidays I went travelling throughout Japan, hiked in the forests and mountains and visited temples and shrines. In 2008 I came to Kumano and promptly fell in love with the nature and spirituality of this area. So much so that I quit Tokyo in July 2011 and moved with my Japanese husband to Kumano. For five years I worked as a full-time guide and took groups of foreign travelers throughout Japan.
I am a licensed guide for Kumano and Koyasan, a freelance writer and a trainee in the mountain monk tradition called Shugendo. My current passions include ‘forest bathing” and Buddhist chanting. I look forward to welcoming you on Koyasan and introduce you to the mysteries of Esoteric Buddhism.