runAway: Sacred Pilgrimage Deep Into Nature

Aired: Oct. 24, 2019

In one of runAway’s greatest adventures to date, Dean Newcombe and his team hike an ancient pilgrimage trail used by monks for spiritual training. The route travels from Wakayama Prefecture into Nara Prefecture and climbs higher than 2,000m on numerous occasions. Parts of the route require chains for climbing sheer rock faces and will challenge their physical limits. This episode is all about who you meet and what you see when you hike deep into Japan’s mountains, days away from civilization.

runAway team leader Dean Newcombe hiking the Omine-Okugake Michi Trail
Chance meetings on the Omine-Okugake Michi Trail, said to be the toughest part of the Kumano Kodo ancient pilgrimage route
Dean ringing a "Shakujo" or sounding staff, a way of letting the gods know you have arrived are paying your respects
Climbing rocky outcrops using chains
Reaching the final section of the trail, considered the most sacred, and is open only to men due to religious tradition
The Kimpu Shrine

Viewers’ Voice

I loved seeing this beautiful trail with its unspoiled landscapes. My imagination was captured as I thought about the monks who had taken this route so long ago. I felt that one could see the true natural landscape of Japan in this segment.

From Ireland

In this segment, there are many unexpected turns on the journey, like the encounter with another hiker or spotting monkeys. By showing and commenting on risky passages, Dean and Duncan demonstrate the tough conditions of the trip. The viewers can sense how relieved and proud the two are to have climbed to the top of the trail. I was surprised to find out that there are some places in Japan is prohibited for women to enter, on the other hand, I can see the respectfulness to preserve the traditions and rules monks set up for their sacred grounds. This report shows another genuine, unscripted trip through Japan's pristine and beautiful nature.

From Germany

The thousand-year-old pilgrimage route that we got to see a part of was visually stunning! I personally would love to see an entire episode about the pilgrimage or a longer unedited version and what we got to see in this episode. Not only did we get to see beautiful scenery and nature that epitomizes Japan’s tranquility, but as the viewer I got to see it from the perspective of a foreigner which was unique in its own way. Getting to see little things like the Japanese macaque was very entertaining, and having our protagonist run into a healthy older gentleman who’s been doing this route was honestly inspiring.

From Canada

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