Walking to care

Pilgrimage as a slow tourism development — Kumano-kodo pilgrimage, Wakayama, Japan

Authored by: Kumi Kato

The Routledge International Handbook of Walking

Print publication date:  August  2017
Online publication date:  July  2017

Print ISBN: 9781138195349
eBook ISBN: 9781315638461
Adobe ISBN:


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This chapter conceptualizes walking tourism as an agent facilitating formation of a community concerned with sustainability, and thus demanding more environmentally aware tourism, through a case study of a World Heritage-listed trail, Kumano-kodo (Kumano ancient trail) in Wakayama prefecture, located on the Kii Peninsula, central-eastern Japan. Walkers, although mostly non-religious, attempt the walk for spiritual purposes, and set particular parameters for tourism service, facilities and experience. Using the concept of slow tourism, this chapter identifies the roles played by a range of stakeholders, including walkers (visitors and residents) and the surrounding community, thereby formulating a specific set of standards for tourism development.

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