• creative
  • photographer
  • storyteller
  • explorer
  • filmmaker
Japan / Spain, 2023


The Kumano Kodo is a pilgrimage route located on the Kii peninsula, on the island of Honshū, the largest in Japan. Like the Jacobean path in Spain, whose origin dates back to the Middle Ages, the Japanese route (which emerged in the Heian period) is made up of various paths and branches leading to the three main Kumano shrines, the most popular being the Nakahechi route. While the Santiago Cathedral is a Catholic church, the Kumano Kodo is considered the cradle of Shintoism, the original cult of Japan that worships the spirits of nature, although it also integrates Buddhism. Therefore, temples and sanctuaries of both religions coexist harmoniously along its route. Its paths cross various areas of southwestern Japan and in its final stretch reaches Wakayama, a prefecture twinned with Galicia.

This Japanese route, despite being framed in a religion different from the Christian faith, was linked to the Camino de Santiago in 1998 due to their common values and purposes. In fact, those pilgrims who complete both twin routes, collecting the relevant stamps in their mixed passport, can receive the certificate and insignia of «Dual Pilgrim». An initiative that denotes the strong commitment of both regions to protect and promote around the world their rich historical, cultural and spiritual heritage.

Pilgrimages create bonds of union, spread ideas and bring people together. That is why, in the age of globalization, information and mass transportation, people continue to walk the ancient Camino de Santiago and Kumano Kodo; perhaps in search of a reconnection with the natural environment, with other individuals and with oneself. Because of their intangible value, both routes have been declared World Heritage Sites by UNESCO. The year 2023 marks the 25th anniversary of a brotherhood that goes beyond any cult or nationality.

Cultural Legacy

The intangible heritage

MICHI is a documentary project that highlights the intangible heritage that unites Wakayama (Japan) and Galicia (Spain). The images show us the many parallels that occur on both sides of the planet through the connection of people with the territory; understanding how through their vocation and trade they structure and give life to the region. The viewer is thus introduced to a unique landscape by the hand of exceptional characters that one could meet along the way if he/she decides to follow these pilgrimage routes.

A documentary work that aims to understand which aspects of life have remained unchanged and which have mutated over hundreds of years, through the lives of those people who profess their love for the land and its traditions. Rites and customs survive, in part, thanks to the understanding of the individual and the community that practices them in each era. This is how tradition preserves its essence, evolving in the right measure that allows it to survive the inexorable changes of this world. A collection of human stories that speak to us of hope and perseverance, of passion and faith; showing that nothing better represents the brotherhood that exists between Spain and Japan than the people who watch over and preserve their paths.

From the historical origins of both routes, many centuries ago, pilgrims carry with them only what is essential for the journey. However, as they travel through the territory, they load their «backpack» with the immaterial wealth that surrounds them: music, art, religion, crafts, culture, gastronomy, nature. Yet, as in life itself, the path that each of us travels is different, so no one can have exactly the same experience. If there are a thousand pilgrims, there will be a thousand different journeys.

MICHI bears witness to pilgrimage as a universal and timeless phenomenon, capable of uniting peoples and connecting us, not only with a territory, but also with ourselves. A path that stretches from the land of the rising sun to the shores of the end of the world, where the sun dies.

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