If you've had a hankering to go hiking with Shinto gods, then I recommend trying Japan's Kumano Kodo: the Kumano Old Road. This UNESCO World Heritage site, located on the Kii Peninsula in Wakayama Prefecture, offers three pilgrimage routes that take you to the Three Grand Shrines of Kumano (Kumano Sanzan). Emperors and nobility traveled the Kumano Kodo from Kyoto during the Heian Period (794-1185), when Kyoto was the capital city.

The Kumano Kodo is very well-sign-posted in both English and Japanese. There are even signs to tell you when you're going the wrong way. Other boards indicate where historical events took place, and some reference the court diary (kanbun nikki) of Fujiwara Munetada, who, as a court noble, documented religious practices of the nobility in his diary, called the "Chuyuki" (1109).

The pilgrimage was eventually adopted by commoners and became so popular that the hordes of faithful were described as "ants" marching over the mountain passes. Well, better ants than cockroaches, I suppose.