This exhibition forms part of a joint promotion program between the cities of Santiago and Tanabe. It is based on a cooperation agreement that began in 2008 to strengthen the favourable bonds between the two Pilgrimage Routes, Kumano and Santiago, which had already twinned in 1998 by means of the Xunta de Galicia and Wakayama Prefecture.
Both cities shaped their identity as the destination of two pilgrimage routes declared World Heritage by UNESCO. And both routes orignated in the 10th century; millions of pilgrims have walked along them during a thousand years. The date is not the only point of agreement; there are many common elements in their traditions, spirituality, syncretism, scenery and even gastronomy, based on the quality of the ingredients provided by the sea and mountains.
At the time when pilgrims began walking along the two routes, Japan was “the land of the rising sun,” and Galicia, “the land at the end of the world,” where the sun set. And despite being so distant geographically, the two ancient roads shared, unknowingly, a common history of faith.
The visit of Japan’s Crown Prince, Naruhito, in June 2013, and his pilgrimage along the Way of St. James, served to strengthen all the more so the bonds between the two pilgrimage routes.
This initiative is part of the Spain-Japan Dual Year commemorating the 400th anniversary of the Keicho Embassy’s visit to Europe.