supplemental tourism activities
The purpose of this study was to examine whether walking on a World Heritage pilgrimage route, Kumano Kodo, provided tourists with awe-inspiring experiences. An open-ended questionnaire survey was conducted for participants in the masters sport event (i.e., the Nenrinpic Kinokuni Wakayama 2019). A total of 85 people took part in either the Kumano Kodo daytrip or overnight guided tours after their competitions, and 40 tourists provided useable data. By using a deductive coding approach, 13 tourists’ responses were coded into (a) vastness and/or (b) retrospective/perspective moments. Vastness related to both physical and natural aspects of Kumano Kodo, while retrospective/perspective moments reflected the history and culture of Kumano Kodo. These awe-inspiring experiences appeared to facilitate cognitive accommodation (schema change) among the participants. These results suggested that walking on Kumano Kodo provides tourists with extraordinary experiences that are not attainable from walking in an everyday life. Understanding awe-inspiring experiences will play a pivotal role for outdoor sport tourism development in Japan after the international sporting events (e.g., the Olympic and Paralympic Games Tokyo 2020).