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In pictures: Shadowing the pilgrims on Mount Koya

Tree branches Silent world

Image copyright
Hugh Kinsella Cunningham

Settled as early as the 9th Century, Mount Koya is a Unesco world heritage site in the Wakayama prefecture, just south of Osaka in Japan.

The Shingon sect of Japanese Buddhism has its headquarters there and the heavily-forested mountain is criss-crossed with a complex network of tracks and paths still used by pilgrims today.

Photographer Hugh Kinsella Cunningham followed the pilgrimage route, photographing the holy sites, ruins and contemporary graves alongside it.

He shot his series on film, hand-printing the photographs to emphasise the golden tones and mood of the mountain's unique landscape during sunrise and sunset.

A man stands with his back to the camera Silent world

Image copyright
Hugh Kinsella Cunningham

Trees and shrubs Silent world

Image copyright
Hugh Kinsella Cunningham

A rocket shaped shrine Silent world

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Hugh Kinsella Cunningham

Thick groups of trees Silent world

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Hugh Kinsella Cunningham

A box covered by a tarpaulin Silent world

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Hugh Kinsella Cunningham

A view from a hill Silent world

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Hugh Kinsella Cunningham

Rows of shrines Silent world

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Hugh Kinsella Cunningham

Japanese landscape Silent world

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Hugh Kinsella Cunningham

Parts of shrines Silent world

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Hugh Kinsella Cunningham

A traditional Japanese building Silent world

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Hugh Kinsella Cunningham

Forest floor Silent world

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Hugh Kinsella Cunningham

A bridge across a river Silent world

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Hugh Kinsella Cunningham

A shrine in the forest Silent world

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Hugh Kinsella Cunningham

Part of the pilgrimage route Silent world

Image copyright
Hugh Kinsella Cunningham

Silhouettes of trees at dusk Silent world

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Hugh Kinsella Cunningham

White ribbon tied around a tree Silent world

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Hugh Kinsella Cunningham

The final location of the pilgrimage Silent world

Image copyright
Hugh Kinsella Cunningham

All photographs by Hugh Kinsella Cunningham.

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