Deciphering a Japanese hiking map

You don't need to read Japanese to be able to decipher a hiking map. However, if you decide to go on a hike on your own, ask for help from Japanese friends or staff at information booths. There are many parts of the Kumano Kodo which are somewhat unclear as to where the paths may be going.
Historically, throughout the 1200 years of pilgrimages, the paths have changed from era to era. The prefectural and local governments have made every effort to mark the paths clearly, but one can still stray off the path inadvertently.
Look at the following map and study how to use it. The Legend (8) has been translated into English to give you an idea of map marking.

Click on the map below to enlarge it.

(1)Shows the elevation of land, 0 meters being at sea level and 900 meters

(2952.7 feet) being the highest area of this section of the Kumano Kodo pilgrimage route. It is important to notice how high the mountains or slopes are in order to gauge how difficult an ascent or descent will be.
Shows the approximate time needed to complete this section of the route. However, it is important to consider your own physical ability and whether or not you will have a guided hike. This time is the optimal time for someone reasonably fit. Add more time if you need frequent rests. If you are having a guided hike, double the time. If you are having a guided hike with an interpreter from one language to another, triple the time. Don't forget to factor in time for toilet breaks and time for eating.

The words in the blue box are the name of a place or thing of interest. In this case, it is Jagata-jizo, a small shrine. Note there is an approximately 200 meter drop in elevation to this point on the trail.
The words in the white oval are the location of ojis, the 99 shrines along the pilgrimage route from downtown Osaka to Nachi Taisha (Grand Shrine).
The thick orange lines represent the Kumano Kodo trail.
This shows a "pop-out" portion of the map with local details illustrated.
The "Legend" shows symbol marks for reading the map. The illustrations vary a lot, but the content seldom does.
The illustration shows the number of the location along the Kumano Kodo. It is important for hikers to be aware of their location at all times in case of emergencies. The emergency services of all towns in the vicinity know the location of the markers in order to locate injured people. Some areas of the trails are in remote areas where there is little mobile phone access, especially some deep valleys. In some remote areas without power lines, emergency telephone booths operated by solar power can be found.