Chairman of the Olympians Association of Japan
Takuji Hayata enrolled in the Department of Physical Education in the Nihon University College of Humanities and Sciences after graduating from Wakayama Prefectural Tanabe High School. He joined the Gymnastics Club and contributed to the university’s sports program, becoming a student champion. Later as an instructor he won the men's gymnastics team gold medal and a gold medal for individual rings at the Tokyo Olympics.
He’s a former executive board member of the Japanese Olympic Committee, and he currently serve as chairman of the Olympians Association of Japan.
He’s also a professor emeritus at Nihon University, chairman of the Nihon University College of Humanities and Sciences Koyukai Association, and a member of the Board of Trustees at Nihon University. He’s won the Japan Sports Award, the Asahi Sports Award, the Wakayama Prefecture Sports Honor Award, Medal with Purple Ribbon, and Order of the Rising Sun, Gold Rays with Rosette. He’s also a member of the International Gymnastics Hall of Fame.
I grew up surrounded by the ocean, mountains, and rivers, and I’ve done things my own way while breathing clean, delicious air. When I was a high-school student, I was invited to give a demonstration performance in gymnastics (mat, horizontal bars, etc.) at a sports event at Yunomine Onsen. People gave me an exceedingly generous welcome. That was the first time for me to experience the Kumanochi Route. Perhaps because I had lived so long in Tokyo, when I came back to Tanabe because I missed the ocean, mountains, and rivers, I would sometimes drive along the Nakahechi Route towards the Kumano Kodo.
I always stopped by Takijiri-oji and Nonaka-no-Ipposugi Cedar Trees. I liked listening to the guides talk about cemeteries and the pilgrimage route at the teahouse at the entrance. I would recommend that visitors head off the beaten track to visit Tamaki-jinja Shrine and the suspension bridge at Tanize. Of course, nobody should miss visiting Kumano Sanzan.
If you’re old or feeling fatigued, you won’t want to miss Wataze Onsen, Kawayu Onsen, Yunomine Onsen, and Ryujin Onsen.