The Kumano Kodo, is a great immersion into Japanese culture and provides an insight into Buddhist history and traditional Japan. The mountains, rural valleys, rivers and waterfalls of the Kumano Kodo Trail offer spectacular views. This Ancient Trail, is a pilgrimage route to Kumano, part of the mountainous Kii Peninsula, The well-maintained trail weaves its way through valleys, mountains and small villages. Along the way enjoy hot spring baths and delicious Japanese food.

TRIP LENGTH: 9 days/8 nights - DEPARTURE DATES: March 30, October 26 & November 22, 2021 
GROUP SIZE: Maximum 12 - MEALS: 8 Breakfasts, 5 Lunches, 7 Dinners
OTHER: Luggage Transfer - most days
TRIP GRADE: Moderate - TRIP TYPE: Experienced local leader/guide
PRICES FROM: Yen 420,000 per person – SINGLE SUPPLEMENT: Yen 110,000 on request 

Konnichiwa. Welcome to Japan.

Japan has been a country inhabited for at least thirty thousand years. During the last ice age, it was connected to mainland Asia by a land bridge allowing stone-age hunters to walk across. When the ice age ended around 10,000 BC Japan became a group of islands, which is how it sits today. 

The Kumano Kodo's verdant mountains, quiet valleys, roaring rivers and plunging waterfalls provide a spectacular landscape to explore while thoroughly imbuing yourself in the region's rich, ancient history and charming rural life. 

The Kumano Kodo Pilgrimage is a fulfilling and enjoyable experience of another little-known part of Japan.

You will stay at comfortable family-run inns with excellent food, soak 
in natural hot springs, and visit the shrines along the way. The pilgrimage routes to some of the great Kumano Shrines were popularized during and after the Heian Period (794-1185), when the Imperial family and nobility began to seek salvation in sangaku shinko (a belief in the supernatural power of mountains), rather than through common religious practices.

Emperor Gotoba (1180-1239) made no less than thirty pilgrimages to Kumano, recording his thoughts and feelings in the Kumano poems. Our journey begins in the modern city of Kyoto, and we travel south by train along the coast, and spend our days hiking the Nakahechi,
 one of the Kumano Kodo trails, and a UNESCO World Heritage site. There is a day mid-way to relax on a thrilling boat ride up the spectacular Doro Gorge. We cross the Kii Peninsula on foot to its eastern coast and the fishing town of Katsuura, with two nights at a hot spring hotel, and finish by travelling on to Kyoto by train.

In 2018 a 'Dual Pilgrim' initiative was established which recognises pilgrims who have completed one of the options for the Kumano Kodo and one of the options for the Camino de Santiago, the Way of St James.  The two main symbols of both routes: the Yatagasaru and the scallop shell appear on the Dual Pilgrim credential.



The local cuisine is an integral part of the excitement and wonder of travel and your journey in Japan with us is no exception. From the freshest of seafood to the tastiest tempura and various other selections, the meals and food will be sure to impress. 



Your main luggage is transferred from accommodation to accommodation, so you only need carry a light day pack. On a few nights during the trip, your luggage will not be available, as we will be remote.  However only bare essentials are required as you will be provided each day throughout your journey with a yukata, a casual summer kimono which can be worn after your evening onsen (Japanese bath).   

To enjoy the walking, we recommend a reasonable level of fitness and that you feel comfortable with walking distances ranging from 9 km - 17km over the course of a day.



Day 1 / Night 1 & Day 2 / Night 2 

Arrival and Welcome Dinner.

On the following day,  enjoy a half day tour by local trains and bus to Fushimi Inari Shrine and Nishiki Food market.
The famous Fushimi Inari Shrine is one of many located throughout Japan that was built to honor Inari, the Shinto god of rice. 
The Nishiki Market is a narrow, five block long shopping street lined by more than one hundred shops and restaurants. Known as "Kyoto's Kitchen", this lively retail market specializes in all things food related, like fresh seafood, produce, knives and cookware, and is a great place to find seasonal foods and Kyoto specialties, such as Japanese sweets, pickles, dried seafood and sushi. Almost everything sold at the market is locally produced and procured.


Day 3 / Night 3

Today we transfer to Kii Tanabe by train, the 2 hour journey follows the coastline.

Kii-Tanabe is the gateway town to the Kumano Kodo Trail and it is a city surrounded by the Pacific Ocean on one side and mountains on the other.

We will take a 40-minute bus ride to Takijiri Oji, to start the walk. Today’s walk is short in distance but a fairly steep uphill climb up to Takahara, a small ridge-top settlement, noted for its ancient shrine and a spectacular view over the surrounding Hatenashi Mountain Ranges. Buddhist statues and Oji shrines, line the route along the ancient highway as you climb upwards.

Hike from Takijiri Oji to Takahara - Total Walking Distance approx. 5km 


Day 4 / Night 4 

Leaving Takahara Village behind, we head further into the mountains along the old trail, continue to pass by reminders of the old highway, including an ichirizuka distance marker and the sites of old former tea houses.  Tea houses were used by pilgrims in need of rest and shelter.   

The trail then descends past the Three-Fold Moon viewing area, from here you can visit the famous Gyuba-doji statue.  Follow the cobbled path and staircase to Chikatsuyu, a small village where you can get supplies and drinks. 

Total walking distance - approx. 10km

Day 5/ Night 5
Today we walk along many forest paths to Kobiratoge, we transfer by bus to Hoshinmonoji.  From here we resume our walk to Hongu.  There are few facilities on the first part of today’s route.  Continuing on through small settlements we are able to see the Kumano Hongu Taisha Shrine (the main shrine in the area) and the giant torii gate in the valley below.
Yunomine is a quaint collection of inns tucked into a small valley deep in the heard of the sacred mountains of Kumano.  The waters here are said to change colour seven times over the course of a day.  Yunomine Onsen was discovered about 1,800 years ago and it is thought to be one of the oldest hot springs in Japan.  
Total walking distance - approx. 17kms

Day 6 / Night 6 

This morning we will take a short bus ride from Yunomine to Ukegawa to begin our walk. This walking section, from Ukegawa to Koguchi is a gentle trek over the Hyakken-gura pass (today's highlight).  

On the Hyakken-gura pass there is a Buddhist statue on a hilltop which has a backdrop of the most spectacular panoramic views of the 3600 peaks of Kumano.  

The trail continues to rise and fall towards the Sakura-jaya teahouse remains, which offers more amazing views across the mountains. We continue on a forest track and eventually descends into Koguchi, a small and isolated village surrounded by mountains and rivers.

Total walking distance - approx. 15km
Day 7/ Night 7

Today we begin with a physically demanding uphill section that rises 800 metres to the Echizen-toge Pass.  We pass the Jizo-jaya teahouse remains where it is said that this part of the trail is inhabited by spirits!  We continue through forest until Funami Toge pass where we have views of the Pacific Ocean.  We descend past Shrines and Temples and the spectacular Nachi-no-Otaki  waterfall, the highest in Japan.  Our final destination is Kii Katsuura, a small fishing village where we relax and enjoy the completion of your extraordinary Kumano Kodo walk!

Total walking distance - approx. 16km
Day 8/ Night 8

Today after breakfast, we transfer back to Osaka, the former Imperial capital of Japan for more than one thousand years.

Day 9 
Your trip finishes after breakfast today.

Today your adventure on the Kumano Kodo Trail comes to an end, however your journey will live on through the memories of this unique destination. 

Wandering the World hope you have had a journey of a lifetime and welcome your choice to wander with us again.  


PHONE: +61 (0) 402 910 552

EMAIL: Glenyce Johnson glenycej@wanderingtheworld.com.au  

Full booking conditions and payment details available on request.

Wandering the World specialises in creating and tailoring exceptional walking, trekking and touring holidays in some of the most beautiful places on earth. This includes both escorted small group and self-guided trips, as well as individually tailored itineraries for privately organised trips.   

We are passionate about sharing the places we love and offer our expertise to ensure our travellers enjoy rich and authentic travelling experiences. 

Wandering the World select authentic and comfortable accommodation and our itineraries are focused on immersing travellers in the local culture and uncovering the hidden gems of a destination. We are committed to ensuring our travellers have a trip of a lifetime. 

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