• Kumano Kodo Pilgrimage Self-Guided Walk Tour

  • 4 nights 5 days B

Japan Package - Kumanokodo 8 Nights / 9 Days The "Sacred Sites and Pilgrimage Routes in the Kii Mountain Range" including Kumano Kodo were registered collectively as a UNESCO World Heritage Site. It is the first site in Japan to be registered as a "cultural landscape," a landscape created by prolonged interaction between nature and humans. Kumano Kodo is a collection of pilgrimage routes that lead to Kumano Sanzan from various places in Japan. There is no such property elsewhere in Japan and no similar property to be found elsewhere around the world; this area thus exhibits high value of a unique character.

Price : From AUD920 (Per person twin share)
Tour Start : Kii-Tanabe Tour End : Kii-Katsuura
Walking days : 5 days Departure Date : Daily (All Year)
Hotels : 1 nights Western & 3 nights Japanese-style hotel
Meals : 9 meals (4 breakfasts, 2 lunches and 3 dinners)
Route : Kyoto ⇒ Tanabe ⇒ Takijiri ⇒ Takahara ⇒ Chikatsuyu ⇒ Hongu ⇒ Kawayu ⇒ Shingu ⇒ Nachi-san ⇒ Kii-Katsuura
Include : ✔ 4 nights accommodation ✔ 4 Breakfast, 2 Lunch and 3 Dinner ✔ Detailed itinerary and walking map ✔ Daily Luggage Transfers (1 Bag per person)

Accommodation :

CityHotel NameRoom Type / Overview
[Day 1] Takahara Organic Hotel Kiri-no-sato Takahara

Kiri-no-sato Takahara1 Kiri-no-sato Takahara2

Western-style room /
Run by local Jian Shino who speaks English, Spanish and Chinese (as well as his native Japanese), this welcoming ryokan / hotel has both western and Japanese style rooms, and wonderful organically-grown local food. If you are lucky, Shino-san may even serenade you with some flamenco guitar!
Address : 826 Takahara, Nakahechi-cho, Tanabe City, Wakayama (map)
[Day 2] Chikatsuyu Minshuku Chikatsuyu

Chikatsuyu1 Chikatsuyu2

Japanese-style room /
Minshuku Chikatsuyu is a small guesthouse located in the Chikatsuyu village along the Tonda River. The Hisui-no-yu onsen is a hot spring bath next to the inn. The water is famous for its smooth texture. One of their specialty dishes is ayu (sweet fish) rice. The view from the dining room opens onto the river and mountains beyond. This is a popular Minshuku because of its quiet and peaceful location.
Address : 401-12 Chikatsuyu, Nakahechi-cho, Tanabe City, Wakayama (map)
[Day 3] Kawayu Onsen Kawayu Midoriya

Kawayu Midoriya1 Kawayu Midoriya2

Japanese-style room /
Kawayu Midoriya is one of the larger hotels in Kawayu Onsen and is located at the west end of the village. There is a mixture of Japanese and Western style rooms. Most Japanese style rooms look directly over the clear waters of the Oto River, which flows through the village. Behind the hotel there are two mixed gender rock baths nestled in the river bank. An evening soak, enjoying the natural surroundings, is a popular highlight for guests.
Address : 13 Kawayu, Hongu-cho, Tanabe City, Wakayama (map)
[Day 4] Kii-Katsuura Hotel Charmant

Hotel Charmant1 Hotel Charmant2

Western-style room /
Hotel Charmant is a small hotel very close to the JR Kii-Katsuura Station. It has well maintained rooms and is a convenient base for visiting the area and for those beginning / ending a multi-day walk on the Kumano Kodo pilgrimage route to/from Hongu. There are no evening meals so guests can explore the small restaurants which are famous for their fresh seafood close by. The friendly owners do not speak any English, but are very hospitable to international visitors.
Address : 4-3-16 Tsukiji, Nachi-Katsuura-cho, Higashimuro-gun, Wakayama (map)

Tour Itinerary :

DayEvent / Visit
1 Kii-Tanabe (Orientation) - Kumano Kodo Trail 1 : Takijiri - Takahara

Orientation by Tanabe City Kumano Tourism Bureau
You'll meet a local guide at JR Kii-Tanabe station. they organise a brief tour orientation before you board the bus to Takijiri. At this time the guide answer last minute questions and supply up-to-date maps and timetables.

After orientation, make your own way to Takijiri by public bus. Then, after arrival in Takijiri, send your main luggage from Kumano Kodo Kan Pilgrimage Centre to Kiri-no-sato Takahara with luggage shuttle.

The Kumano Kodo trailhead starts from behind Takijiri-oji, which is considered to be where passage into the precincts of the sacred mountains begins. It is a steep climb to Takahara Village through native and planted forest. Around 15 minutes into the climb, there is a set of large boulders. Some of these form a cave called Tainai-kuguri, where you can test your faith by climbing through the crack at the far end. Another boulder, the Chichi-iwa rock, is associated with a local legend. The Takahara Kumano-jinja shrine is one of the oldest buildings along this section of the pilgrimage route and features giant camphor trees. The village of Takahara offers panoramic views of the Hatenashi mountain range.

Kumanokodo - Takijiri-oji Kumanokodo - Kumano Kodo Walkers Kumanokodo - Takahara Village

Walking distance : 3.7km
Time required : About 2 hours
Difficult rating : 2.5

Meals : Breakfast : X / Lunch : X / Dinner : O
Hotel : Takahara
2 Kumano Kodo Trail 2 : Takahara - Gyubadoji - Chikatsuyu

Luggage shuttle from Kiri-no-sato Takahara to Minshuku Chikatsuyu

The trail from Takahara continues to climb into the mountains from the east end of the tiny settlement.

About 1.5 hours into the walk one reaches the Jujo-oji clearing, a popular spot for picnic lunches. The highest part of this trail is the remains of the Uwada-jaya Teahouse (~690 meters above sea level). The trail then descends quickly past the Three-Fold Moon Viewing area to the creek by Osakamoto-oji. The pilgrimage route runs close to Highway, which you can cross to reach the Kumano Kodo Nakahechi Michi-no-Eki rest stop. The Gyubadoji is located here.

Kumanokodo - Takahara Kumano-jinja Shrine Kumanokodo - Kumano Kodo Trail Kumanokodo - Rice Harvest in Takahara

Walking distance : 8km
Time required : About 3 hours
Difficult rating : 3

From Gyubadoji to Chikatsuyu, the trail begins across Highway from Kumano Kodo Nakahechi Michi-no-Eki rest stop. It is a short climb to the Hashiori-toge Pass where the small Gyuba-doji statue is located. This statue shows Kazan, one of the first abdicated emperors to pilgrimage to Kumano, sitting on a horse and cow. The trail descends a cobblestone staircase to a viewpoint of the Chikatsuyu Village below. You arrive in the small village of Chikatsuyu in time to relax before dinner at a family-run minshuku (guesthouse).

Kumanokodo - Gyuba-doji Michi-no-Eki rest stop Kumanokodo - Gyuba-doji Statue Kumanokodo - Chikatsuyu Village

Walking distance : 1.3km
Time required : About 0.5 hours
Difficult rating : 1

Meals : Breakfast : O / Lunch : O / Dinner : O
Hotel : Chikatsuyu
3 Kumano Kodo Trail 3 : Hosshinmon-Oji to Hongu

Luggage shuttle from Minshuku Chikatsuyu to Kawayu Midoriya

In the morning, transfer from Chikatsuyu to Kumano Hongu Taisha and look-around the entire of shrine. (90 min) Then, transfer to Hosshinmon-Oji from Hongu Taisha by public bus on your own. The trail walk begins from Hosshinmon-Oji to Kumano Hongu Taisha.

This section is an excellent half-day walk on the Kumano Kodo. There are many forest trails and isolated mountaintop villages. Panoramic viewpoints can be found along the way. Hosshinmon-oji is known as the "gate of awakening of the aspiration to enlightenment" and marks the outermost entrance to Kumano Hongu Taisha's sacred precincts. The route follows a road through Hosshinmon Village from here to Mizunomi-oji. Keep a look out for the folk-art word carvings along the way. The trail enters the forest at Mizunomi-oji, the site of an old school house, and exits at the west end of the Fushiogami settlement, with its numerous tea plantations and terraced fields.

Kumanokodo - Hosshinmon-oji Kumanokodo - Craft Shop Kumanokodo - Fushiogami-oji

Fushiogami-oji is where pilgrims fell to their knees and prayed after catching their first glimpse of the Grand Shrine in the distant valley below. There is a covered rest area here where locals serve handmade snacks and coffee made with hot spring water (days in operation may change). From here the trail descends through the forest past Sangen-jaya to the austere Kumano Hongu Taisha. Halfway between Sangen-jaya and Kumano Hongu Taisha is a short side trail to a lookout point that is not to be missed!

After arrivel, transfer to Kawayu Onsen by public bus.

Kumanokodo - Sangen-jaya Kumanokodo - Kumano-gawa River Kumanokodo - Kumano Hongu Taisha

Walking distance : 7km
Time required : About 2 hours
Difficult rating : 2

Meals : Breakfast : O / Lunch : O / Dinner : O
Hotel : Kawayu Onsen
4 Hayatama Grand Shrine, Kumano Kodo Trail 4 : Daimon-Zaka to Nachi

Luggage shuttle from Kawayu Midoriya to Hotel Charmant

From Kawayu Onsen, travel by bus to Shingu and visit the Kumano Hayatama Taisha, one of the three Grand Shrines of Kumano, fifteen minutes on foot from Shingu station. The tourist office is located directly in front of Shingu station, where the bus arrives; they can supply maps and advice.

Transfer to Daimon-Zaka from Shingu via Nachi by public bus. Daimon-zaka is an impressive cobblestone staircase slope which runs from the base of the valley to Kumano Nachi Taisha, Seiganto-ji and Nachi waterfall. It is lined with centuries old Japanese cedars (cryptomeria), camphor tress and bamboo groves. Daimon-zaka means "large gate slope" referring to a gate that once stood nearby. This is an excellent short walk on the Kumano Kodo pilgrimage route.

The actual staircase is about 600 meters long with 267 stairs. At the end of the slope is the impressive Meitosugi - "husband and wife cedar trees", whose roots are entwined beneath the path. Close by is the Daimon-zaka Chaya where you can rent Heian period kimonos, great for some memorial photos. Near the top of the slope you can catch your first glimpse of the awe-inspiring Nachi falls. Visit Kumano Nachi Taisha, Seiganto-Ji, Nachi Waterfall.

Turn to the right at the top of the slope and you will re-join the road. Descend ~50 meters and to the left is another staircase thorough some shops to the shrine grounds. If you walk down the road you will come to the entrance of the falls. It is probably best to climb the stairs to the shrine grounds first, and then walk down beside the pagoda to the falls.

After arrivel, transfer to Kii-Katsuura by public bus.

Kumanokodo - heian-kimono-daimon Kumanokodo - Daimon-zaka Slope Kumanokodo - Nachi Falls

Walking distance : 1km
Time required : About 0.5 hours
Difficult rating : 1.5

Meals : Breakfast : O / Lunch : X / Dinner : X
Hotel : Kii-Katsuura
5 Tour end
The tour ends after checking out the hotel. You can return to Kyoto or Osaka by JR train. Depart from Kii-Katuura Station around lunch time and travelling back around the Kii Peninsula and arriving in Kyoto or Osaka mid-afternoon.
Meals : Breakfast : O / Lunch : X / Dinner : X
Hotel : N/A

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