• Kumano Kodo Pilgrimage Self-Guided Walk Tour

  • 4 nights 5 Days A

Japan Package - Kumanokodo 4 Nights / 5 Days The Kii Peninsula points south away from the great cities of Kyoto and Osaka, and is one of the most remote and mystical areas of Japan, despite its proximity. Long a place of pilgrimage, it is the site of the three Grand Shrines of Kumano (Kumano Sanzan). From the 11th century successive emperors and their families made the long and difficult pilgrimage to Kumano from Kyoto. Several pilgrimage trails were established, and amongst them the Nakahechi-do, Kohechi-do and Ohechi-do, collectively known as the Kumano kodo (Old road of Kumano). Our walk focuses on part of the Nakahechi-do, which weaves its way through the forested mountains and small villages to the Grand Shrine of Hongu. You then transfer by bus and train to the Nachi Grand Shrine.

The walking is mostly paved village paths and unpaved mountains trails, with considerable ascent and descent on certain days. Though not 'technical', you will be need to be fit and well-prepared with adequate gear and clothing. This walk is highly customisable; there are 5 days of walking ranging from 2 to 7 hours, and we can advise on which days to leave out if you want a shorter or more gentle walk.
We also offer 4-day, 6-day and 9-day versions of this trip.

Price : From AUD1,515 (Per person twin share)
Tour Start : Kyoto or Osaka Tour End : Kyoto or Osaka
Walking days : 4 days Departure Date : Daily (All Year)
Hotels : 4 nights Japanese-style hotel
Meals : 8 meals (4 breakfasts and 4 dinners)
Route : Kyoto or Osaka ⇒ Takijiri ⇒ Takahara ⇒ Chikatsuyu ⇒ Hongu ⇒ Yunomine ⇒ Koguchi ⇒ Nachi-san ⇒ Kii-Katsuura ⇒ Kyoto or Osaka
Include : ✔ 4 nights accommodation ✔ 4 Breakfasts and 4 Dinners ✔ Train tickets (from / to Kyoto or Osaka) ✔ Detailed day-by-day itinerary and walking instructions ✔ Topographical map ✔ Local phone support

Route Map :

Kumanokodo Self-guided Walking Route Map

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] Yunomine Yoshinoya

Yoshinoya1 Yoshinoya2

Japanese-style room /
In the hot spring village of Yunomine, Yoshinoya has its own hot spring baths with a 'rotenburo' outside bath to enjoy after a day's hiking. Yoshinoya Ryokan is a family run inn located in the centre of Yunomine Onsen next to the World Heritage Tsuboyu bath. This two story facility features a lovely private outdoor hot spring bath in a garden-like setting. Views from the guestrooms overlook a small creek and the hot spring village.
Address : 359 Yunomine, Hongu-cho, Tanabe City, Wakayama (map)

Tour Itinerary :

DayEvent / VisitHighlight
1 From Kyoto or Osaka; Kumano Kodo Trail from Takijiri to Takahara

Walking distance : 4.5km
Elevation gain : 370m
Time required : About 2 hours

Send your main luggage ahead from your accommodation before the Kumano Kodo Trail to the ryokan in Yunomine where you will stay half-way along the trail. You can manage with your overnight essentials in your daypack for your nights in Takahara and Chikatsuyu. Alternatively, if you are accustomed to travelling light, you may prefer to send your main luggage from your accommodation before the Kumano Kodo Trail to wherever you are staying after the trail. You would then manage with overnight essentials in your daypack for all five nights on the trail. Use one of the wonderful Japanese luggage-forwarding services which are ultra-efficient and secure.

We supply train tickets for your journey from Kyoto through Osaka to the mystical Kii Peninsula via Osaka. The train hugs the coast as far as the small town of Kii-Tanabe, arriving just after midday. In Kii-Tanabe you board a local bus for the forty-minute journey to Takijiri and the start of your walk on the Nakahechi portion of the Kumano Pilgrimage route. The Nakaheji has been established as one of Japan's National Historic Roads. From Takijiri Oji, the path climbs steadily up to the ridge-top village of Takahara. Stay at a lovely ryokan with both Japanese and western style rooms, all with spectacular views over the valley and mountains beyond. Enjoy a wonderful home-cooked dinner with local ingredients and soak in the bath filled with thermal water from nearby Wataraze Onsen.

Kumanokodo - Kii Mountains Kumanokodo - Takijiri Shrine1 Kumanokodo - Takijiri Shrine2 Kumanokodo - Chichiiwa Kumanokodo - Takahara Shrine
Meals : Breakfast : X / Lunch : X / Dinner : O
Hotel : Takahara
2 Kumano Kodo Trail from Takahara to Chikatsuyu

Walking distance : 10km
Elevation gain : 480m of ascent and 520m of descent
Time required : About 4 - 5hours

After your Japanese breakfast you leave Takahara, climb through the village and continue on an undulating trail past several oji shrines before descending to the village of Chikatsuyu. The paths are clearly defined, and flagstones have been laid in some places to make the climbs easier. You arrive in the small village of Chikatsuyu in time to relax before dinner at a family-run minshuku (guesthouse).
Kumanokodo - Takahara Lake Kumanokodo - Nakahechi Kumanokodo - Daimonoji
Meals : Breakfast : O / Lunch : X / Dinner : O
Hotel : Chikatsuyu
3 Kumano Kodo Trail from Chikatsuyu to Hongu

Walking distance : 24km
Elevation gain : 820m of ascent and 1,140m of descent
Time required : About 8 - 9 hours (and requires a very early start)

We offer two shorter alternatives of 7 hours or 2 hours, using a local bus from Chikatsuyu to shorten the walk.

From Chikatsuyu, the trail continues through the mountains to Hongu. The trail passes through small villages and forest trails over the Kii Mountains to the Kumano shrine at Hongu, one of the three 'Grand Shrines of Kumano'. At the heart of these sacred mountains, Kumano was said to be the entrance to the land of Yomi , the 'other world' which spirits travelled to in Japanese mythology. From the Kumano shrine at Hongu, a short bus ride brings you to Yunomine Onsen, one of the oldest natural hot spring onsen villages in Japan, and your ryokan with its wonderful outdoor bath. Enjoy a relaxing soak before or after your delicious, multi-course dinner.

If you sent luggage ahead to Yunomine Onsen, it will be waiting for you at your inn when you arrive. Your hosts will assist you to send it onwards tomorrow morning to wherever you are staying after the Kumano Kodo.

Kumanokodo - Kumano Hongu Shrine1 Kumanokodo - Kumano Hongu Shrine2 Kumanokodo - Kumano Hongu Shrine3 Kumanokodo - Yunomine Onsen
Meals : Breakfast : O / Lunch : X / Dinner : O
Hotel : Yunomine
4 Kumano Kodo Trail from Koguchi to Nachi-san

Walking distance : 15.1 km
Elevation gain : 980m of ascent and 920m of descent
Time required : About 6 - 7 hours

Today you will have an early breakfast and then travel to the remote village of Koguchi, where you start the walk on the Ogumotorigoe Path to Nachi-san. The final section of the trail takes you over the Ogumotorigoe Pass with a glimpse of the Pacific Ocean. It then descends to Nachi-san, the location of Nachi Taisha (Grand Shrine), one of the three 'Grand Shrines of Kumano' and Nachi-taki (waterfall). Stay overnight either in the small village of Nachi-san close to the shrine, or take a local bus for the twenty-minute ride to the port town of Kii-Katsuura with wonderful views over the bay. Enjoy dinner and breakfast served by your hosts at your accommodation.
Kumanokodo - Waroudaishi Kumanokodo - Ogumotorigoe Kumanokodo - Daimonzaka Kumanokodo - Nachi Shrine1 Kumanokodo - Nachi Shrine2
Meals : Breakfast : O / Lunch : X / Dinner : O
Hotel : Nachi-san
5 Kii-Katsuura and onwards by train to Osaka
Kii-Katsuura is an active fishing port and has a lively early-morning fish market. Enjoy the views out over the island-studded bay. There are intriguing backstreets to explore, too. We provide train tickets for you to board a train at lunchtime, travelling back around the Kii Peninsula and arriving in Osaka or Kyoto mid to late-afternoon.
Kii Katsuura - Fish market
Meals : Breakfast : O / Lunch : X / Dinner : X
Hotel : Osaka

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