Self-Guided Walk Tour of Japan

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Discover the beauty of Japan your own way

Discover Japan your own way - with a self-guided walking trip! Choose from a selection of our trips along the historic trails of Japan (Nakasendo, Kumano Kodo or Shikoku 88 Pilgrimage). Use our maps and detailed instructions, and stay at comfortable Japanese-style inns with excellent local home-cooked food. Leave all the preparations to us - just enjoy a side of Japan that few visitors do!

Self-Guided Walk Tour of Japan

What to expect :

Please see each tour below for details of the level of walking. As with our guided trips, we have selected the best available inns along the walking route. Mostly run by local families, you will be dining on fresh local cuisine home-made each day, and often sleeping on tatami mats in traditional buildings. You will need to be reasonably fit and carry the correct gear. Our self-guided walks are not technically difficult and are mostly on village paths and forested trails - no alpine treks! - but as with any walk in the countryside thorough preparation is very important. Don't hesitate to ask, we will be happy to answer your questions.

What is self-guided walking? :

If you want to visit Japan but cannot book one of our scheduled guided trips because of the dates, or you just prefer to walk without a group, then our self-guided walks may be for you. We offer three carefully-created itineraries, for walking routes that we know intimately. Walking by yourself in rural Japan is not for everyone; you will need a degree of self-reliance and you need to be able to use a map, but it could be one of the most rewarding trips you ever take.

Even though little English is spoken ouside of the big cities, you will have wonderful memories of staying at small country inns with your hosts, and seeing Japan at your own pace. Trails are generally very well-maintained and well-signposted. Our itineraries are designed to combine great walking with sightseeing and to show you more of Japan than you might otherwise get to see. We understand few people will visit Japan solely to walk, but walking is an excellent way to see more of Japan.

We will be happy to discuss customising these trips to your plans, by adding extra walking days or giving you easier options. Our standard trips include days before the walk in cities like Tokyo and Kyoto with a day of private guiding, a Japan Rail Pass or local train tickets to get you to your walking route, and all your accommodation and most meals.

Standard on All Tours

Comfortable family-run inns,

Detailed walking instructions and trail maps (Self-guided Walking Pack below),

Personalised itinerary,

Personal help and advice.

  • Nakasendo Trail

    Nakasendo Trail

    3 - 10 Days

    In feudal times people travelling between Kyoto and Tokyo would use the Nakasendo way – the road through the central mountains – a network of ancient highways. We offer tours with...

    From AUD1,325

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  • Kumano Kodo

    Kumano Kodo

    4 - 11 Days

    The Kii Peninsula points south away from Kyoto and Osaka and is one of the most remote and mystical areas of Japan, despite its proximity to these great cities. Long a place of pilgrimage...

    From AUD1,315

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  • Shikoku 88 Pilgrimage

    Shikoku 88 Pilgrimage

    4 - 10 Days

    Shikoku is Japan's fourth-largest island, home to some of the country's most spectacular and undeveloped scenery. The island is also the setting for an ancient walking trail, the challenging...

    From AUD1,575

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Nakasendo Trail

Nakasendo Trail

Tour Descriptions

  • In feudal times people travelling between Kyoto and Tokyo would use the Nakasendo way – the road through the central mountains – a network of ancient highways.
  • We offer tours with 3, 4 and 5 days of walking village to village along the Nakasendo Trail, the old route linking Kyoto with Tokyo inland through the mountains. Walking is mainly gentle and passes through rural scenery and villages, including the exquisitely-preserved settlements of Magome and Tsumago.
  • We also offer a 10-day version of the trip with city stays in Kyoto and Tokyo and one day of private guiding with your own personal guide for a wonderfully intimate view of the city

Tour Route

Nakasendo Trail

Tour List

Name of Tour Trip level Walking distance Nights Meals Price
Nakasendo walking 3 days Go Active 32.9

km

2

Nights

4

Meals

AUD

1,325
Nakasendo walking 4 days Go Active 35.4

km

3

Nights

6

Meals

AUD

1,540
Nakasendo walking 5 days Go Active 52.1

km

4

Nights

8

Meals

AUD

1,875
Nakasendo walking 10 days Go Active 52.1

km

9

Nights

13

Meals

AUD

3,750

Kumano Kodo

Kumano Kodo

Tour Descriptions

  • The Kii Peninsula points south away from Kyoto and Osaka and is one of the most remote and mystical areas of Japan, despite its proximity to these great cities. Long a place of pilgrimage, the Kii Peninsula is the site of the three Grand Shrines of Kumano (Kumano Sanzan).
  • -Our Kumano Kodo self-guided tours offer 4, 5 or 6 days walking village to village along the old pilgrimage route heading west to east along the Kii-peninsula.
  • -Our Kumano to Koya self-guided tour offers 5 days of walking village to village along another wonderful section of the pilgrimage route leading from Kumano Hongu Taisha Shine to the spiritual Mount Koya, from south to north.
  • -Our Kumano Kodo Complete self-guided tours, taking in both the Nakahechi and Kohechi trails, with lengths of 9 or 11 days.
  • Both trail passes through dramatic scenery, village-to-village walking along rural forest trails, passing to important historic shrines and temples.

Tour Route

Kumano Kodo

Tour List

Name of Tour Trip level Walking distance Nights Meals Price
Kumano Kodo walking 4 days Go Active 21.5

km

3

Nights

6

Meals

AUD

1,315
Kumano Kodo walking 5 days Go Strenuous 53.6

km

4

Nights

8

Meals

AUD

1,590
Kumano Kodo walking 6 days Go Strenuous 66.0

km

5

Nights

10

Meals

AUD

1,725
Kumano Kodo to Koya 5 days Go Strenuous 56.3

km

4

Nights

12

Meals

AUD

1,565
Kumano Kodo walking 9 days Go Strenuous 103

km

8

Nights

20

Meals

AUD

2,440
Kumano Kodo walking 11 days Go Challenging 131

km

10

Nights

24

Meals

AUD

2,940

Shikoku 88 Pilgrimage

Shikoku 88 Pilgrimage

Tour Descriptions

  • Shikoku is Japan's fourth-largest island, home to some of the country's most spectacular and undeveloped scenery. The island is also the setting for an ancient walking trail, the challenging Shikoku 88 Pilgrimage. The trail connects 88 Buddhist temples and the full walk covers more than a thousand kilometres.
  • We have selected the best walks and the best accommodation, including Shukubo pilgrims lodgings and fine inns in appealing cities such as Tokushima and Dogo Onsen.

Tour Route

Shikoku 88 Pilgrimage

Tour List

Name of Tour Start End Nights Meals Price
Shikoku 88 Pilgrimage 4 Days Go Active 31.8

km

3

Nights

6

Meals

AUD

1,575
Shikoku 88 Pilgrimage 5 Days Go Challenging 49.9

km

4

Nights

8

Meals

AUD

1,725
Shikoku 88 Pilgrimage 6 Days Go Strenuous 49.4

km

5

Nights

10

Meals

AUD

1,875
Shikoku 88 Pilgrimage 8 Days Go Challenging 84.1

km

7

Nights

14

Meals

AUD

2,625
Shikoku 88 Pilgrimage 10 Days Go Strenuous 83.6

km

9

Nights

18

Meals

AUD

2,875
  • Hours
    Mon-Fri 10:00 - 18:00
    Sat : 12:00 - 16:00
    Sun, Public Holiday : close
  • Address
    c/o Books Kinokuniya,
    Level 2 The Galeries,
    500 George Street, Sydney,
    New South Wales, Australia, 2000
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