Japan Kumano Kodo Walking

An Inspiring Journey through Japan's Cultural and Spiritual Landscapes

 

Embark on this immersive journey that contrasts Japan's cityscapes with its spiritual countryside and ancient pilgrimage traditions on the Kii peninsula. Start in Osaka, the bustling business hub that embodies all one expects from modern-day Japan, and end in Kyoto, Japan's former capital for a thousand years and the repository of its cultural heritage. Over the five days in between, hike along the UNESCO-listed Kumano Kodo, a 1000-years-old web of pilgrimage routes that were frequented by emperors and monks alike. Soak up the spectacular scenery, marvel at sacred shrines, rest in ryokan inns, dine on the freshest local ingredients, and end long days of hiking by relaxing in natural hot springs.

  • Hike the mystical Kumano Kodo pilgrimage trail strewn with stunning sacred shrines

  • Experience charming traditional onsen baths and ryokan inns along the trail

  • Take in the historic landmarks and cultural highlights of Kyoto and Osaka

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Arrive:

Osaka, Japan

Depart:

Kyoto, Japan

Price: from $6,895

Duration:

8 Days

Departures:

See Dates

Group Size:

5-15 Guests

Min Age:

12 yrs

Activity:

Level 3

Moderately paced hikes of up to seven miles a day on mostly dirt trails, plus walking during cultural touring and scenic train rides.
Learn more here.

Download Detailed Itinerary

Click here to download the Detailed Itinerary.

  • Meet in Japan's 'Second Capital' Osaka

    Day 1

    Arrive at Osaka airport and join your transfer to the hotel. At 7pm, meet with your Mountain Travel Sobek guide and other tour participants in the hotel lobby for a short orientation, then head to a nearby restaurant for the welcome reception and dinner.

    Accommodation: Hotel Royal Classic Osaka

    Set inside the historic Osaka Shin-Kabukiza theater building, the Royal Classic Osaka couples a vivid past with Western-style design and contemporary lines. Staying here, you will be in the center of the lively Namba district known for its thriving theater and restaurant scene. The well-appointed rooms come equipped with en-suite facilities, AC, TV and fridge.

    Meals: Dinner

  • Embark on the Kumano Kodo Nakahechi Trail

    Day 2

    Today enjoy the train ride along the coast of the Kii peninsula to Takijiri, the traditional starting point of the ancient Kumano Kodo pilgrimage. Embark on the Nakahechi trail, a route that links three of the most important Shinto and Buddhist shrines, along the way dotted with smaller shrines called oji. Finish this first hike at the mountainside Takahara village, whose nickname kiri-no-sato translates to 'village in the mist.' Wrap up the day unwinding in traditional onsen baths at the ryokan inn.

    Accommodation: Organic Hotel Takahara Kiri-no-sato

    Tucked away in the Hatenashi mountain range, Organic Hotel Takahara Kiri-no-Sato showcases breathtaking vistas of the surrounding scenery. This friendly lodge, made of local wood features eight rooms: three Japanese-style tatami rooms and five with twin beds. Along with its restaurant and café/bar, and Wi-Fi throughout, the inn features onsen (hot spring) baths, ideal for soaking in after a long hike.

    Activity: 3 miles/2-3 hours hiking with 820' elevation gain

    Transportation: 2.5-hour train ride and 40-minute bus journey

    Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

  • Explore the Mountains Between Takahara & Chikatsuyu

    Day 3

    Continue eastward along the Nakahechi pilgrimage trail, and dive deeply into the sacred ambiance of hinoki (Japanese cypress), oak and cherry forests. Along the way, spot small bodhisattva statues that honor Jizo, the patron saint of travelers; old cha-ya (tea houses) that provided rest to pilgrims right up until the early 20th century; and find Gyuba-douji, a small stone statue depicting a man riding astride a cow and horse. Descend to the quiet village of Chikatsuyu for a transfer to the inn for dinner.

    Accommodation: Organic Hotel Takahara Kiri-no-sato

    Tucked away in the Hatenashi mountain range, Organic Hotel Takahara Kiri-no-Sato showcases breathtaking vistas of the surrounding scenery. This friendly lodge, made of local wood features eight rooms: three Japanese-style tatami rooms and five with twin beds. Along with its restaurant and café/bar, and Wi-Fi throughout, the inn features onsen (hot spring) baths, ideal for soaking in after a long hike.

    Activity: 7 miles / 4 hours hiking with 1,150' elevation gain and 1,180' elevation loss

    Transportation: 30- to 60-minute private transfer

    Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

  • Marvel at Hongu Taisha & Explore the Ancient Shugendo Religion

    Day 4

    Starting from Hosshinmon-oji, hike through scenic ridgetop villages to reach Hongu Taisha, the main of the Three Grand Shrines, dedicated to Shinto's main deity, sun goddess Amaterasu. En route, meet a local Shugendo priest to learn about this syncretic faith that draws on multiple spiritual traditions. Next, visit Oyunohara, where the shrine was originally located before being washed away by a flood. Today, its spot is marked by the largest Torii gates in the world. Transfer to Kawayu Onsen for an overnight stay.

    Accommodation: Fujiya Ryokan

    This traditional Japanese-style inn offers airy interiors and a classic Japanese experience. Its eight minimalist rooms feature exposed-wood detailing and tatami (straw) floors. The inn is located in Kawayu Onsen, which features hot spring bathing opportunities aplenty, from private baths at the inn to bathing in thermal waters which bubble up through the river bed opposite the ryokan.

    Activity: 6 miles/3 hours hiking with 780' elevation gain and loss

    Transportation: 1-hour bus transfer

    Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

  • Take in Yunomine Onsen & Cruise the Kumano River

    Day 5

    Soak up the cool shade of the forested Danichi-goe trail that connects Hongu Taisha with Yunomine Onsen, where pilgrims used to perform purification rituals. Take a scenic boat ride on the Kumano River that connects Hongu Taisha to Hayatama Taisha, the second Grand Shrine. Explore its precincts on foot, then take a coastal train journey to the small port and fishing town of Kii Katsuura. Consider bathing in the Bokido Onsen cave bath at the nearby Hotel Urashima, or exploring the Kii Katsuura port.

    Accommodation: Manseiro

    On the edge of Katsuura Bay, Manseiro Ryokan is housed in a modern building with a friendly ambiance and comfortable outfitting. The ryokan features Japanese-style accommodations, with en-suite facilities and AC. The highlight here are Kaiseki meals, a feast of 10 to 15 traditional Japanese dishes made of seasonal ingredients. You may try the property's own onsen baths, or visit the cave baths of the inn's sister property nearby

    Activity: 1.7 miles/1.5 hours hiking with 855' elevation gain and 670' elevation loss

    Transportation: 25-minute train ride

    Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

  • Discover Nachi Taisha & Travel to Kyoto

    Day 6

    The third Great Shrine awaits today at the top of Daimon-zaka, a cobblestone staircase that runs through cedar forests and bamboo groves up to the majestic sacred landmarks. Admire the Buddhist Seiganto-ji pagoda, poised in front of the mighty Nachi waterfall, then marvel at the Nachi Taisha shrine, a visit that completes the pilgrimage to the Grand Shrines of Kumano. On your afternoon train journey to Kyoto, enjoy a traditional Japanese take-out bento box for lunch.

    Accommodation: Enso Ango Tomi II

    Organically designed and hidden from the hustle and bustle of mainstream Kyoto, the General Kyoto combines architecture, food, communication, and art to create a wonderful accommodation. Emboldening the "creative wealth" of the region, the hotel hosts a phenomenal space installation, the first of its artistic kind in Japan. The rooms are very comfortable, and have evidently been designed with a keen eye for detail in both mind and spirit.

    Activity: 1 mile/1 hour hiking with 656' elevation gain

    Transportation: 4.5-hour train ride

    Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

  • Roam the Temples of Kyoto & Attend a Tea Ceremony

    Day 7

    Take a train to Fushimi Inari shrine, dedicated to the Inari spirit, protector of rice cultivation famous for thousands of Torii gates that snake up the mountainside. Next, explore the sights of Kyoto's cultural district of Higashiyama and walk up to the 8th-century Kiyomizu temple to admire city panoramas from its expansive veranda. End on a high note with a ritual tea ceremony, steeped in the ichi-go ichi-e philosophy that deems each encounter unique and inimitable. Take in the mesmerizing streetscapes of Kyoto on the walk back to the hotel, where you'll enjoy farewell dinner.

    Accommodation: Enso Ango Tomi II

    Organically designed and hidden from the hustle and bustle of mainstream Kyoto, the General Kyoto combines architecture, food, communication, and art to create a wonderful accommodation. Emboldening the "creative wealth" of the region, the hotel hosts a phenomenal space installation, the first of its artistic kind in Japan. The rooms are very comfortable, and have evidently been designed with a keen eye for detail in both mind and spirit.

    Transportation: 15-minute train ride

    Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

  • Bid Farewell to Japan

    Day 8

    On the last day of your tour, transfer to Kansai International Airport or Osaka International Airport (Itami).

    Meals: Breakfast

Japan Kumano Kodo Walking

Download Detailed Itinerary

Click here to download the Detailed Itinerary.

What to Expect

 

Why take this trip with us?

Reason #01

MT Sobek is a legendary operator in Japan and has offered walking trips in Japan for over 20 years.

Reason #02

Our itinerary has been designed so that each walking day ends up at a unique onsen or ryokan.

Reason #03

Gain an understanding of the grand Shinto shrines and local pilgrims who frequent this fascinating route.

Meet your guides

Tomomi Shimazu

Tomomi Shimazu

Tomomi was born and raised in Tokyo. After completing her degree in international relations, she studied in the UK and the US. Later she lived in Hawaii and Israel for years and traveled extensively in Europe, the US and Middle East. She now lives in Tokyo, close to its center and loves gardening, walking, cycling and yoga. Tomomi enjoys guiding and sharing her knowledge of both traditional and urban cultures of Japan. Meet Tomomi on MT Sobek's adventures in Japan.

Toshi Kida

Toshi Kida

Toshiyuki Kida was born in Nagano Prefecture, Japan, and grew up in Sekiyama in Niigata Prefecture. His interest in travel became apparent from the very moment he played with a globe as a child and it turned into a life-long passion. After graduating from university in 1978, he moved to Canada and now divides his time between Canada and Japan. Toshiyuki Kida has guided the Nakasendo and Kumano Kodo trails since 2013. He has traveled to over 200 cities in 25 countries in America, Europe, and Asia.

Michiharu Namba

Michiharu Namba

Michiharu lives in Nishinomiya city in Japan's Hyogo prefecture. He majored in English literature in university and later joined the travel industry, where he has worked as a tour leader for the last 10 years. Michiharu has traveled throughout Japan (as well as across Asia, Africa and Europe), and is interested in history, culture, art, and literature. He is also an avid hiker and enjoys leading MT Sobek's Japan adventures. He looks forward to sharing the wonders of Japan with you!

Activities

Four days of moderate hiking, cultural touring on foot, with easy walks to explore historical wonders.

Lodging

Stay in traditional ryokans (inns) and unwind in onsen (hot springs) while on the Kumano Kodo, and comfortable hotels with modern amenities in Kyoto and Osaka.

Climate

Spring and fall temperatures range from the mid 60°Fs to the high 70°Fs/low 80°Fs. The rainy season in Japan is from mid-June through July. Fall months can be slightly wetter than the spring months.

FAQ

Can you manage food alleries like fish or shellfish?

Fish is a more challenging allergy to manage due to the ubiquitous nature of dashi (fish broth), but we can usually still manage it.

Can I travel to Japan if I'm gluten-free?

Yes, you can, but please let us know as soon as possible so we can manage your request.

What is staying in a ryokan like?

The ryokans vary significantly, but usually have tatami mats for flooring and futon beds that are laid out each night. Baths may be communal and divided by gender.

Who will meet me on arrival for this trip?

You will take a group transfer to the hotel. We will arrange a private transfer for all guests arriving on the same flight.

What days will I be without my luggage during this trip?

You will be without your luggage, carrying only your essentials in your daypack, on days 2 and 5. Your luggage will be transported by courier to your accommodation on the following day.

  • 2023
  • Go Private
  • Go Custom

2023

The earlier you book, the more choice of available dates you’ll have and once you book, your price is guaranteed.

Scheduled Dates

  • Mar 15 - 22, 2023
    $6,895 price per person dbl occ
    +$900 single supplement
    Available
  • Apr 19 - 26, 2023
    $6,895 price per person dbl occ
    +$900 single supplement
    Available
  • May 17 - 24, 2023
    $6,895 price per person dbl occ
    +$900 single supplement
    Available
  • Sep 20 - 27, 2023
    $6,895 price per person dbl occ
    +$900 single supplement
    Available
  • Oct 25 - Nov 01, 2023
    $6,895 price per person dbl occ
    +$900 single supplement
    Available
  • Nov 29 - Dec 06, 2023
    $6,895 price per person dbl occ
    +$900 single supplement
    Available

Price Includes

  • Expertise and services of our experienced adventure guides
  • All accommodations as noted in the itinerary
  • All breakfasts, almost all lunches and dinners as noted in the itinerary
  • Snacks and water between meals
  • Additional regional guides and experts on many trips
  • Comprehensive Trip Planner with detailed pre-trip information
  • Private guided tours at historic sites, museums, wineries and other select attractions as noted in the itinerary
  • Special events and other select attractions as mentioned in the itinerary
  • All gratuities at hotels and restaurants
  • Equipment and experienced guides for activities as described in the itinerary
  • Park and other entry fees (unless otherwise noted)
  • Fares for trains, ferries and other modes of travel as listed in the itinerary
  • Select transfers as mentioned in the itinerary
  • Baggage transfers and porterage

Price Does Not Include

  • International airfare, airport taxes, and excess baggage fees
  • Alcoholic beverages (MT Sobek provides wine at select events)
  • Gratuities for MT Sobek guides and guide-drivers
  • Travel Protection Program
  • Personal expenses

Contact An Expert

800-974-0300

Need help picking your next adventure? Call us to answer your questions.

Go Private

Go Private

Gather your favorite travel companions to share an MT Sobek adventure on an easy-to-book Private departure.

Choose from the selection of dates below for your group or if your preferred date is not available, we'll create a departure just for you.

Call or email us to get the ball rolling.

*Private trips require a 25% non-refundable deposit.

Private Trip Pricing:

2023 Pricing

2 guests from $9,995 per person double occupancy

3 guests from $7,995 per person double occupancy

4 to 5 guests from $6,995 per person double occupancy

6 to 10 guests from $6,895 per person double occupancy

Additional Costs:

Private pricing excludes potential additional costs such as internal airfare, single supplement, or any park fees that may be required for the trip.

*Private trips require a 25% non-refundable deposit.

Make Your Own Dates in These Months

Price Includes

  • Expertise and services of our experienced adventure guides
  • All accommodations as noted in the itinerary
  • All breakfasts, almost all lunches and dinners as noted in the itinerary
  • Snacks and water between meals
  • Additional regional guides and experts on many trips
  • Comprehensive Trip Planner with detailed pre-trip information
  • Private guided tours at historic sites, museums, wineries and other select attractions as noted in the itinerary
  • Special events and other select attractions as mentioned in the itinerary
  • All gratuities at hotels and restaurants
  • Equipment and experienced guides for activities as described in the itinerary
  • Park and other entry fees (unless otherwise noted)
  • Fares for trains, ferries and other modes of travel as listed in the itinerary
  • Select transfers as mentioned in the itinerary
  • Baggage transfers and porterage

Price Does Not Include

  • International airfare, airport taxes, and excess baggage fees
  • Alcoholic beverages (MT Sobek provides wine at select events)
  • Gratuities for MT Sobek guides and guide-drivers
  • Travel Protection Program
  • Personal expenses

Contact An Expert

800-974-0300

Need help picking your next adventure? Call us to answer your questions.

Go Custom

Create Your Very Own Adventure

Dreaming of an adventure designed exclusively for you? With insider access and decades of experience, our travel experts create custom tailored adventures that are perfect for families, couples, and large groups. MT Sobek's custom adventures are designed to our exacting standards and led by our award-winning adventure guides.

When to start planning? Earlier is always better when designing a custom trip. More time allows for better availability of preferred accommodations, guides and your desired activities. Ideally, start the conversation with us at least 6 months before you want to travel. If you are looking for a custom trip that departs within three months, chances are greatly diminished in securing requested accommodations and the best guides.

*Custom trips require a 25% non-refundable deposit once an itinerary is agreed upon.