- Trace the steps of emperors on the Kumano Kodo Pilgrimage Trail
- Bathe in the thermal waters of a hot spring
- Visit the Grand Shrines at Hongu and Nachi
- Glimpse the Pacific Ocean from Ogumotorigoe Pass
- Enjoy Kii-Katsuura's lively fishing port
|Day 1||Arrive in Kyoto or Osaka, Train to Kii-Tanabe, Hike from Takijiri to Takahara||Takahara|
|Day 2||Hike from Takahara to Chikatsuyu||Chikatsuyu|
|Day 3||Hike from Chikatsuyu to Hongu||Hongu|
|Day 4||Hike from Ukegawa to Koguchi||Koguchi|
|Day 5||Hike from Koguchi to Nachisan||Nachisan|
|Day 6||Explore Kii-Katsuura, Train to Osaka or Kyoto & Depart|
Day 1: Arrive in Kyoto or Osaka, Train to Kii-Tanabe, Hike from Takijiri to Takahara
Welcome to Japan! Upon arrival in Kyoto or Osaka, board a scenic oceanside train bound for the small town of Kii-Tanabe on the mystical Kii Peninsula, the gateway to the historic Kumano Kodo Trail. From Kii-Tanabe, you'll take a bus to Takijiri, where you'll start your walk on the Nakachechi portion of the Kumano Kodo.
Make your way two hours up the steadily-rising path to the ridgetop town of Takahara, where a small, Japanese-style hotel with sweeping valley and mountain views awaits. Alternatively, you could stay in a traditional minshuku (family-run bed and breakfast) in the nearby village of Kurisugawa. Both options serve good, home-cooked dinners featuring local and seasonal ingredients.
Walking distance: 2.8 miles (4.5 km)
Day 2: Hike from Takahara to Chikatsuyu
After a traditional Japanese breakfast, get back on the trail this morning and follow as it winds through small settlements and peaceful countryside, passing several Oji shrines before finally 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'll arrive in Chikatsuyu in time to relax before dinner at a family-run minshuku guesthouse.
Walking distance: 6.5 miles (10 km)
Chat with a local specialist who can help organize your trip.
Day 3: Hike from Chikatsuyu to Hongu
Leaving Chikatsuyu this morning, get back on the trail and wind your way along forest paths, past villages, and through the mountains to Hongu. Here, you'll find the Kumano shrine—one of the three Kumano Sanzan or "Grand Shrines of Kumano." Kumano is nestled in the heart of these sacred mountains and is said to be the entrance to the land of Yomi, the other world spirits traveled to in Japanese mythology.
From Hongu, board a bus for Yunomine Onsen, one of the oldest natural hot spring villages in Japan, or to Kawayu Onsen, famous for the thermal water bubbling to the surface of its crystal clear river. Soothe your tired muscles with a relaxing soak in a Japanese bath before or after your delicious multicourse dinner.
Walking distance: 14.9 miles (24 km)
Day 4: Hike from Ukegawa to Koguchi
Before you head out on today's hike, take some time to explore the atmospheric village where you spent the night. Then board a bus bound for Ukegawa on the banks of the Kumano River, where you'll start the day's hike on the Kogumotorigoe Path. Make your way up the trail to Kogumotorigoe Pass before descending to the remote village of Koguchi, where a warm welcome awaits at a tiny inn run by a charming retired couple or a lodge repurposed from an old school building. Don't forget to explore the riverbanks and go for a swim if the weather is warm.
Walking distance: 7.7 miles (12.4 km)
Day 5: Hike from Koguchi to Nachisan
On your last day of hiking, make your way from Koguchi up to the Ogumotorigoe Pass for a glimpse of the Pacific Ocean before descending to Nachisan, where you'll find Nachi Taisha, another one of the three Kumano Sanzan shrines. The Nachi-Taki waterfall is also worth visiting when you arrive. Stay overnight close to the shrine in Nachi-San or take a local bus 20 minutes down the road to the port town of Kii-Katsuura, where you'll find wonderful views over the island-studded bay.
Walking distance: 9.3 miles (15.1 km)
Day 6: Explore Kii-Katsuura, Train to Osaka or Kyoto & Depart
Rise early on your last day and spend some time exploring Kii-Katsuura, an active fishing port with a lively early-morning fish market. Take in the beautiful bayside views, wander the intriguing backstreets, and shop in the traditional covered shopping arcade. Come lunchtime, board a train back across the Kii Peninsula to Osaka or Kyoto to catch your flight home. Safe travels!
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