The Kumano Kodo, or Kumano Ancient Trail, is a pilgrimage route to Kumano, part of the mountainous Kii Peninsula which stretches south from the Kansai cities of Osaka, Nara and Kyoto. The well-maintained trail threads its way through deep valleys, mountains and small villages to offer a wonderfully-varied hike over four days. Stay at comfortable family-run inns with excellent food, soak in natural hot springs, and visit the shrines along the way.
Trip designed by Travel Expert Orsolya KakoView Orsolya’s Profile
Upon arrival at the Osaka International airport, you will be met by our private car service and driven to your hotel in Kyoto. Meet your guide this evening and enjoy a welcome meal as you hear about the adventure that is in store for you.
On our first day in Kyoto we will start with a guided tour of the Nijo Castle, the seat of power in Kyoto during the time of Shoguns. After lunch, continue to the Kiyomizu temple, founded in 798, and onwards to Gion to learn about the famous district and the strict training undertaken by young women who hope to become geisha.
Travel by train along the scenic Nankai railway line to Mount Koya. On this spiritual mountain visit Japan’s oldest graveyard set amidst a 900-year-old forest. Later, visit Kongobuji, the main temple on the mountain with the largest rock garden in Japan. Spend the night tonight in a working Buddhist monastery!
Today, travel south by train along the coast to Tanabe, then make your way to Takahara and the beginning of a network of ancient pilgrimage trails. Here we hike for the day to the small village of Takahara where we’ll spend the night.
Continue eastwards this morning along the Nakahechi pilgrimage trail with a 4-hour hike to Chikatsuyu, through forests of Japanese cedar. Later, descend to the village of Chikatsuyu and our accommodation for tonight, a small guesthouse run by a local couple.
Ascend on the trail to Nonaka, one of the many shrines along the route and hike to Hongu Grand Shrine passing through ridge-top-villages along the way. Meet up with a yamabushi (a priest of the shugendo faith) who will explain some of the faith's tenets and the special feats of endurance performed by yamagushis.
Board a boat for an exciting ride on the Kumano-gawa River, descend on the Kumano and arrive at Shingu in time to visit the Hayatama Grand Shrine. From there, drive to nearby Katsuura, a port town famous for its tuna auction followed by a short boat ride across the bay to our accommodation on a private island.
Visit the tuna auction this morning and then travel by train to Osaka, one of Japan’s most lively cities, known for its wonderful foodie culture. Check-in at the hotel and enjoy some free time before meeting for a farewell dinner.
Enjoy a day at your leisure before heading to the Osaka International Airport in time to catch your flight home.Show All Days VIEW MAP CLOSE Want to see a full
In a word: everything. In ninety words? Signature B&R guides; local experts; unique, unforgettable biking and walking routes; private tours; authentic local cuisine; lessons and demonstrations; local artisanal wines; wine tastings; all victuals and libations; all the endorphins you can handle; new insight; interesting, fun and like-minded travel companions; a feeling of total freedom. In short: an extraordinary, hassle-free journey of discovery.