Kumano Kodo self-guided walking 6 days
Day 1 ➤ Hike from Takijiri to Takahara Our tour includes train tickets for your journey from Kyoto or Osaka to the small town of Kii-Tanabe on the mystical Kii Peninsula, gateway to the historic Kumano Kodo Trail. The railway line runs close to the ocean for the latter part of the journey and offers fine views out over the sea. The journey from Osaka to Kii-Tanabe is around two and half hours; from Kyoto it is around three hours and usually requires a change of trains at Shin-Osaka station. Board a local bus outside Kii-Tanabe station and travel forty minutes to Takijiri. This is where your walk on the Nakahechi portion of the Kumano Kodo pilgrimage route begins. From Takijiri the path climbs steadily to the ridge-top village of Takahara, and takes around two hours. Stay tonight in a small, Japanese-style hotel in the tiny village of Takahara, or in a Japanese Minshuku in the nearby village of Kurisugawa. Both options serve good, home-cooked dinners featuring local seasonal ingredients.The small Japanese-style hotel in Takahara has both Japanese and western-style rooms, all with wonderful views over the valley and mountains. Walking distance: 4.5km / 2.8 miles Elevation gain: 370m / 1,200 feet of ascent Time required: About 2 hours Accommodation: Japanese-style Hotel in Takahara, or Japanese Minshuku (Family-run Guesthouse) in Kurisugawa
DAY 2 ➤ Hike from Takahara to Chikatsuyu After your Japanese breakfast you leave your inn and
follow the trail as it winds through small settlements and peaceful countryside. You pass 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. Arrive in Chikatsuyu in time to relax before dinner at a familyrun Minshuku guesthouse. Walking distance: 10km / 6.5 miles Elevation gain: 480m / 1,575 feet of ascent and 520m / 1,700 feet of descent Time required: About 4 - 5 hours Accommodation: Minshuku (Family-run Guesthouse)
DAY 3 ➤ Hike from Chikatsuyu and Nonaka to Hongu 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 villages in Japan, or to Kawayu Onsen famous for the thermal water bubbling to the surface of the crystal clear river. Enjoy a relaxing soak in a Japanese bath before or after your delicious, multi-course dinner. Walking distance: 24km / 14.9 miles Elevation gain: 820m / 2700 feet of ascent and 1140m / 3740 feet of descent Time required: About 8-9 hours, requiring an early start! We offer two shorter alternatives of 7 hours (15km / 9 miles) or of 2 hours (7km / 4 miles), using a local bus from Chikatsuyu to shorten the walk. You can choose which option you prefer on the day - no need to decide in advance! Accommodation: Onsen Ryokan (Hot-spring Travellers Inn)
DAY 4 ➤ Hike from Ukegawa to Koguchi Before or after breakfast, take time to explore the atmospheric village where you spent the night. Today’s journey begins with a short bus ride to Ukegawa on the banks of the Kumano River. From Ukegawa, you start on the Kogumotorigoe path, which heads up to the Kogumotorigoe Pass before descending to the remote village of Koguchi. The trail is not difficult and today’s hike should take you about 4 hours. A warm welcome and good food await you at a tiny inn run by a charming retired couple, or alternatively at the engaging lodge created from a former school building. Explore along the river and have a swim if the weather is warm. Walking distance: 12.4km / 7.7 miles Elevation gain: 520m / 1705 feet of ascent and 500m / 1640 feet of descent Time required: About 4 hours Accommodation: Japanese Lodge or Ryokan
DAY 5 ➤ Hike from Koguchi to Nachi-san The final section of the trail takes you from Koguchi up to 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 island-studded bay. Enjoy dinner and breakfast served by your hosts at your accommodation. Walking distance: 15.1km / 9.3 miles Elevation gain: 980m / 3215 feet of ascent and 920m / 3020 feet of descent Time required: About 6-7 hours Accommodation: Minshuku (Family-run Guesthouse) or Japanese-style Onsen Hotel
DAY 6 ➤ Kii-Katsuura and onwards by train to Osaka or Kyoto 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 and a traditional covered shopping arcade 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.