Kumano Kodo: expert's trail

  • Duration : 5 days
  • Locations : Kii Peninsula, Wakayama Prefecture

This tour gives you access to one of the most sacred areas of ancient Japan. It was here, in these deep and misty mountains that the syncretic religious practices that make this country so distinctive from the rest of Asia, were founded. 

You will climb the mountains by ancient staircases with stone or wooden steps on which the emperors of old times used to perform their devotions. You'll cross torrents and pass through impressive forests of cryptomeria, cypress and majestic camphor trees. 

After your exertions, you will be able to relax in the thermal springs along the way, and sleep in the inimitable comfort of charming little Japanese inns. Finally, you will admire two of the most famous shrines of the Shinto religion listed as World Heritage Sites, in their natural settings. 

Japan Experience's plus point : An adapted itinerary that harmoniously combines effort, beauty and comfort.

5 days / 4 nights itinerary through Wakayama Prefecture  

  • Departure city : Osaka
  • Tanabe
  • Nakahechi
  • Hongû
  • Koguchi
  • Katsuura
  • Return city : Osaka

Please find detailed itinerary information below.  

Why choose this excursion to Japan ? 

  1. A real mid-mountain hike, steeped in mysticism.
  2. An intimate discovery of the Japanese forest and hot springs
  3. Meeting other pilgrims along the way and at the stopover.
  4. Visiting two well-known World Heritage temples.
  5. The recommendations available in your digital travel guidebook

Your excursion in detail


  • Day 1 : To the South of Kii Peninsula

    The train departs from Osaka Central Station, which is easily reached from Kyoto or Shin-Osaka (TGV). 

    The train departs at around midday for the South of Kii peninsula and the province of Wakayama, where the track runs alongside the Inland Sea

    You will arrive at a small station by the sea, which you will leave by bus to reach the starting point of the walk 40 minutes later. 

    On this first day, a short walk of around 2 hours will allow your body to adapt to the very special terrain of the Japanese mountains and arrive early at your first stop, a small village on a plateau with an unobstructed view

    The hot baths, healthy local food and tranquil views will prepare you ideally for the first day's walking the following day.

  • Day 2 : Camphor trees and cryptomerias

    You'll have a hearty breakfast before taking up the pilgrim's staff again. 

    You'll make your way along the trail under the canopy of the great cryptomerias, which will occasionally part to give you a glimpse of a line of wooded mountains, a plateau with its rice paddies or the charming little villages you pass through. 

    This stage does not present any particular difficulties, and after around 6 hours of effort will bring you to a hamlet of small scattered houses, where you will spend the night and be served a delicious meal.

  • Day 3 : The great sanctuary

    The route resumes, alternating between walks under a forest canopy of mossy rocks and unobstructed views of the lush mountains

    After around 6 hours of walking, you'll reach the great sanctuary of Kumano Hongû Taisha, with its sumptuous wooden buildings embellished with gold. 

    You can then enjoy the beauty of the entire site at your leisure before continuing on to Kawayu, a venerable spa where pilgrims used to purify themselves. This magical place is where you will stay where you will once again experience the delights of traditional Japanese hospitality.

  • Day 4 : Inside the mountains

    After breakfast, the trail continues through the forest

    Today's stage, lasting around 5 hours, has a gentler gradient through a now-familiar cedar landscape. Small stone statues and beautiful views will enhance this short hike, during which you will see very few people. 

    Then, in the afternoon, you'll return to the wider valleys, with their languid rivers and a few hamlets on their banks. Here, in the heart of the mountains, you can recharge your batteries in a charming country inn.

  • Day 5 : The sublime waterfall

    This is the last stage, and our muscles are now ready to climb the highest point of the route, the Echizen pass, in the morning. 

    There is no road that will take us closer to our goal on this section. We have to cross the mountain for 6 sublime hours of steep, mysterious landscapes

    The rewards are well worth the day's efforts, with the sight of the great red pagoda of Nachi Taisha in the green setting of a mountain cirque ! 

    Nearby is the great waterfall, the highest in Japan, cascading uninterrupted from the lush vegetation to a pool 130 metres below ! An unforgettable sight.

    The jagged coastline is not far away now, and you'll reach it by a short bus ride before taking the train back to civilisation.

    Included in your self-guided excursion

  • Accommodation

    - 4 nights in 2 or 3-star traditional accommodations.

    The base rate includes a twin room.

  • Transportation

    - Round trip journey to and from Osaka. 

    - Pre-paid local bus journeys with your travel card.

  • Visit & meals

    - All breakfasts and dinners are included.

    - Packed lunches can be provided at your accommodation. 

    Other services

  • Other services

    - 7/7 telephone assistance in English and Japanese bilingual

    - Complete digital travel diary before your departure

  • Not included in the price of your excursion

    - Optional insurance 

    - Personal expenses including lunches (you will find addresses selected by us in your travel pack) 

    - Entrance fees to museums, gardens or temples 

    - Pocket wifi 

    - Everything not included in the "included in your excursion" section

More information about your trip

Your excursion:

- The prices shown on this page may vary according to the Japanese ¥ exchange rate. 

- Unfortunately, this tour is not accessible to people with reduced mobility. 

- Pets are not accepted. 

- Children aged 3 and over are accepted. Child rates available for ages 3 to 11 inclusive. 

- This program may be subject to changes due to imperatives such as weather conditions or other force majeure events. Please note that due to the current situation, all mentioned information is subject to change or adaptation. 

- In order to benefit from an internet connection, book a pocket wifi or SIM card with Japan Experience. 

- This tour must be booked at least 30 days before the start date of the tour. 

- Your travel documents will be sent to you by email 20 days before your departure.

Your accommodation:

- Some hotels may ask you to pay a tourist tax on arrival. This depends on the town and even the hotel, as some do not include it in the cost of the reservation. It generally amounts to ¥200/night/person (about €1.60) but may be a little higher in 4-star hotels. It must be paid in cash at the hotel reception. 

- Single room: People travelling alone and/or wishing to book a single room must pay a supplement at the time of booking. Please note that a single room supplement for an order of more than 2 people will be applied in all accommodation except ryokans (3 and 4*). As this is traditional accommodation, people with the same reservation are grouped together in spacious rooms that can accommodate up to 5 people. 

- 3-person room: If there are 3, 5 or more of you and you do not select the single supplement, you will be allocated a triple room. 

- Hotel names: The names given on the site are for information only. In the event of unavailability, an establishment of equivalent standing will be scheduled. 

Your transport:

- Round trip journey to and from Osaka. 

- Pre-paid local bus journeys with your travel card.

Your meals:

- All breakfasts and dinners are fully included in the price of your excursion.

- Packed lunches can be provided at your accommodation. 

- For other meals, you will also find addresses selected by us in your travel diary.

Kumano Kodo: expert's trail


Optional services

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