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Route: Kyoto - Kumano Kodo - Ise Shima - Osaka
Journey to the world-famous Kumano Kodo on foot from mountain to sea and immerse yourself in one of the most fascinating Japanese sacred traditions of Ama diving. Starting from Kyoto, this fully guided tour is the ideal discovery of the mountainous Kii Peninsula blessed with a rich pilgrimage tradition, isolated hot springs, and welcoming countryside hospitality. Your experiences also include an unforgettable culinary experience at a Michelin star restaurant in Kyoto.
The Kumano Kodo is the world's only UNESCO World Heritage-listed pilgrimage route besides the Camino de Santiago. Once a sacred pilgrimage reserved for emperors and samurai for over 1200 years, the world-class Kumano Kodo hiking route is today open to all walkers and natural wanderers.
The Kumano Kodo hiking route is well ...
The Kumano Kodo hiking route is well marked with sign posts. It weaves through the mountainous Kii Peninsula, forested landscapes and occasional villages. This walking journey has a mix of easy, moderate and hard day walks. The moderate Kogumotori-goe －pass rewards trekkers with the amazing view from Hyakken-gura. The Ogumotori-goe is a challenging walk with long ascents and descents, but it's believed to be the most memorable challenge of the Kodo. You'll walk from village to village covering up to 65.5 km and have an opportunity to visit two Grand Shrines (Kumano Hongu Taisha & Kumano Nachi Taisha).
The best accommodation along the Kumano Kodo pilgrimage route is hand picked for this package, including a luxury Ryokan (a member of Relais & Châteaux member) in Kyoto, a traditional Ryokan run for generations since the Edo era in the picturesque hot-spring village of Yunomine Onsen, a private island hot spring resort and the luxurious Japanese Ryokan sitting along cliffs and overlooking the Pacific Ocean.
All meals are included for the duration of the walk. You will enjoy authentic and delicious local cuisine.
Your luggage will be transported all the way through, so you only need to carry a day pack to enjoy your daily exploration. Round trip train tickets and all transportations (taxi & local bus) during the Kumano Kodo hike are also included.
Luxury Kumano Kodo Mountain to Sea & Ama Divers is the ultimate discovery of Kumano replete with natural beauty and rich history. You'll return invigorated and inspired with memories that will last a lifetime.
Departs daily year round on request.
Orientation for Kumano Kodo Walk
The local staff will give you an orientation of the tour when you arrive at Kii-Tanabe station. The staff will supply you with maps, bus timetables and brief you on your itinerary. The staff will explain cultural elements such as how to use a bath and purchase bus tickets if need be as well as answer any last minute questions.
This walk is qualified for "Dual Pilgrim". We provide official Dual Pilgrim Credential - a type of passport for pilgrims. It is used to collect stamps along the trail as a record of the walk. There are two sides, one for the Kumano Kodo and one for the Way of St. James.Please read the details in the section of Dual Pilgrim at the bottom of this page.
Why Choose Us
- We provide official English map (the best map).
- We provide official Dual Pilgrim Credential.
- We offer a pre-walk briefing at our local representative’s office.
- Unlike other operators using traditional Japanese inns/guesthouses that have communal bathrooms and toilets, we offer the best accommodation along the trail. All our rooms have private toilets.
- We arrange daily luggage transfer. Your luggage will be transferred to the next accommodation. You only need to carry a daypack for the walk.
Dates or itinerary don't fit? We are specialising in bespoke "tailor-made" luxury or private journeys. Please contact us for a "tailor-made" itinerary for your perfect adventure.
This tour is eligible to earn ONLYLUXE reward points.
Arrive in Kyoto. When you arrive at JR Kyoto station, you could take a taxi at JR Kyoto station. It takes about 12 mins by taxi to the hotel and the taxi rate is about 1200 JPY (approx. 15 AUD).
Served as the former Imperial capital of Japan for more than one thousand years, Kyoto remains the spiritual heart of Japan with atmospheric temples, sublime gardens, and traditional teahouses. As you stroll past the historically priceless houses survived from World War II, catch glimpses of geishas with their beautiful and intricate kimonos.
Spend the night in a beautiful traditional Japanese ryokan and getting ready for the Kumano pilgrimage journey next day.
The Kanamean Nishitomiya is one of the ryokans which have survived in the modern surroundings of downtown Kyoto owned by the fifth generation of hoteliers. The wooden architecture hosts only seven suites which lead to a little Japanese garden with seasonal flowers. As a Relais & Châteaux member, the ryokan offers Kyo Kaiseki following Japanese and Kyoto seasonal theme. You will experience the wonderful taste of Kyoto while savouring the culture, history & grace of life here.
Enjoy an unforgettable culinary experience at Kanamean Nishitomiya's on-site restaurant, which has been awarded with Michelin 1 star on seven consecutive year.
Room Style: Japanese Style
Bed Type: Futon
Bath: Private indoor/outdoor onsen
Toilet: Ensuite western style
Walking distance: 4 km. Time: 2.5 hrs Elevation: Takajiri-oji (82 m) - Lookout point (336 m) - Takahara Shrine (317 m)
Leave Kyoto by train and head to Kumano Kodo, a series of ancient pilgrimage routes, dating back to over 1,000 years, when Japan's imperial ancestors made pilgrimage trips from Kyoto. Located in the Kii Peninsula, the largest in Japan, the trails along Kumano Kodo are an incredible site for hiking.
Upon arrival to Kii-Tanabe Station, you are welcomed at tour information center next to the Kii-Tanabe station for a brief orientation on Kumano Kodo.
Catch the bus to the starting point of the pilgrimage and travel to Takahara with your guide. Takijiri-oji is a very important spot on the Kumano Kodo Pilgrimage route and one of the five major Oji shrines. It's the entrance to the abode of the gods and Buddhist paradises of rebirth.
Continue on a short but steep uphill walk from Takijiri to the ridge top settlement of Takahara, where you will be rewarded with panoramic views of the Hatenashi mountain range.
The steepest part of the trail leads to Takahara Shrine, a Shinto shrine surrounded by ancient camphor trees that are about a century old. From the shrine, walk towards Takahara Village, known as "Kiri-no-Sato" (Village in the Mist) because the scenic mountain vistas are often blanketed with mist.
Overnight in Takahara in a boutique lodge.
The lovely houses have 3 bedrooms and private ensuite and bath. It's spacious and has comfortable sitting area, featuring both Japanese style and Western bedrooms. Beautiful antiques and art decorate the home. For the walkers prefect to have privacy, we can arrange to stay at our exclusive boutique houses (additional charge apply).
Room Style: Japanese/western style
Bed Type: Futon/twin
Walking distance: 13 km. Time: 5-8 hrs
After breakfast, meet your guide for today's hike. After about half an hour, pass by the small Takahara Pond and walk to Daimon-oji. Continue hiking up the mountain before arriving at Jujo-oji (elevation at 593m above sea level).
Climb up to the highest point around the teahouse named Uwadawa-jaya (688m above sea level). This is where the trail begins to descend, passing by Osakamoto-oji (388m above sea level) and Chikatsuyu-oji, crossing Kitano-bashi Bridge, and following the road to Nonaka-no-Shimizu, a source of potable water that also belongs to the Top 100 Famous Bodies of Water in Japan.
From Nonaka-no-Shimizu, continue trek uphill. Head towards the woods to see Tsugizakura-oji, the sub-shrine located at the top of the steep stairs leading into a thick forest of huge cedar trees that are believed to be almost a century old. Next to the entrance of Tsugizakura-oji, you'll find Toganoki-jaya, a replica of a traditional Japanese-style tea house.
Overnight in a boutique guesthouse in the Nonaka area.
Room Style: Japanese style
Walking distance: 21.5 km (Shorter walking options can be arranged on request. You have options to walk 8 km or 17 km). Elevation gain: 960m Elevation Loss: 1440m
Today’s hike starts with a slow ascent to Kobiro-toge pass and then a relatively downward trail to Kumano Hongu Taisha.
Starting at the accommodation, follow the trail that leads to the remains of the cherry tree called Hidehira-zakura, the starting point of today's hike. Continue walking along the paved road, going up and down a number of slopes, before arriving at the area near Kumasegawa-oji.
Then trek cautiously along an unpaved trail in the forest. Arrive at Jagata-jizo, which is believed to protect the travellers from evil spirits. Cross over Yukawagawa River and follow the trail to Mikoshi-toge pass. From this point up to Funatama Shrine, the trail will begin to descend, passing by the thick forests of cedar and cypress trees and crossing over Otonashigawa River.
For the next 2 hours, walk on a series of paved and unpaved roads, mainly following a descending trail before arriving at Kumano Hongu Taisha, one of the three ‘Grand Shrines of Kumano', standing on a small ridge line in the north of the Hongu village. The austere pavilions are made of wood with impressive cypress bark roofs; it's architectural style dating back over 800 years.
After visiting the shrine, transfer by local bus to Yunomine Onsen, one of the oldest and most crucial hot spring resorts in Japan as it used to be the place where pilgrims cleansed themselves before praying at Kumano Hongu Taisha.
Your accommodation tonight is an wonderful traditional Ryokan run for generations since the Edo era. Ryokan Adumaya features eight hot baths. The largest bath looks the same as what it used to be since Taisho era. The Samashi bath is a 100% fontal hot spring, and it has medicinal benefits at a moderate temperature. After day's walking adventure, you can relax and enjoy Japan’s oldest hot spring which has been loved by famous Japanese poet Kyoshi Takahama as well as many other literary figures.
Enjoy a relaxing soak in a Japanese bath before or after your delicious, multi-course dinner.
Bath: Ensuite outdoor / indoor onsen
Walking distance: 13 km Elevation gain: 670m Elevation Loss: 690m
Enjoy your breakfast and set off an early departure for a full day walk from Ukegawa to Koguchi on the Kogumotori-goe section.
Take a short bus ride to Ukegawa on the banks of the Kumano River (at your own expense). From Ukegawa, you head up to the Kogumotorigoe Pass before descending to the remote village of Koguchi. The trail is moderate with many highlights along this course. You'll be rewarded with an amazing view from Hyakken-gura. From the lookout point, see the surrounding Kumano mountain range, which consists of around 3,600 peaks. Take a deep breath of the mountain air here and refresh your mind and body.
Koguchi is a tiny settlement in the bottom of a valley surrounding by lush green mountains, the half way stopping point for trekkers between the Kogumotori-goe and Ogumotorie-goe sections.
Take a 30min free shuttle bus to your hot spring lodge, which is tucked away into the lush mountains on the beautiful Takata River. Explore along the river and have a swim if the weather is warm.
Take a hot shower and spend a healing moment. The hot spring at Takata Greenland is a simple alkaline hot spring that is said to be effective in relieving common ailments such as neuralgia, muscle pain, and joint pain, etc. Soaking in the blue-gray water of the hot spring in a pool made of rocks, while surrounded by the greenery and listening to the murmur of the rushing river and the chirping birds, is an experience of a lifetime. An indoor pool that uses Tendai Uyaku, the main ingredient in Jofuku's legendary Elixir of Life, is also available.
Room Style: Japanese/western style with shared toilet facility due to remoteness
Walking distance: 14 km Elevation gain: 1260m Elevation Loss: 930m
Enjoy your breakfast and set off an early departure for a full day walk from Koguchi south to the shrine-temple complex of Nachisan. This is the Ogumotori-goe section of the Kumano Kodo pilgrimage route, considered one of the most difficult sections on the Nakahechi route. Not technically difficult but some long climbs and descents often with cobblestone lined trails, which can be slippery, especially when wet.
The trail takes you up to the Ogumotorigoe Pass with a glimpse of the Pacific Ocean. You will definitely lend a sense of accomplishment to the hard journey! 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.
Visit Kumano Nachi Taisha, one of the three grand shrines, located halfway up Nachi Mountain, about 350 meters above sea level. It has its religious origin in the ancient nature worship of Nachi-no-Otaki falls. Nachi Falls, 133 meters high and 13 meters wide, is the tallest waterfall in Japan. Its water source is the surrounding broad-leaf evergreen primeval forest, a sanctuary that has been protected since ancient times, used for ascetic training by mountain monks who practice Shugendo, a mixed religion of foreign and indigenous beliefs.
Take a bus to Katsuura Onsen on the coast (at your own expense) and take a ferry to your accommodation tonight at Kumano-Bettei Nakanoshima.
Kumano-Bettei Nakanoshima is a seaside hot spring resort located on a private island surrounded by the sea in Katsuura, with a 5-minute boat ride from the pier. It features a large Open-air Bath "Chomon no Yu" overlooking the bay where you can relax while listening to the sound of the waves and watching the sunset over the mountains.
Enjoy a Japanese style Kaiseki set menu featuring fresh and seasonal seafood natured in the Pacific Ocean.
Bed Type: Futon/twin beds
Bath: Ensuite indoor
Today is self-guided exploration with public transportation.
After having breakfast, catch a ferry back to Katsuura and train to Toba, located in the neighbouring Mie Prefecture.
Mie Prefecture clings to a crinkled coastline on the Kii Peninsula, bounded by primeval forests. The area is well-known for producing some of the freshest seafood in Japan and pearl cultivation.
Arrive at Toba and check in your luxury accommodation where you'll stay for two nights. Located at the northeastern end of the Shima-hanto Peninsula in Mie Prefecture, Oyado The Earth rests in a primeval forest and sits along cliffs overlooking the Pacific Ocean.
There is Earth Observatory at your accommodation. From the observatory deck, you can soak up the high noon sun, gaze upon the seemingly infinite ocean, ponder the stars and moon in the middle of the night, and give homage to the rising sun.
Enjoy an amazing Japanese kaiseki dinner.
Toilet: Western style
Visit the famous Ise Shrine, one of the most sacred areas for the Shinto religion and a favourite pilgrimage destination for Japanese people. The shrine, completely rebuilt every 40 years, is located in the middle of a beautifully forested area and requires a walk on a path across the woods in order to be reached. Only the shrines façade can be seen, as the rest of the facilities are considered too sacred to be visited by commoners and most of them can only be accessed by the Emperor.
Take a short walk to the picturesque district of Okage Yokocho. Within its 3.2 acre site, Okage Yokocho has a beautiful array of architecture dating from the Edo and Meiji periods thereby creating a delightful and historical atmosphere.
Stop for lunch at one of the elegant Japanese-style restaurants offering refined specialties, such as freshly prepared tofu or grilled eel, and a variety of other local products. Lunch at guest's own arrangement.
Continue your journey to Futami Okitama Shrine, known for its Husband-and Wife Rocks (Meoto-iwa), two curious outcrops standing in the sea connected by a sacred straw rope when they are symbolically wed each year.
Return to your luxury resort and enjoy the open air hot spa designed to frame the view of nature.
Today after breakfast, you can relax and enjoy the beautiful coastline.
Learn all about the life of Ama divers - the women who made the prefecture famous by diving for centuries in the local waters to catch the best marine products. Still today, Ama divers practice fishing, although their activity is strictly regulated.
Visit the hut of an Ama, who will prepare a beautiful grilled seafood meal.
After lunch, take a scenic train journey to Osaka or Tokyo. Tour ends.
Distance and journey time (approximation):Toba Station to Tokyo Station via Nagoya: approx. 4.5 - 5 hrsToba Station to Osaka: 2.5hrs
Daily departure on request. Group discount is available for 4 or people. Please contact us for private departures and group bookings.
The departure point is Kyoto.From OsakaOsaka International Airport: The closest airport to Kyoto - 50 minutes by convenient airport limousine bus.Kansai International Airport: The main international access point to Kyoto - about 90 minutes from Kyoto by direct express train.From Tokyo Narita International Airport: It takes about five hours from Narita to Kyoto by train.Haneda International Airport: It takes about four hours from Haneda to Kyoto by train.
Day1: Arrived in KyotoDay 2: approx. 4 kmDay 3: approx. 13 kmDay 4: approx. 21 kmDay 5: approx. 13 kmDay 6: approx. 14.5 kmDay 7: Self guided town walkDay 8: Private guided Ama divers tourDay 9: Return to Tokyo
A "Dual Pilgrim" is someone who has walked both the Kumano Kodo and the Way of St.James (Camino de Santiago).This program was developed to celebrate, honor, and share the stories of those who have completed both of these UNESCO World Heritage pilgrimage routes.Dual Pilgrims receive a limited edition "DUAL PILGRIM" pin badge and are featured on the Dual Pilgrim. (Inclusion on the website is optional).To receive the Dual Pilgrim status, pilgrims must complete one of the options for the Way of St. James, and one of the options for the Kumano Kodo, then register at a designated site.Way of St James Options- at least the last 100 km on foot or by horse, or- at least the last 200 km by bicycleKumano Kodo Options- Takijiri-oji to Kumano Hongu Taisha on foot (~38 km) or- Kumano Nachi Taisha to/from Kumano Hongu Taisha on foot (~30 km) or- Hosshinmon-oji to Kumano Hongu Taisha on foot (~7 km) plus a visit to Kumano Hayatama Taisha and Kumano Nachi Taisha or- Koyasan to Kumano Hongu Taisha on foot (~70 km)Only walking is allowed on the Kumano Kodo. No bicycles or horses.You can register for "Dual Pilgrim" status after you have completed the second route in either Santiago de Compostela or Tanabe City.
The Kumano Kodo can be walked year round but the weather can change rapidly in the Kumano mountain environment.The best time to walk the Kumano Kodo really depends on what you are looking for.March - April is spring season and an extremely popular time as it is cherry blossom season in Japan. October - November is also a popular time to visit as it is autumn and the colours throughout the forest are stunning. In spring and autumn, you can expect daytime temperatures of around 10-15°C. May and September are also lovely months to visit with warmer and longer days - daytime temperatures range between 18-24°C.June - August is summer season so you can expect much more humidity and higher rainfall but on the other hand scenery is beautifully green and verdant. During summer you can expect up to 25-30°C in temperature.December - February is winter season and there is a small chance of snow on the Nakahechi route. Trails are open year round but due to the cool weather and reduced hours of daylight we recommend this time of year for experienced trekkers only.Most accommodation close during the Christmas and New Year's holiday period.Kii-Peninsula is one of the wettest areas of mainland Japan and you should be prepared with adequate rain gear.Please note that the period when you are most likely to experience Typhoons is during August - early October period. If a Typhoon makes landfall on the mainland then there is often disruption to travel plans as all transport shuts down during a Typhoon and people stay indoors. Depending on the damage caused there may also be temporary trail closures - though usually things return to normal fairly quickly.
Onlyluxe Travel acts as travel agency and work with different tour operators.Payment DetailAll pricing is in Australian dollars and are quoted on a per person twin share basis. A supplementary price is available (see below). Bookings are not confirmed until full payment and the signed Booking Form has been received by Onlyluxe Travel.A non-refundable 30% deposit is payable within 7 days of your booking, with the final balance due 60 days prior to departure. If a booking is made 60 days or less before departure, the full payment is payable immediately. Last minute bookings are payable before arrival. Failure to pay on time may result in automatic cancellation of a booking with cancellation penalties payable to Onlyluxe Travel. If you pay by credit card or PayPal a surcharge will be added to the total price.Single SupplementAll accommodation is twin share. Single guests will share with someone of the same gender. If a single room is demanded, a supplementary price of will apply. The supplementary price refers to our quotation and needs to be stipulated at the time of booking.General Cancellation Policies- Outside of 60 days monies will be refunded less 30% of full fee- Within 60 days prior to arrival all monies will be forfeited- No refunds will be given in the event of non-arrival, any unused services or unused nights due to flight or weather disruption- We strongly recommend guests protect themselves with travel insurance and medical insurancePlease Note: Cancellations must be advised in email and will take effect from the date they are received.LiabilityThe participant agrees to indemnify Onlyluxe Travel, and its servant, tour operator and agents, in relation to any liability, loss and damage which the tour operator, or its servants and/or agents may incur as a result of the participants, negligence or misconduct during the tour.Smoking is not permitted on the bus, or in tents or in other accommodation being used by tour operator at the time that a trip is being conducted.Child PolicyPlease consult travel consultant on age limit.Changes to ItinerariesLocal conditions may necessitate changes to sightseeing, walking and driving routes, camping and accommodation locations. While every effort will be made to provide the services and experiences as offered in our brochure, on our website, and in our trip letters, we reserve the right to vary your itinerary. In the event that we are forced to change your arrangements, substitute arrangements of a similar standard will be provided. The tour operator will not be liable where interruptions to itineraries are caused by weather conditions, technical problems to transport used by the tour operator, industrial action, political or civil commotion or other circumstances beyond our control. We refer you to the conditions regarding travel insurance.Changes in PricesWhile we will do its utmost to honour its pricing unforeseen circumstances may mean that prices may be subject to change without notice.Pre-Existing Medical Conditions and Age LimitsYou need to advise Onlyluxe travel and the tour operator on any pre-existing medical condition, mobility impairment and/or disability that might reasonably be expected to increase the risk of your requiring medical attention, or that might affect the normal conduct of a trip and the enjoyment of other trip members. Onlyluxe Travel and the tour operator may require an assessment of your medical condition from a qualified medical practitioner. If you fail to adequately notify the tour operator of any pre-existing medical conditions and/or disability, the tour operator reserves the right, at its reasonable discretion, to cancel your participation in a trip at any time, including after the commencement of your trip, with no right of refund if your medical condition, mobility impairment and/or disability could be reasonably expected to affect the normal conduct of the trip and the enjoyment of other trip members.Cancellation by The Tour OperatorThe walks take place in very special wilderness settings. The tour operator is at the mercy of nature in all her beauty and all her fury. The tour operator will under no circumstance knowingly place at risk the health and well-being of our guests and guides. In the case of natural threats, acts of God and the like (e.g. bushfires, impassable snow, etc) the tour operator may need to cancel a walk with very little notice. In some cases, this can occur after the walk has commenced. The tour operator reserves the right to cancel any walk up to 60 days prior to departure if a minimum of 4 walkers are unable to meet for a tour. If the tour operator needs to cancel for any reason, the cost of the walk or any other costs associated with travel to the designated pick up point, overnight accommodation, meals, etc will not be covered by the Onlyluxe Travel and therefore we strongly recommend travel insurance be taken out prior to travel.Force Majeure'Force Majeure' means (without restriction) any event which Onlyluxe Travel or its third party providers could not, even with due care, foresee or avoid. Force Majeure covers events such as, but not limited to, adverse weather conditions, fire and all similar events beyond our control. In the case of Force Majeure Onlyluxe Travel will not accept liability, and reserves the right to change and cancel trips.EvacuationsIn rare circumstances, due to injury or unforeseen illness, the tour operator may need to evacuate you from a remote part of the walk. Helicopter evacuations are expensive and in most cases will be at a cost to the customer.For Australian residents, under the Australian Government Medicare Act, it is prohibited for any domestic travel insurance product to provide any financial reimbursement with regard to ambulance or air ambulance services. We therefore strongly advise our customers to take specific ambulance cover through their health insurance provider. Evacuation cost will not be covered by the Onlyluxe Travel and therefore it is also strongly recommended that our customers take out travel insurance to cover (amongst other things) the costs associated with evacuation.Travel InsuranceIn view of the heavy cancellation penalties applied to cancelled reservations in certain circumstances, we strongly recommends suitable travel insurance be purchased at the time the holding deposit is paid. We recommend insurance cover that covers any loss which may be suffered due to cancellation. We also strongly recommend comprehensive travel insurance against loss of baggage and medical expenses.