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Kumano Kodo: the Path of the Samurai

Bite-sized trip

  • Itinerary:
    Kumano Kodo
  • Duration:
    4 days / 3 nights
  • Price:
    from £ 1,049.- per person (excluding flights)
Feel like a samurai walking the sacred path of Kumano Kodo, one of the only two pilgrimage routes in the world recognised by UNESCO. In the next few days you'll hike through a network of ancient trails connecting significant shrines and temples. You'll explore the most picturesque part of the Kii peninsula with its everchanging landscape as you walk through the forests, along the rivers and past the mountains and waterfalls. This is a walk to remember!
person standing on high viewpoint
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Day 1 – Kumanohongu Onsen-kyo

You can start this adventure from either Kyoto or Osaka. Board the train, and, upon arrival at Kii-Tanabe, drop your luggage at the Tourist Centre to be shuttled to your accommodation. The local assistant will talk you through your journey ahead and explain the route. You’ll then hop on a local bus and in about 2 hrs get to your final destination for the day. Kumanohongu Onsen-kyo is the famous hot spring area that will help you cleanse your body and soul before your pilgrimage begins. Hot springs and traditional onsens are the main attraction here, and Yunomine onsen, one of the oldest hot springs (discovered 1800 years ago). is the star of the show. Rumours have it that it changes its water colour up to 7 times a day! Stroll around town, have a soak in one of the public baths before dinner at your traditional ryokan, where you’ll also stay for the night.

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Day 2 – Nakahechi Pilgrimage Route

This morning you’ll take a local bus to the start of Nakahechi trail – an incredibly picturesque part of the Kumano Kodo route, which, after a few hours will take you to one of the main shrines. With some scenic spots for a short break and a great lookout point towards the end of the trail, it’s an enjoyable walk. You’ll have your packed lunch with you and will be spoilt for choice when it comes to selecting your pit-stop spot. Take a bus back to Kumanohongu Onsen-kyo, where you’ll spend another night in the same ryokan.
Today you’ll also learn how to make traditional paper at a local workshop. You can then take it to the shrines you’ll be visiting to get it stamped. It’s an ancient Japanese tradition to collect sacred stamps as a proof of taking part in the pilgrimage, and what a lovely thing it is to hold on to as a memory of your journey.
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Days 3-4 – Kii-Katsuura & departure

This morning you’ll set off on a final part of the route. After a bus ride to Shingu, you’ll explore one of the main shrines and enjoy a Kumano river cruise. The Kumano river is a part of the pilgrimage route between the main shrines in Shingu and cruising down the river on a traditional wooden boat, just like the pilgrims did in the past, is a magical experience.
Please note, the cruise may be cancelled due to weather; there is no operation between December and February; you will need to make your own way to the Kumano river station.
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After lunch, hop on a local train to Kii-Katsuura followed by a bus to Daimonzaka to reach the most significant shrine on the route, Kumano Nachi-Taisha. Follow the ancient cobblestoned stairs fringed with the cedar trees and you’ll be rewarded with a spectacular view of the tallest waterfall in Japan and a beautiful three-story pagoda.
Whenever you are ready to leave this breath taking place, jump on a bus to Kii-Katsura, a quaint fishing village, where you’ll spend your final night. Your luggage will be delivered here too. Your adventure will end the next day after breakfast.
Please note: the fares for local buses and local trains are not included and tickets will need to be purchased locally
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Kumano Kodo: the Path of the Samurai

For this bite-sized trip we offer the following options

hotel outdoor bath
hotel interior
hotel onsen

Upgrade to our In Style accommodation

  • Price:
    from £ 1,229.- per person (excluding flights)
  • Included:
    In Style accommodation, excursions, transport and meals as described above

For this bite-sized trip we have an alternative option available for your accommodation. Our In Style version is something a bit more special or unique but still with lots of local flavour! If you would like to upgrade your accommodation for this bite-size trip select our In Style option below.

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