Kumano Kodo Kiiji self-guided walking 5 days

(subject to change until the booking has been finalized)

Day 1 Hike from Shimizu-Ura to Kainan

Your journey along the Kiiji route of the Kumano Kodo begins with a train ride from either Kyoto or Osaka, heading south into the Kii Peninsula. You arrive in the town of Shimizu-Ura and head towards Fujishiro Shrine, considered by many pilgrims to be the true entry point of the Kumano Kodo. Walk along a wonderfully preserved section of the Kiiji trail, with an optional side trip to Kitsumoto Shrine, an important spiritual site and one of the oldest along the walk, before heading on.

In the evening, stay at a comfortable traditional inn nearby.

Walking distance: 5.3 km / 3.3 mi
Elevation gain: 300 m / 980 ft of ascent and 270 m / 885 ft of descent
Time required: About 2 hours

Including the optional side trip to the shrine, the full hike is around 3-4 hours (8.9km / 5.5 miles) on foot.

Accommodation: Ryokan (traditional Japanese inn) or Japanese-style hotel in Yuasa
Meals: Breakfast, dinner

Day 2 Hike from Takijiri to Takahara

Today you depart from the coast and head inland towards the Nakahechi portion of the Kumano Kodo. After boarding a local bus, travel 40 minutes into the mountains to the small settlement of Takijiri.

From here there is a steady path climb to the quiet ridge-top village of Takahara, taking roughly 2 hours. After enjoying the great views here, take a short 30-minute stroll to the nearby bus stop and head on by local bus to reach your inn in Chikatsuyu for the evening, where there will be time to explore the local art gallery and shops. 
For a longer hike, we also offer the option to continue along the Kumano Kodo trail, with a further 4 hours of hiking to reach Chikatsuyu on foot.

Overnight at a traditional inn here for the evening.

Walking distance: 7.8 km / 4.8 mi
Elevation gain: 370 m / 1,200 ft of ascent and 600 m / 1,970 ft descent
Time required: About 2.5 hours

For the longer hike today, the full walk takes about 6 hours (14.5 km / 9.3 mi) on foot.

Accommodation: Minshuku (family-run guesthouse)
Meals: Breakfast, dinner

Day 3 Hike from Chikatsuyu and Nonaka to Hongu

From Chikatsuyu and Nonaka the trail continues through the mountains. Board a bus today and then walk a gentle section of the trail from Hosshinmon-oji to Hongu Grand Shrine, 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’ that spirits travelled to in Japanese mythology. From 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: 7 km / 4 mi
Elevation gain: negligible ascent and descent
Time required: 2 hours

We offer two longer alternatives of 7 hours (15 km / 9 mi) or 8-9 hours (24 km / 14.9 mi). You can choose which option you prefer on the day—no need to decide in advance!

Accommodation: Onsen ryokan (hot spring inn)
Meals: Breakfast, dinner

Day 4 Visit Hayatama Grand Shrine and Nachi Grand Shrine

Departing from your ryokan, it is possible to visit both Hayatama Grand Shrine and Nachi Grand Shrine today, rounding out visits to all of the Three Grand Shrines of Kumano after your visit to Hongu Grand Shrine yesterday. Overnight in Kii-Katsuura, an engaging port town on the eastern coast.

Accommodation: Onsen hotel (hot spring hotel)
Meals: Breakfast, dinner

Day 5 Travel to 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.

Meals: Breakfast

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JTB Australia Tour
JTB Australia Tour
JTB Australia Tour