Kumano Kodo Pilgrimage Trail

Discover Japan’s ancient Kumano Kodo Pilgrimage Trail walking the Nakahechi Imperial Route on a self-guided walking package by Hiking Trails Pty Ltd.


Ancient Pilgrimage

For over 1000 years, people from all levels of society, from emperors and beggars, have made the arduous pilgrimage to Kumano. For hundreds of years pilgrims used a network of routes called the Kumano Kodo, which stretched across the mountainous Kii Peninsula. The walk itself was an integral part of the pilgrimage as they undertook rigorous religious rites of worship and purification.

Walking the Kumano Kodo

The trail surface varies from stone steps and cobbled pathways, to steps made of felled trees and timber, dirt paths, and as some short sections of road into and through small traditional Japanese villages. The walking is beautiful at every turn. Along the way there are countless stone carved shrines called Oji, historical sites of lodgings and tea houses past, and surreal abandoned stone terracing walls.

The Nakahechi pilgrimage route starts from Tanabe on the western coast of the Kii Peninsula and traverses east into the mountains towards the Kumano grand shrines. It is the most popular route for pilgrims from western Japan. Starting in the 10th century, the Nakahechi route was extensively used by the imperial family on pilgrimage from Kyoto.

Tanabe City, Kumano Tourism Bureau
The Kumano Kodo Pilgrimage Trail in Japan

Hiking the Kumano Kodo takes in local villages, mountains and forests, countless Oji shrines, the Grand Temples of the Kumano, and the Pacific Ocean. It is a culturally and historically rich experience complete with traditional lodging and authentic Japanese regional, seasonal meals.

Nick Noble, Hiking Trails Pty Ltd founder
An onsen village along the Kumano Kodo in Japan

Self-Guide Walking Package

  • Five days hiking the Kumano Kodo, plus a rest day in an onsen village
  • Six nights authentic Japanese minshuku and guest house accommodation
  • Traditional, seasonal meals every evening and breakfast, plus packed lunches
  • Kumano Kodo guidebook, self-guide maps, and personalised itinerary
  • Daily baggage transfers, so as you can travel light whilst walking

From $1790 AUD per person

Hongu Taisha, Kumano Kodo, Japan.

Authentic Lodging

Stay in authentic Japanese Minshuka, Ryokan, and Guest House accommodation along the Kumano Kodo with local hosts.

Traditional Meals

Traditional local Japanese seasonal pre-set meals prepared by your hosts, including dinners, breakfast, and packaged lunches.

Pilgrimage Walk

Walk the Kumano Kodo Nakahechi Imperial Route with self-guide maps, a personalised itinerary, and daily baggage transfers. 

Nachi Taisha and the Nachi waterfalls, Kumano Kodo, Japan.

Enquire Now

To find out more about hiking the Kumano Kodo in Japan or to start booking, please submit an enquiry to Hiking Trails Pty Ltd using the button below.

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