Japan's Kumano Kodo

14 days
$9,779 USD
incl. taxes
5 / 5 from 1 review
Walking & Trekking
Activity level:
Activity Rating - Moderate
Trip code: 
Ways to Travel:
Guided Group, Private Group Adventures
Walking & Trekking
Group size:

Walk Japan's ancient pilgrimage routes along the Kumano Kodo

After uncovering Kyoto’s most ancient shrines and pathways, we head off the beaten track to the Kumano Kodo region; one of Japan's most remote and rewarding pilgrimage routes. This moderate walking trip focuses on beautiful scenery and nature, rural life, and following in the footsteps of religious pilgrimages on some of the country’s most historic walks. Staying in traditional ryokans along the way, this journey invites full immersion into the authentic Japanese culture and way of life. Afterwards, we visit Toba to learn about the famous Ama Divers and embark on one last pilgrimage walk on the famous Nakasendo Way, before entering back into the modern civilisation of Tokyo!


  • Explore the beautiful and fascinating Kyoto
  • Sleep in traditional Japanese Ryokans, guesthouses and inns
  • Historic pilgrimage walks along the Kumano Kodo
  • Beautiful scenery and nature
  • Be immersed in Japanese culture off the beaten track
  • Walk the Nakasendo Way from Tsumago to Magome
  • Learn about the famous Ama divers whilst staying in Toba
  • Stay in charming Kiso Fukushima 

Key information

  • 8 nights in traditional guesthouses/ryokans in Japanese style rooms (shared bathrooms) and 5 nights in comfortable hotels (en suite)
  • 8 days guided walking 
  • Low altitude throughout with some longer steep ascents/descents
  • Travel by train, local buses and metro
  • Luggage transfers between accommodations on some walk days as required
  • Countries visited: Japan

What's included

  • All breakfasts, 6 lunches and 9 dinners
  • All accommodation 
  • All transport and listed activities
  • Flights from London (if booking incl. flights)
  • Group arrival transfer (for group flight)
  • Free departure transfer by shuttle service (must be booked in advance before trip commences with Exodus and is subject to availability)

What's not included

  • Travel insurance
  • Single accommodation (single supplements valid 5 nights only)
  • Visas or vaccinations
Call for general departures:
1 844 227 9087
Call for private group trips:
1 844 227 9087
Trip Notes

Click on the button below for detailed Trip Notes containing all the particulars about this trip, including kit lists and practical information.

Note: these can vary by departure; you can check out the specific Trip Notes for your chosen adventure on the dates & prices page.


Days of Walking & Trekking

Moderate. Hike durations span from 2 hours to 7-9 hours per day. 


Most of the walking is on good paths, soft soil trails and part paved roads. The Kumano Kodo has some sections with long, steep ascents and descents. 

Day by day breakdown
Day 29.0km/6.0miles
Day 316.0km/10.0miles
Day 44.0km/3.0miles
Day 514.0km/9.0miles
Day 618.0km/11.0miles
Day 713.0km/8.0miles
Day 814.0km/9.0miles
Day 128.0km/5.0miles

People, Places & Planet

 We work hard to create trips which improve life for the people and places we visit, and look after the planet we explore. Find out more about our sustainable travel ethos and practice here, and find out about the work of the Exodus Travels Foundation here.

Some sustainable travel highlights of this trip include:


How this trip helps improve life for local communities.

  • The use of a local guide means our customers will be well informed about local traditions, and cultural and social sensitivities.
  • This trip brings income and opportunity to the destination community through the inclusion of locally-owned hotels and restaurants, the emphasis on eating locally produced food and support of other local enterprise.
  • Guests will have the opportunity to stay in traditional family-run Japanese guesthouses (ryokans/minshukus) on many nights of the trip, where they will eat delicious home cooked, traditional Japanese meals prepared by locals.
  • When visiting Toba, we learn about the life of Ama divers and get to witness a fishing demonstration by them. With the fresh seafood caught, clients can enjoy a grilled seafood lunch in a traditional Ama diver hut. Being an Ama diver holds a life-threatening risk and this thereby discourages younger generation to carry on this tradition. But our visit helps support and preserve the Ama diving community and traditions that are at the brink of extinction.
  • With a strong emphasis on culture and history, this trip provides plenty of opportunities to visit various museums, cultural sites & shrines. Our visits to these sites will benefit the locals and contributes to the preservation of their cultural assets through the money spent on entrance fees and other purchases made within the area. 


How this trip helps protect and conserve local landscapes and nature.

  •  Read about our commitment to nature protection and restoration here, including our rewilding commitment for every customer who travels.
  • By travelling in a small group, led by a local guide, we ‘tread lightly’ to minimise our impact on local resources and the environment. On many nights of the trip, especially when walking the Kumano Kodo, the group stays overnight at family-run traditional guesthouses often located off  the beaten track.
  • Our trips adhere to ABTA’s industry-leading animal welfare guidelines to ensure the best possible practices with regard to working animals and wildlife viewing. Our animal welfare policy can be found here.
  • We work with our partners on the ground to proactively eliminate or reduce waste. For example, we encourage eliminating all single-use plastic water bottles and instead encourage clients to drink the tap water, which is safe to drink in Japan. We encourage all clients to take a refillable water bottle with them on the tour.
  • During the tour, our guides educate guests on how to appropriately separate and dispose of any waste, as well as encouraging clients to use reusable chopsticks and canvas tote bags for shopping.


How we seek to keep the carbon footprint of this trip low.

  • Read about our climate action here, including our carbon reduction and compensation commitments.
  • We choose to travel predominantly by public transport through-out this trip as opposed to private transport throughout or taking domestic flights.
  • Accommodation and restaurants in the itinerary mostly use locally-sourced food which has not been transported long distances.
  • Vegetarian and vegan options are available at  the majority of accommodation and restaurants.
  • Most accommodations used on this trip adhere to strict environmental policies in order to save water and energy and lower their carbon footprint.

 Tips for sustainable travel on this trip

  • Leave no trace: We do all we can to ensure we leave no rubbish behind in the wild and beautiful places we visit; we ask that you do the same. If there are no recycling facilities in-country, we’d ask you to consider bringing recyclable materials home with you.
  • Plastic waste reduction: Please bring your own re-usable water bottle on this trip. Tap water in Japan is safe for drinking, hence we strongly encourage clients to bring their own reusable water bottles for this purpose and minimise our usage of single use plastic bottles.
  • Cultural respect:
    • Shoes are never worn in someone's home or on Japanese tatami flooring (mats). There will always be a place to put your shoes. In addition, you will be given slippers to wear. There are often different slippers for the bathroom.
    • It is highly inappropriate to stick chopsticks into food, especially into a bowl of rice. This practice of placing chopsticks upright in a bowl of rice is a funerary practice known as ‘tsukitate-bashi’. 
    • When eating soup or rice, it is acceptable to lift the bowl closer to your mouth to avoid spilling food. Generally, miso soup (which accompanies many meals) is drunk directly from the bowl, while larger soups are usually consumed by using a soup spoon.


  • Day 1

    Start Kyoto

    Those on the group flight will arrive into Kansai Airport and will be transferred to Kyoto. Land only clients are free to arrive at the start hotel anytime today. With about 2000 temples, shrines and gardens, Kyoto is a treasure house of Japan's cultural heritage and remains undoubtedly one of the most fascinating cities in Asia. Unlike many other Japanese cities it escaped the ravages of both the Second World War and modern urban development, thereby keeping intact much of the spirit and architecture of traditional Japan. 

    This evening there will be a briefing with your leader.

    Hotel Resol Kyoto Trinity Oike Fuyacho or similar

  • Day 2

    Hike to the Kibune shrine; onto Kurama temple; return to Kyoto

    This morning we set out on our first hike to the northern mountains and the Kibune shrine, followed by the Kurama temple. Our first stop of the day, however is going to be the Ginkakuji – Silver Pavilion. From Ginkakuji we climb up to the Daimonji mountain for an excellent view of Kyoto and then take a short train ride north to Kibune-guchi where the hike to Kibune and Kifune shrine begins.

    Kifune shrine was built upon the site where supposedly a goddess finished her long journey via a boat. The small town of Kibune sprang into existence shortly after to complement the shrine. Dedicated to the deity of water and rain, all those who seek protection and maritime safety come here to pray – especially the seamen and fishermen. The charming town is dotted with traditional restaurants and inns, with river streams running beneath the restaurant platforms. It’s an excellent opportunity to relax for a bit, especially for those that would like to escape the crowds of Kyoto.

    We then set out further on our hike for Kurama town, renowned for its Kurama temple and special hot springs. The temple is nestled deep in the woods and requires a fair bit of legwork to reach, but those who do venture to the temple are rewarded with beautiful scenery along the path. 

    We return to Kyoto for the evening where you can choose to join an optional group dinner in the Gion district if you wish.

    Hotel Resol Kyoto Trinity Oike Fuyacho or similar

    Meals included: Breakfast
  • Day 3

    Walk on the historic Yamano be no michi; one of Japan’s oldest still existing path roads

    Leaving the north of Kyoto behind, today we will embark on a journey in the opposite direction. Together we enjoy a pleasant hike on the Yamano be no michi. The path is believed to be the oldest path still in existence connecting Edo (present day Tokyo) with the western parts of Japan with a history of more than 1200 years. Starting in present day Nara and spanning through what used to be Yamato – the cradle of Japanese civilisation, the trail will take you through over 15 kilometres of distance and two millennia worth of history. Along the trail you will discover gems and relics of distant past, like the sacred shrine of Omiwa. It is believed that the shrine is the oldest one still standing in Japan, dating well back into 7th century BC. Apart from the Omiwa shrine, there are many temples and shrines dotting the trail that are worth the visit and the trail itself runs through lush forests and comfortable paths, as well as rural villages where you can experience the true Japanese hospitality as fruit vendors often offer their locally grown fresh produce to visitors to give them an extra bit of energy for hiking the trail.

    In the late afternoon you will return to Kyoto and enjoy an evening at leisure. Overnight in Kyoto.

    Hotel Resol Kyoto Trinity Oike Fuyacho or similar

    Meals included: Breakfast
  • Day 4

    Morning walk to the Fushimi Inari Shrine; free time in Kyoto before train to Tanabe

    Today we make an early start to visit the arguably most iconic sight of Kyoto - Fushimi Inari Taisha Shinto Shrine. The common folk have worshipped the deity of good harvest and good business since as early as the 7th century. Inari – the deity that feed, clothes and protects households became immensely popular over the centuries and shrines dedicated to this deity are the most numerous in Japan.

    Even today, to show gratitude for good business as well as to beckon good fortune in future endeavours businessmen and entrepreneurs from all corners of Japan donate a so called Torii arch to the shrine in hope of gaining the continuous favour of the deity. Although this custom is fairly recent, the mountain path through the shrine is dotted with thousands of the torii arches. This makes for a wonderful morning stroll at the break of dawn. An early start and beating the crowds is recommended, otherwise you will have to compete with the hundreds and thousands of visitors Fushimi Inari attracts on a daily basis. After the hike we return to the hotel. The rest of the morning is free for visiting some of the famous sights in Kyoto such as the Imperial Palace, Nijo castle or the Golden Pavillion and lunch.

    In the afternoon we 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.

    By train we reach Tanabe city on the coast at the tip of the Kii peninsula, where we spend the night in this rural seaside town.

    Hotel Hanaya or similar


    Meals included: Breakfast Dinner
  • Day 5

    Start walking the Kumano Kodo; a series of ancient pilgrimage routes. Bus transfer to Takajiri-oji; Hike to Nonaka passing Takahara village

    After an early breakfast, we take a bus to Takijiri-oji, the starting point of the pilgrimage from where we make our way on foot to Takahara. This is the steepest part of the trail, leading to Takahara Shrine, a Shinto shrine surrounded by ancient camphor trees. From the shrine, we walk towards Takahara Village, also called “kiri-no-sato” (village in the fog), a small quiet town with rice terraces and surrounded by forests.

    The trail continues upwards until we reach the teahouse named Uwadawa-jaya, from where the trail begins to descend, passing by ruin shrines and small villages of Osakamoto-oji 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.

    Around Nonaka-no-Shimizu area, the group will be staying in a minshuku, a traditional family-style inn that offers Japanese-style rooms. Your dinner will feature some local specialties from the Kumano Kodo region.

    Please note, due to the smaller sizes of accommodation in this location, bigger groups may be accommodated across two minshuku inns this evening. However, the group will still have meals together in one of the accommodations in that case.

    As our hike tomorrow is a bit longer and more challenging, it is highly suggested to turn in early. 

    Minshuku Chikatsuyu or similar

    Meals included: Breakfast Lunch Dinner
  • Day 6

    Walk in the forest, crossing rivers and ancient shrines; transfer by local bus to Yunomine Onsen

    Today we start with a short 10 minute bus ride to the start of our hike. We first start walking uphill, and head towards the woods to see Tsugizakura-oji, a sub-shrine located at the top of 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, we will find Toganoki-jaya, a replica of a traditional Japanese-style teahouse. 

    We then continue with a slow ascent to Kobiro-toge pass, followed by a relatively downward trail along a series of paved and unpaved paths, passing Jagata-jizo, which is believed to protect the travelers from evil spirits, a couple river crossings and passing by thick forests of cedar and cypress trees until we reach Kumano Hongu Taisha, the head shrine of more than 3,000 Shinto shrines in the Kumano area.

     After visiting the shrine, we 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.

    Tonight you will stay at a ryokan, another traditional Japanese-style inn, where you will sleep on a futon, have access to the public onsen, and enjoy your bento style dinner.

    Iseya Ryokan or similar


    Meals included: Breakfast Lunch Dinner
  • Day 7

    Follow the old spiritual path from Ukegawa to Koguchi; transfer to Kawayu Onsen; enjoy views of the surrounding Kumano mountain range

    After breakfast we take a bus from Yunomine Onsen to Ukegawa where today's hike (mainly along unpaved road) will commence.

    Today during the hike we pass by the remains of an old teahouse called Matsuhata-jaya and Hyakken-gura, one of the top spots in Wakayama to see the surrounding Kumano mountain range, which consists of around 3,600 peaks.

    From here we continue on a mainly level road towards the remains of the Sakura-jaya teahouse, before descending from the hills, along a path with cobblestones that can be slippery especially if wet or covered with moss. At the foot of the hill, we should find some small prayer tablets that have been left there by other spiritual hikers as offerings. We continue onto Koguchi, the end of today's walk where we take a bus via Kanmaru to Kawayu onsen. This place is famous for the hot spring beside the river. 

    Omuraya Ryokan or similar

    Meals included: Breakfast Lunch Dinner
  • Day 8

    Walk past historic sites and wonderful views to Nachi Falls and Kumano Nachi Taisha, one of the Kumano Kodo’s main pilgrimage destinations

    This morning we rise very early return to Koguchi to begin our hike. Today’s trail is one of the most challenging sections of Kumano Kodo – it will take us through forested hills and along unpaved roads. However, a series of historical sites and wonderful views awaits as we pass by Waroda- ishi rock (where the Kumano deities are believed to meet and chat over tea), through the woods of Irokawatsuji, and over Funami-toge Pass, where we have a glimpse of the Pacific Ocean.

    After hiking for almost 8 hours, we arrive in Nachi. Here we will see Nachi Falls, the highest waterfall in Japan, and pay a visit to Kumano Nachi Taisha shrine.

    Later in the afternoon you will transfer by local bus (approx. 30 minutes) to Katsuura, staying at a Japanese Inn on the beautiful islet dotted Katsuura Bay, where you will be able to enjoy listening to the ocean waves and relax after completing our hikes along the memorable Kumano Kodo.

    Hotel Sunrise Katsuura or similar

    Meals included: Breakfast Lunch Dinner
  • Day 9

    Travel by train to Toba, located in the rural Mie prefecture; learn about the famous Ama divers on Mikimoto Pearl Island

    After having your breakfast, get ready for a short walk to return to Katsuura station on foot (with your luggage), from where we begin our journey by train to Toba, located in the neighbouring Mie Prefecture.

    The rural Mie Prefecture is famous for its forested landscapes and Mediterranean looking coastlines. The area is also famous for producing some of the freshest seafood in Japan and, in its waters, pearl cultivation has become an important activity.

    Upon arrival in Toba, we store our luggage safely at the station before having lunch and walking a short distance across to Mikimoto Pearl Island where we will learn all about pearl cultivation and the life of the Ama divers. These female divers are famous for their century's long tradition of diving for pearls without oxygen masks and here we will be able to witness an Ama diver demonstration.

    Afterwards, we continue to the area of Osatsu in Toba where we spend the next 2 nights at a ryokan in Japanese style rooms.

    Ryokan Otaya or similar

    Meals included: Breakfast Dinner
  • Day 10

    Osatsu village followed by lunch at the Ama hut; visit Ise Shrine

    This morning there will be the opportunity to relax in the ryokan or enjoy a walk around the local neighbourhood where there may be the chance to visit a local shrine and temple or in warmer weather, enjoy a swim at the local sandy beach.

    Late morning, we take a short walk to visit the hut of an Ama diver, who will prepare a grilled seafood meal.

    After lunch, we continue to the Ise Shrine by train, one of the most sacred areas for the Shinto religion and a favourite pilgrimage destination for Japanese people.

    Just a short walk away, the picturesque district of Okage-Yokocho offers a great outlook on the traditional side of the area with its quaint shops selling local arts and crafts as well as food before returning to our ryokan.

    Tonight we spend our second evening in Toba.

    Ryokan Otaya or similar


    Meals included: Breakfast Lunch Dinner
  • Day 11

    Scenic train journey to charming Kiso Fukushima

    A long and scenic train journey with one change today takes us to Kiso Fukushima in about 4.5 hours. 

    Upon arrival at Kiso Fukushima, we take a short orientation tour with our leader. Kiso-Fukushima is a delightful town in Nagano Prefecture on the railway line between Nagoya and Matsumoto in central Japan and is located roughly half-way along the Nakasendo.

    Kiso-Fukushima was an important checkpoint on the route, and its historic sekisho, or barrier station, is one of only two on the Nakasendo. The Fukushima Sekisho-ato (checkpoint) is where travellers on the Nakasendo were made to wait and present their passes to travel on the highway. The Tokugawa regime was on the look-out for guns and women travelling in disguise; the daimyo (feudal lords) were forced to leave their wives and children in the capital of Edo as virtual hostages under a policy known as sankin-kotai.

    Across the Kiso River from the Fukushima Sekisho-ato is Kozenji Temple with an attractive rock garden. Kozenji Temple is free to enter and lovely especially in autumn.

    We spend the next 2 nights in Kiso Fukushima in a Japanese style rooms at a simple family-run ryokan.

    Ryokan Sarashinaya or similar

    Meals included: Breakfast Dinner
  • Day 12

    Walk a section of the ancient Nakasendo Way from Tsumago to Magome

    After an early breakfast, we travel by train to Nagiso in about 50 minutes. Upon arrival at Nagiso Station, we take a short ride on a local bus to Tsumago, a well-preserved post town.

    Tsumago was in its Golden Era during the time when merchants and other noble and prominent people frequently passed through for trade and other formal appointments. 

    From Tsumago we start the journey to Magome, one of the post towns that flourished in the Edo Period. The trail that runs from Tsumago to Magome is perhaps the most popular section of Nakasendo. This ancient trail can be completed in about 3 hours, including some quick breaks. After concluding the trail, ride a bus to Nakatsugawa, and then a train back to Kiso Fukushima in just over one hour.

    Ryokan Sarashinaya or similar

    Meals included: Breakfast Lunch Dinner
  • Day 13

    Train to Tokyo; free time to explore

    After breakfast we embark on our last scenic train journey to Tokyo in a little over 3 hours and 1 change along the way. If weather conditions permit we may catch a glimpse of Mt. Fuji on the way. We recommend to buy a bento on the way for lunch as the journey is about 3 hours. Your leader will be able to advise.

    After check in at our hotel you have a few hours to explore Tokyo before an optional farewell dinner.

    Hotel Dormy Inn Kodenmacho or similar

    Meals included: Breakfast
  • Day 14

    End Tokyo

    For land only clients, the trip ends this morning after breakfast. Those on the group flights back to London will be transferred by shared shuttle in the late afternoon/early evening (depending on flight schedule) in time to check in for their flight. Land only clients also have a free shared shuttle departure on the day the trip ends included to either Haneda or Narita airport. The free shared shuttle departure transfer must be requested in advance with Exodus before departure if you wish to utilise this service (all requests are subject to availability and must be confirmed before departure). It is not possible to request this service once a trip has commenced.

    Meals included: Breakfast
Trip Notes

Click on the button below for detailed Trip Notes containing all the particulars about this trip, including kit lists and practical information.

Note: these can vary by departure; you can check out the specific Trip Notes for your chosen adventure on the dates & prices page.

Essential Info



There are no specific health risks.

Eating and Drinking

All breakfasts, 6 lunches and 9 dinners are included. 

Japanese cuisine is usually one of the main highlights of any trip to Japan. It is based on rice with miso soup and other dishes which are usually prepared with seasonal ingredients. Seafood is very common, and it usually comes grilled or deep fried. Sushi and sashimi aside, other staple dishes include Soba or Udon noodles, Sukiyaki (meat, fish and vegetables cooked in broth) and Yakiniku (grilled meat).

The included breakfasts at the traditional guesthouses/ryokans/inns are likely to be Japanese style.

The included lunches will mostly consist of bento boxes enjoyed during the walks or in some instances may be taken in small eateries where available.

The included dinners are usually taken at ryokans (traditional guesthouses) which may include a kaiseki style dinner, a multi-course meal including a dozen of tiny dishes prepared with locally-sourced seasonal ingredients. When food is not included, your leader will always be on hand to recommend the best local eateries and arrange some group meals for a full immersion in Japan's varied and excellent cuisine. 

Please note that in Japan the availability of certain specialised products for restricted diets, e.g. gluten-free, strict vegetarian (no fish/seafood) or vegan is minimal or non-existent. However in Kyoto and Tokyo a number of vegan restaurants are available.  It may also be a good idea to bring with you some foodstuffs that you normally consume, or to supplement meals with snacks purchased in the local convenience stores.

Please advise us at time of booking you have any specific dietary requirements.


Japan has four very distinct seasons. Our aim has been to avoid the extremely cold winters and humid summers and settle for the more pleasant climes of spring and autumn. In Tokyo, September and October are warm, maximum temperatures are 26ºC and minimum 12ºC. September is likely to be the warmer of the two (particularly the first half of September can be quite warm) and there is a likelihood of rain. March is cooler with temperatures possibly going as low as 7ºC with a high of 17ºC. Kyoto is very similar climatically to Tokyo but the higher up into the mountains we venture, the colder it will become with nights being especially cold, particularly in March and October.

Is this trip for you?

The trip is rated Activity Level 3- Moderate

In total there are 8 days with walks/hikes during the trip. You will only be required to carry your daypack during the walks. Where necessary, all main luggage will be transferred to the next accommodation during the day so your main luggage will be safely waiting for you at our next location.

The walk durations vary from a relaxed 2 hour hike up to a couple days with hikes of 7-9 hours duration. Day 5, 6, and 8 will be the most challenging in terms of the walks due to the distances and some of the terrain having some long, steep ascents and descents. Therefore, a good level of fitness is essential to take part in this trip. On some walks there may be the possibility to take a local bus to the next stop on the trip for those wishing to cut some walks short, but this won't be possible on all walks.

The trails are generally very well marked and most of the walking is on good paths, soft soil trails and part paved roads. There are some unpaved sections though. This is not a traditional point to point walking trip, there are several days where transfers are taken by bus or local train to the start points of walks and/or from the end point of walks to the next accommodation.

We spend 8 out of 13 nights in traditional guesthouses/ryokans in Japanese style rooms to be fully immersed into the Japanese traditions and culture and to stay in more remote, less visited locations. These rooms in the guesthouses/ryokans will be twin share. Private bathrooms are not common in traditional Japanese guesthouses or Japanese style rooms, so these 8 nights will have shared bathrooms. Please see the accommodation section of the trip notes for more details.

Following a review of all our trips we have categorised this trip as generally not suitable for persons of reduced mobility. However if you are a regular traveller on such trips, please contact customer services to discuss the trip and your personal condition.

Call for general departures:
1 844 227 9087
Call for private group trips:
1 844 227 9087
Trip Notes

Click on the button below for detailed Trip Notes containing all the particulars about this trip, including kit lists and practical information.

Note: these can vary by departure; you can check out the specific Trip Notes for your chosen adventure on the dates & prices page.


Traditional Ryokans/Guesthouses and Hotels

During the trip you will spend 8 nights in traditional guesthouses/ryokans in Japanese style rooms (shared bathrooms) and 5 nights in comfortable hotels (en suite). 

For 8 nights during the trip we stay in ryokans; comfortable traditional inns where we are able to get a close feel for the timeless rhythms and customs of the Japanese countryside. Ryokans, whilst comfortable and full of local character, do not run along the same lines as western hotels and do all have their own unique style; some are more like Japanese B&B's with a homestay feel and guests make their own Japanese style beds up, whilst others are managed more like a standard hotel with bedding made up for guests. Rooms do not generally have private facilities and bedding is usually in the Japanese style with thick futon mattresses placed on tatami mats on the floor. Rooms are always doubles or twin-share but bathrooms and showers are generally communal. Please be advised, whilst females and males will be have access to seperate gender specific bathrooms, inside showering and bathing facilities can lack the level of privacy you would be used to in a western style shared bathroom. This is very common in Japan and by staying in mostly traditional ryokans, there is the chance to have a very authentic cultural experience throughout the tour.

On day 5 of the tour, the groups will stay in Nonaka-Chikatsuyu. Please note, due to the smaller sizes of accommodation in this area, bigger groups may be accommodated across two minshuku inns in a neighbouring village (5 minute drive). However, the group will still have meals together in one of the accommodations if bigger groups stay in two inns.

In Kyoto, Tanabe and Tokyo, groups will be accommodated in comfortable hotels (Western style) with rooms that have private bathrooms. 

Please be advised that the accommodation listed in each location of the day to day itinerary are the standard accommodations used. However, there may be some departures where groups stay at different accommodations of a similar standard.

Please be advised single supplements are very limited and only available 5 nights of the trip- (3 nights Kyoto, 1 night Katsuura and 1 night Tokyo). Please advise at time of booking you would like to request a single supplement (subject to availability). In Japan, often single supplements can be accommodated in either an actual single and/or double for sole use room in hotels.

Onsen (Japanese public bath)
For many visitors to Japan the onsen is a somewhat unfamiliar territory. An onsen is a Japanese hot spring and the bathing facilities and inns frequently situated around them. The combination of a strict bathing etiquette, that nudity is involved and compulsory, and that the water temperature is often hotter than most Jacuzzis can cause some reluctance for first timers. However, once the courage is mustered, you may discover that a dip in an onsen is likely to become one of the highlights of your visit to Japan. We will have the opportunity to try onsens on a few occasions throughout the trip. Please be aware you may be refused entry if you have large and visible tattoos. Some accommodations may have private baths available for reservation.

Call for general departures:
1 844 227 9087
Call for private group trips:
1 844 227 9087
Trip Notes

Click on the button below for detailed Trip Notes containing all the particulars about this trip, including kit lists and practical information.

Note: these can vary by departure; you can check out the specific Trip Notes for your chosen adventure on the dates & prices page.

Call for general departures:
1 844 227 9087
Call for private group trips:
1 844 227 9087
Trip Notes

Click on the button below for detailed Trip Notes containing all the particulars about this trip, including kit lists and practical information.

Note: these can vary by departure; you can check out the specific Trip Notes for your chosen adventure on the dates & prices page.

Expert Blog Entries

  • Reviewed October 2019
    Simon Lord

    Kumano Kodo: A fascinating insight in to Japan.

    This was an excellent trip that we thoroughly enjoyed, giving an insight into contrasting landscapes/areas of Japan and to its culture and food. After initial exploration in and around Kyoto, the four days on the Kumano Kodo trail were quite demanding (particularly because it was so hot on our departure) but we got a fascinating insight into one of the more rural areas, staying in traditional Japanese hotels. A good proportion of the trail itself was in trees with occasional viewpoints and shrines, it also passed through villages and rural settings. The trails are well made and on some days the walking was long, as set out in the trip notes. The traditional Japanese food we ate every day was elaborate and carefully prepared – a bowl of sticky rice and an array of up to around 10 other small dishes of food for each person – at each meal, including breakfast; lunches were bento boxes. There was much fresh seafood by the sea. Travelling on the efficient Japanese public transport was interesting and enjoyable as it is indeed very punctual, but also uncrowded and generally very comfortable. The last couple of days in Tokyo were different again – a short time to get an impression, but as we are not really city people, this was fine.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    The end of the Kumano Koda trail after four days of hard walking, with a fantastic temple and views to a high waterfall. We also enjoyed the pearl museum and learning about the Ama divers.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Hide, our leader, ensured the trip ran well which was no small feat give the numerous buses, trains and overnight stays that were required to complete our journey.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    We went in early September and it was very hot (often over 30 degrees, a hang-over from the hot summer), and the walking was at the upper end of the moderate scale (give the heat). We found sticks important, particularly as the trail could be mossy and slippy after rain. Bring a swimming costume also – there’s opportunity for swimming in the sea as well as useful for the outdoor hot spring.

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    A fascinating insight in to Japan.

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