Last chance availability on popular trips: Browse here


Kumano Kodo Trail (Walk only)

6 Days & 5 Nights 4.7 Read 41 reviews
  • Follow in the footsteps of Japan’s Imperial family on the Kumano Kodo Trail
  • Walk through stunning rural scenery - Japan as it once was
  • Relax in an outdoor bath at Yunomine Onsen
  • Explore the Grand Shrine at Hongu
  • Sumptuous evening meals beautifully presented in traditional minshuku
Walk the 11th century Kumano Kodo pilgrim’s trail through rural Japan to the three grand shrines of Kumano, staying overnight in traditional Japanese minshuku and ryokan. Perfect if you are making your own arrangements as part of a longer trip to Japan. Following part of the Nakahechi route (one of five pilgrimage routes leading to the Grand Shrine), you will experience five wonderful days of walking along village paths and forested mountain trails. Discover mountain-top villages, soothing hot springs and sacred temples before finishing at Nachi shrine on the coast. Each night stay in small minshuku or ryokan and enjoy impeccable service, beautiful rooms and delicious food to finish off your day.
Perfect if you are planning a longer trip to Japan but like the idea of including some walking whilst you are there. The walking is moderate but does involve some days with fairly steep ascents and descents although the longer walking days can be shortened. Overnight accommodation is in very traditional minshuku and ryokan where you will sleep on futons giving you a taste of truly authentic Japan!

Tour Type:

Pilgrimages | For those looking to follow a path of self-discovery. Our Pilgrimage and Camino routes take you on a journey through diverse landscapes and local flavours, while meeting like-minded adventurers along the way.


Inn to Inn Walking | Walk from place-to-place changing accommodations each night. Generally staying in B&B’s, inns, and guesthouses.

This trip is suitable for:

Solo Travellers

Activity Level & Terrain

The walk is graded moderate but it does involve some days with fairly steep ascents and descents.The terrain can also be quite tricky underfoot as wet tree roots can be quite slippy at times.  The longer walking days can be shortened if you want to cut down the distance. On most days you will be walking between 2 and 6 hours although there is one longer day of up to 8.5 hours so you should be an experienced walker to get the most from this trip.


The route is partly way marked (in English and Japanese) and we provide detailed route notes and topographic maps so you should have no problem following the trail.


In Kyoto and Osaka, we use carefully selected 3 or 4* western-style hotels. We use local family-run accommodations on the walking section. They are generally simply furnished and less formal, but have excellent food and wonderful personal service.

Solo Walkers & Single Rooms

This trip is available to solo walkers and a limited number of single rooms are available, although a single/solo supplement is payable.


Japanese cuisine is the highlight of many people’s visit to Japan and this is especially the case on the Kumano Kodo Trail. Your trip includes all breakfasts and 5 evening meals whilst on the trail.

Most meals will be Japanese cuisine, though breakfast in western-style hotels usually includes more familiar choices.

Dinner and breakfast in ryokan and minshuku are set meals, usually with a whole succession of different dishes which will delight you. Alcoholic and soft drinks are not included with meals. Tipping is not customary at hotels and restaurants in Japan.

  • 5 Nights minshuku (guest house) accommodation on the Kumano Kodo trail.
  • 5 Breakfasts
  • 5 evening meals
  • Train tickets from/to Kyoto or Osaka
  • Detailed information pack with local travel information, route notes and maps.
  • Telephone support from our local, English speaking, area manager.
  • International flights and travel to Kyoto/from Osaka
  • Drinks with meals
  • Lunches
  • Local buses on day 3, 5 & 6 should be paid locally (around ¥2500, £18 or $28)
  • Baggage forwarding is not included, though we provide instructions for how this can be easily arranged locally or you can pre-book as an optional extra
  • Travel insurance
  • Additional nights on the trail or in Kyoto, Tokyo or Osaka (prices on request for Kyoto and Osaka)
  • Daily Luggage Transfers (Takijiri to Nachi-San)

When To Go

This trip is available year-round but we recommend April to November. The region may experience occasional snow from December to March. It can also get quite hot and sticky in July and August. 

Accommodations are busy and may charge extra during the following Japanese holiday periods: New Year (29 December - 04 January), Golden Week (29 April - 05 May), and O-bon (09-17 August).

The inns get extremely busy for the months of April and May as this is peak cherry blossom season, so please be aware that bookings during this time may require a change of itinerary or accommodation. There is very limited accommodation in Takahara so if the inn there is full you will stay in Tanabe (where you usually take the train to on Day 3) on the first night and complete the first two sections of the walk on Day 4 to Chikatsuyu.

Getting to the Start

By Air:

The best airport to arrive at is Osaka Kansai Airport (KIX), which has flights from international destinations. You can also fly into Tokyo Narita (NRT) and take an internal flight or the shinkansen (bullet train) to Kyoto (3h30).

The West Japan Rail Company operates services between Kansai Airport and Osaka/Kyoto. The Airport Express HARUKA (Kansai Airport Line) takes approx 75 mins to Kyoto. 

Getting from the End

By Air:

Train tickets are included on Day 6 from the trail to Osaka city centre. You can then fly out  Osaka Kansai Airport (KIX), which has flights to many international destinations. You can also fly out of Tokyo Narita (NRT) and take an internal flight or the shinkansen (bullet train) from Osaka (3h30).

The West Japan Rail Company operates services between Kansai Airport and Osaka. The Airport Express HARUKA (Kansai Airport Line) takes approx 75 mins to Kyoto.

Luggage Transfer

Luggage transfer is not included during your walk as standard and you have a couple of options here. The first option is to arrange luggage transfers by a service called Takkyubin which is a courier service in Japan and can only be booked in Japan. This is cheap, reliable and costs approx £12 per day. With this service, your bags will not be moved each day but instead will be waiting for you at your accommodation a couple of nights later. On the Kumano Kodo tour, we recommend forwarding your luggage from Kyoto (or wherever you are staying before the walk) to Yunomine Onsen. You then carry overnight essentials for your nights in Takahara and Chikatsuyu. You then forward your luggage from Yunomine Onsen to wherever you are staying after the walk; you carry your overnight essentials for your nights in Koguchi and Nachi. Our information pack has full details on how to use this service, which is really easy. Your accommodation during the walk provides robes to wear in the evening and shoes are not worn inside, so you only need your hiking gear and can travel very light.

The other option is to arrange a daily baggage transfer service if you prefer to access your bag every night and this can be booked in advance through ourselves. Daily Luggage Transfer offers clients the option of bringing luggage by train and bus to the trail and then having it transferred from inn to inn on a daily basis. However, as it can be quite difficult to navigate public transport with luggage, we recommend Takkubin as the most convenient method. On the Kumano Kodo, this service is available from Takijiri through to Nachi-San. You will need to carry your bags with you on the last day.

General Information

The distances and ascent/descents are approximations of the recommended routes. Please be prepared by packing all necessary items, for example, proper rain gear (jacket and pants), sun hat, sunscreen. Your information pack has a detailed equipment list which includes standard walking gear such as good walking boots or shoes, warm and waterproof cloths, and lightweight clothing for summer.

Latest Travel Advice on Japan (2022 and 2023 Season)

For the most up-to-date information visit: 

Dietary and Allergies on the Kumano Kodo

Japanese Inns prepare their meals in-house and take great pride in their cuisine which showcases the best seasonal and local produce it has to offer! This means that dietary requests such as gluten-free and strict vegetarian and vegan are difficult to cater to. Gluten-free is still poorly understood in some parts of Japan, and the base ingredients of Japanese cuisine contain a large amount of gluten or fish. Whilst, in some cases you think it's easy for them just to make you vegetables and rice but this is not the case! The inns may be family-run and simply cannot make alternate meals due to resources at hand or more commonly that the meals and hot spring baths are the largest attraction to staying at an inn for domestic Japanese travellers and the innkeeper's sense of pride will cause them to simply decline these requests fearing the customer will be unsatisfied.

Interestingly, on the Kumano Kodo itself, there are many young families or those simply fed-up with the rat race in the larger cities who have decided to move to regional Japan. You may find that these residents have set up local businesses such as Japanese inns, cafes, and coffee roasters. These residents are more progressive in attitudes and many have opened a vegan cafe, or are willing to substitute the fish stock for mushroom or seaweed stock at their inns.  

Getting around

Your package includes train tickets from/to Kyoto or Osaka to the start of the walk and from the end of the walk back to Osaka or Kyoto. The public transport system in Japan is world class and your pre-departure information pack and itinerary has detailed information on tickets, trains and how to use public transport easily and what trains/buses to take from Kyoto/Osaka to Kii-Tanabe at the start of the walk.

Our specialist Laura travelled to Japan in 2014 and you can read her experience of using public transport, on the blog.


Please check your visa requirements with the foreign office or the embassy in your country of residence before travelling to Japan.

British nationals wishing to visit Japan for three months or less for business, tourism or family purposes etc (but not to work for a local employer) may do so without a visa. You must have a valid passport and an onward/return ticket. Please visit for up to date information.


Your information pack has a detailed equipment list which includes standard walking gear such as good walking boots or shoes, lightweight clothes, waterproofs and a day pack.

Travel Insurance

It is a requirement of booking this tour with Macs Adventure that you have suitable travel insurance which covers you for the activity and emergency evacuation and hospital care.

How far in advance do I need to book?
How fit do I need to be?
Which is the best airport to fly to?
Can you accommodate specific dietary requirements?
Do I need to speak Japanese?
What personal equipment do I need?
When is the best time of year?
Baggage Transfers


Day 1 Takijiri Oji to Takahara 2.5 miles / 4.5 km Day 2 Takahara to Chikatsuyu 6 miles / 10 km Day 3 Chikatsuyu to Yunomine 15 miles / 24 km Day 4 Free Day in Yunomine Day 5 Transfer to Koguchi, walk to Nachi-san 9 miles / 15 km Day 6 Transfer to Osaka

The Macs Way

  • Tried & Tested Adventures Tried & Tested Adventures
  • Freedom Freedom
  • Book with Confidence Book with Confidence
  • Expertise Expertise
  • Positive Impact Positive Impact
Built with our expert knowledge, to suit you.
  • Knowledgeable and helpful specialist trip planners
  • Wide variety of tours to suit all interests and experience levels
  • Start on any date that suits you
  • Choose your ideal trip length and difficulty
  • Range of accommodation comfort levels
  • Choice of trip styles
Authentic adventure travel experiences on your own terms
  • Choose your own travel companions
  • Walk, cycle and explore at your own pace
  • Make your own decisions
  • Choose your own path
  • Indulge your passions
Feel secure in making the right choice for your precious adventure time
  • 18,000+ unbiased trip & service reviews
  • Feefo Platinum Award 2023
  • 25,000+ travelers trust us each year
  • As featured in the Guardian, Times, Nat Geo Traveler
  • Founder owned & operated since 2003
  • 100+ passionate team members across the US, UK & Europe
You can be confident that every detail of your journey has been expertly planned
  • Carefully planned adventures
  • Quality, hand-picked accommodations
  • Seamless and reliable arrangements
  • Comprehensive trip information & insider tips
  • Detailed maps, route notes and mobile GPS app
  • Helpful 24/7 support should you need it
Travel the right way and make a positive impact
  • Travel responsibly
  • Explore off the beaten track
  • Support locally owned businesses
  • Engage with local communities
  • Minimize your impact
  • Maximize the benefit of your travel
  • Challenge yourself & grow

Blog Articles

You May Also Like

  • Classic Routes
    Type Classic Routes
    5 Days 4 Nights
    Nakasendo Trail (Walk Only)
    Walk the Nakasendo Trail, part of a network of ancient highways linking Kyoto and Tokyo.
    • Walk on an ancient highway, the Nakasendo Trail.
    • Beautifully preserved post towns.
    • Stay in traditional ryokan and minshuku.
    From $1,825.00
  • Pilgrimages
    Type Pilgrimages
    5 Days 4 Nights
    Shikoku Pilgrimage Trail Walk Only
    Walk the highlights of the ancient 88 Temple pilgrimage trail on the island of Shikoku
    • Follow trails between ancient Buddhist temples
    • Stay in Ryokan guesthouses and a Shukubo temple
    • Enjoy beautifully presented Japanese cuisine
    From $1,605.00
  • Slower Adventures
    Type Slower Adventures
    5 Days 4 Nights
    Ancient Capitals: Nara & Asuka
    Visit the historic capitals of culturally rich Nara and rural Asuka on a 5 day extension
    • The terraced ricefields of small village Asuka
    • Walk a pretty forested trail to Tanzan Shrine
    • Explore Todaiji temple in Nara, a 16m tall buddha
    From $1,765.00
$ - USD - US Dollar
Country/Region name: