The Kii Peninsula points south away from Kyoto and Osaka and is one of the most remote and mystical areas of Japan, despite its proximity to these great cities. On the Kii Peninsula are the three Grand Shrines of Kumano, pilgrimage destinations for successive emperors and their families from Kyoto since the 11th century. There were several pilgrimage trails including the Nakahechi-do, Kohechi-do and Ohechi-do, collectively known as the Kumano Kodo ('Old Road of Kumano'). Our walk focuses on both the Nakahechi-do and Kohechi-do, weaving through forested mountains and small villages first towards the Grand Shrine of Hongu and then onwards to the mountain-top temple complex of Mount Koya.
Our self-guided Kumano to Koya tour begins with an early-morning train journey from Osaka or Kyoto. If you are coming from further afield, or prefer a more leisurely start, we recommend adding an overnight stay near the start of the trail in the picturesque hot-spring village of Yunomine Onsen or nearby Kawayu Onsen.>
Adult (age 12+)|
|Duration :||4 nights 5 Days|
|Tour Start :||Kyoto or Osaka|
|Tour End :||Kyoto or Osaka|
|Walking days :||5 days|
|Departure Date :||Daily (All Year)|
|Download :||PDF Itinerary|
(Meals : D)
Hike from Yagio to Totsukawa Onsen
Walking distance : 8.8km
Elevation gain : 985m of ascent and 935m of descent
Time required : About 4-5 hours
From Osaka or Kyoto, head south by train to Kii-Tanabe and onwards by bus to Hongu Taisha Grand Shrine, spiritual centre of the Kii Peninsula and the start of the Kohechi trail. Take a short pre-booked and pre-paid taxi ride to Yagio where your walk on this ancient route begins. Follow a wonderful forested trail over Hatenashi-toge Pass with excellent valley views, fascinating cultural monuments (including a miniature Kannon statue pilgrimage) and picturesque villages. A brief bus ride avoids a short final stretch on a busier road at the very end of the walk. Finish the day with a relaxing thermal bath at your inn for tonight in Totsukawa Onsen.
Hotel : Totsukawa Onsen
(Meals : B/L/D)
Hike from Nishinaka to Miuraguchi
Walking distance : 11km
Elevation gain : 855m of ascent and 755m of descent
Time required : About 5 hours
Heading onwards from Totsukawa Onsen to Nishinaka by local bus, the section of the Kohechi trail to Miuraguchi offers some of the best views of the Kumano valley over the Miura-toge Pass and continues to the scenic, peaceful village of Miuraguchi or 'Gateway to Miura' where you stay tonight in an intimate Minshuku family-run guesthouse on a small farm.
Hotel : Miuraguchi
(Meals : B/L/D)
Hike from Miuraguchi to Nosegawa Onsen
Walking distance : 13.7km
Elevation gain : 1,150m of ascent and 850m of descent
Time required : About 6-7 hours
After breakfast you leave Miuraguchi. The trail continues north along one of the most rural and challenging hikes in the Kumano region over the Obako-toge Pass to another scenic rural village called Omata. The hot-spring village of Nosegawa Onsen is your destination for tonight and is a short scenic riverside walk onwards from Omata. Your inn will pick you up from Omata if you prefer not to walk the last section to Nosegawa Onsen.
Hotel : Nosegawa Onsen
(Meals : B/L/D)
Hike from Nosegawa Onsen to Mount Koya
Walking distance : 7.3km from Nosegawa Onsen to Mount Koya (with an optional additional paved section of 9.2km)
Elevation gain : 325m of ascent and 465m of descent
Time required : About 3 hours (6-7 hours including the optional additional section)
Leave Nosegawa Onsen this morning and begin todays hike from the boundary between Nosegawa and Koya - it is also possible to walk the full distance from Nosegawa Onsen if you prefer a longer hike with some strenuous paved sections. On the final leg of the Kohechi trail to Mount Koya there are magical valley views as you traverse the peak Mizu-ga-mine. Arriving at the mountain-top temple town at the end of the walk delivers a great sense of achievement. Spiritual Mount Koya is a fitting reward for completing the pilgrimage route.
Hotel : Mount Koya
(Meals : B)
Hike on the Choishi-michi trail, then travel to Osaka or Kyoto
Walking distance : 15.5km
Elevation gain : 1,225m of ascent and 650m of descent
Time required : About 5 hours of optional walking
On your final day, you have chance to explore more of Mount Koya, visiting the atmospheric Okunoin cemetery with thousands of graves and memorials to feudal lords and other past luminaries, and other monuments. Or undertake our optional, challenging hike on the Choishi Michi trail, the atmospheric original approach to Mount Koya lined with stone markers. Finally board the scenic Nankai railway line towards Osaka and Kyoto.
Hotel : N/A
|Day||City||Hotel Name||Hotel Type|
|1||Totsukawa Onsen||Kosenkaku Yoshinoya Ryokan||Onsen Ryokan (Hot-spring Travellers Inn)|
|2||Miuraguchi||Minshuku Mandokoro||Minshuku (Family-run Guesthouse)|
|3||Nosegawa Onsen||Onsen Hotel Nosegawa||Onsen Ryokan (Hot-spring Travellers Inn)|
|4||Mount Koya||Saizenin Shukubo||Shukubo|