Discover the beauty of Japan your own way with a self-guided walking trip! Choose from a selection of our trips along the historic trails of Japan ( Nakasendo, Kumano Kodo or Shikoku 88 Pilgrimage). Use our maps and detailed instructions, and stay at comfortable Japanese-style inns with excellent local home-cooked food. Leave all the preparations to us - just enjoy a side of Japan that few visitors do!
Our self-guided walks are not technically difficult and are mostly on village paths and forested trails - no alpine treks! - but as with any walk in the countryside thorough preparation is very important. Don't hesitate to ask, we will be happy to answer your questions.
If you want to visit Japan but cannot book a scheduled guided trips because of the dates, or you just prefer to walk without a group, then our self-guided walks may be for you. We offer three carefully-created itineraries, for walking routes that we know intimately. Walking by yourself in rural Japan is not for everyone; you will need a degree of self-reliance and you need to be able to use a map, but it could be one of the most rewarding trips you ever take.
Even though little English is spoken outside of the big cities, you will have wonderful memories of staying at small country inns with your hosts, and seeing Japan at your own pace. Trails are generally very well-maintained and well-signposted. Our itineraries are designed to combine great walking with sightseeing and to show you more of Japan than you might otherwise get to see. We understand few people will visit Japan solely to walk, but walking is an excellent way to see more of Japan.
We will be happy to discuss customising these trips to your plans, by adding extra walking days or giving you easier options. Our standard trips include days before the walk in cities like Tokyo and Kyoto with a day of private guiding, a Japan Rail Pass or local train tickets to get you to your walking route, and all your accommodation and most meals.
In feudal times people travelling between Kyoto and Tokyo would use the Nakasendo way – the road through the central mountains – a network of ancient highways.
We offer tours with 3, 4 and 5 days of walking village to village along the Nakasendo Trail, the old route linking Kyoto with Tokyo inland through the mountains. Walking is mainly gentle and passes through rural scenery and villages, including the exquisitely-preserved settlements of Magome and Tsumago.
Visit the exquisitely-preserved villages of Magome, Tsumago and Narai over 3 days of walking in the picturesque Kiso Valley
Walking over 4 days in the picturesque Kiso Valley with overnight stays in Tsumago, Kiso-Fukushima and Narai
Village to village walking on the loveliest parts of the old Nakasendo Trail, before visiting Matsumoto with it's historic castle and onward to picturesque Karuizawa
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. Long a place of pilgrimage, the Kii Peninsula is the site of the three Grand Shrines of Kumano (Kumano Sanzan).
-Our Kumano to Koya self-guided tour offers 5 days of walking village to village along another wonderful section of the pilgrimage route leading from Kumano Hongu Taisha Shine to the spiritual Mount Koya, from south to north.
Both trail passes through dramatic scenery, village-to-village walking along rural forest trails, passing to important historic shrines and temples.
Walk along the wonderful Nakahechi route of the Kumano Kodo Trail ending at Hayatama Shrine.
Experience the Nakahechi route walking from Takijiri to Nachi waterfall, visiting the Grand Shrines at Hongu and Nachi along the way
Travel along the full Nakahechi route on the enchanting Kumano Kodo pilgrimage trail, experience Grand Shrines at Hongu and Nachi and bathe in the thermal waters at a hot-spring Ryokan
Hike the challenging Kohechi route of the ancient Kumano Kodo trail, from Hongu Taisha Grand Shrine to Mount Koya, enjoying wonderful views over valleys and mountains each day.
Experience a full Kumano Kodo pilgrimage experience to Mount Koya, walking along the Nakahechi and Kohechi routes, ending with an authentic stay at a Shukubo pilgrims lodging on Mount Koya
The full Kumano Kodo pilgrimage experience to Mount Koya. See the Grand Shrines at Hongu and Nachi while walking the full Nakahechi and Kohechi route, with wonderful views over the valleys, mountains and the Pacific Ocean
Shikoku is Japan's fourth-largest island, home to some of the country's most spectacular and undeveloped scenery. The island is also the setting for an ancient walking trail, the challenging Shikoku 88 Pilgrimage. The trail connects 88 Buddhist temples and the full walk covers more than a thousand kilometres.
We have selected the best walks and the best accommodation, including Shukubo pilgrims lodgings and fine inns in appealing cities such as Tokushima and Dogo Onsen.
Abundant nature, and varied temples with walks on sections of the ancient 88 Temple Pilgrimage in Ehime Prefecture in Shikoku
The trail towards enlightenment
Walk on the best parts of the Shikoku 88 Temple Pilgrimage trail in Tokushima and Kagawa, enjoying wonderful views over cedar forests and rural villages
Walks parts of the Shikoku 88 Temple Pilgrimage trail in Tokushima, Kagawa and Ehime, spending nights in Shukubo temple lodging with days of up to 8 hours of hiking
Walk on the loveliest parts of the Shikoku 88 Temple Pilgrimage trail in Tokushima, Kagawa and Ehime, spending nights in Shukubo temple lodgings and the natural baths of Dogo Onsen
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