Self-Guided Walk Tour of Japan

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!

Self-Guided Walk Tour of Japan

What to expect

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.

What is self-guided walking?

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.

Standard on All Tours

Comfortable family-run inns,

Detailed walking instructions and trail maps (Self-guided Walking Pack below),

Personalised itinerary,

Personal help and advice.

  • Nakasendo Trail

    Nakasendo Trail

    From AUD1,325 | 3-10 Days

    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...

  • Kumano Kodo

    Kumano Kodo Pilgrimage

    From AUD1,315 | 4-11 Days

    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...

  • Shikoku 88 Pilgrimage

    Shikoku 88 Pilgrimage

    From AUD1,575 | 4-10 Days

    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...

Nakasendo Trail

Nakasendo Trail

What is Nakasendo Trail?

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.

We also offer a 10-day version of the trip with city stays in Kyoto and Tokyo and one day of private guiding with your own personal guide for a wonderfully intimate view of the city

Tour Route

Nakasendo Trail

Tour List (4)

  • Nakasendo Trail

    Nakasendo Trail 3 Days

    From Kyoto/Tokyo to Kyoto/Tokyo

    Trip level
    Active
    Walking distance
    32.9km
    Night
    2
    Meal
    4
    Price (AUD)
    1,325
    View Tour
  • Nakasendo Trail

    Nakasendo Trail 4 Days

    From Kyoto/Tokyo to Kyoto/Tokyo

    Trip level
    Active
    Walking distance
    35.4km
    Night
    3
    Meal
    6
    Price (AUD)
    1,540
    View Tour
  • Nakasendo Trail

    Nakasendo Trail 5 Days

    From Kyoto/Tokyo to Kyoto/Tokyo

    Trip level
    Active
    Walking distance
    52.1km
    Night
    4
    Meal
    8
    Price (AUD)
    1,875
    View Tour
  • Nakasendo Trail

    Nakasendo Trail 10 Days

    From Kyoto to Kyoto/Tokyo

    Trip level
    Active
    Walking distance
    52.1km
    Night
    9
    Meal
    13
    Price (AUD)
    3,750
    View Tour

Kumano Kodo Pilgrimage

Kumano Kodo

What is Kumano Kodo Pilgrimage?

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 Kodo self-guided tours offer 4, 5 or 6 days walking village to village along the old pilgrimage route heading west to east along the Kii-peninsula.

-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.

-Our Kumano Kodo Complete self-guided tours, taking in both the Nakahechi and Kohechi trails, with lengths of 9 or 11 days.

Both trail passes through dramatic scenery, village-to-village walking along rural forest trails, passing to important historic shrines and temples.

Tour Route

Kumano Kodo

Tour List (6)

  • Kumano Kodo

    Kumano Kodo Pilgrimage 4 Days

    From Kyoto/Osaka to Kyoto/Osaka

    Trip level
    Active
    Walking distance
    21.5km
    Night
    3
    Meal
    6
    Price (AUD)
    1,315
    View Tour
  • Kumano Kodo

    Kumano Kodo Pilgrimage 5 Days

    From Kyoto/Osaka to Kyoto/Osaka

    Trip level
    Strenuous
    Walking distance
    53.6km
    Night
    4
    Meal
    8
    Price (AUD)
    1,590
    View Tour
  • Kumano Kodo

    Kumano Kodo Pilgrimage 6 Days

    From Kyoto/Osaka to Kyoto/Osaka

    Trip level
    Strenuous
    Walking distance
    66.0km
    Night
    5
    Meal
    10
    Price (AUD)
    1,725
    View Tour
  • Kumano Kodo

    Kumano Kodo to Koya 5 Days

    From Kyoto/Osaka to Kyoto/Osaka

    Trip level
    Strenuous
    Walking distance
    56.3km
    Night
    4
    Meal
    12
    Price (AUD)
    1,565
    View Tour
  • Kumano Kodo

    Kumano Kodo Complete Walk 9 Days

    From Kyoto/Osaka to Kyoto/Osaka

    Trip level
    Strenuous
    Walking distance
    103km
    Night
    8
    Meal
    20
    Price (AUD)
    2,440
    View Tour
  • Kumano Kodo

    Kumano Kodo Complete Walk 11 Days

    From Kyoto/Osaka to Kyoto/Osaka

    Trip level
    Challenging
    Walking distance
    131km
    Night
    10
    Meal
    24
    Price (AUD)
    2,940
    View Tour

Shikoku 88 Pilgrimage

Shikoku 88 Pilgrimage

What is Shikoku 88 Pilgrimage?

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.

Tour Route

Shikoku 88 Pilgrimage

Tour List (5)

  • Shikoku 88 Pilgrimage

    Shikoku 88 Pilgrimage 4 Days

    From Kyoto/Osaka to Kyoto/Osaka

    Trip level
    Active
    Walking distance
    31.8km
    Night
    3
    Meal
    6
    Price (AUD)
    1,575
    View Tour
  • Shikoku 88 Pilgrimage

    Shikoku 88 Pilgrimage 5 Days

    From Kyoto/Osaka to Kyoto/Osaka

    Trip level
    Challenging
    Walking distance
    49.9km
    Night
    4
    Meal
    8
    Price (AUD)
    1,725
    View Tour
  • Shikoku 88 Pilgrimage

    Shikoku 88 Pilgrimage 6 Days

    From Kyoto/Osaka to Kyoto/Osaka

    Trip level
    Strenuous
    Walking distance
    49.4km
    Night
    5
    Meal
    10
    Price (AUD)
    1,875
    View Tour
  • Shikoku 88 Pilgrimage

    Shikoku 88 Pilgrimage 8 Days

    From Kyoto/Osaka to Kyoto/Osaka

    Trip level
    Challenging
    Walking distance
    84.1km
    Night
    7
    Meal
    14
    Price (AUD)
    2,625
    View Tour
  • Shikoku 88 Pilgrimage

    Shikoku 88 Pilgrimage 10 Days

    From Kyoto/Osaka to Kyoto/Osaka

    Trip level
    Strenuous
    Walking distance
    83.6km
    Night
    9
    Meal
    18
    Price (AUD)
    2,875
    View Tour
Japan Snow Package 2019
Japan Snow Package - Odessey Japan
Self-Guided Tour
Fully Escorted Tours
Sado Island Walking Tour
Kanazawa Winter Stays
Japan Rail Pass (JR Pass)
Iori Machiya Stay
Travel Sim Card for Japan
  • Hours
    Mon-Fri 10:00 - 18:00
    Sat : 12:00 - 16:00
    Sun, Public Holiday : close
  • Address
    c/o Books Kinokuniya,
    Level 2 The Galeries,
    500 George Street, Sydney,
    New South Wales, Australia, 2000
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Planning your trip

Helpful information to help you plan your visit