Kumano Kodo Japan Self-Guided Trek

Kumano Kodō Japan Self-Guided Trek

  • Overview
  • Map & Itinerary
  • Essential Info
  • Pics & Vids
  • Dates & Prices


  • Experience one of Japan’s most remote and rewarding journeys, the ‘Kumano Old Road’
  • Trek this sacred pilgrimage trail once reserved for Emperors and Samurai
  • Marvel at Nachi Falls, Japan’s highest single-drop waterfall 
  • Visit all three of Kumano’s grand shrines: Hongū Grand Shrine, Nachi Grand Shrine, and Hayatama Grand Shrine
  • Savor homemade meals made daily with fresh, local ingredients
  • Experience shinrinyoku, (forest bathing) and unwind in soothing onsen hot springs
  • Earn credentials to receive Dual Pilgrim status with the Camino de Santiago.


The Kumano Kodō, the ‘Kumano Old Road’, encompasses a network of ancient pilgrimage paths that crisscross the diverse landscapes of Japan’s Kii Peninsula. These sacred routes, with a history spanning over a millennium, have been traversed by individuals from every stratum of society – from peasants and craftsmen to nobles and emperors – symbolising a journey accessible to all in pursuit of spiritual fulfilment. The trails stretch across majestic mountain ranges and meander through verdant valleys, peppered with serene villages and vibrant spa towns renowned for their healing hot springs. 

This ancient pilgrimage is made up of several trails, including the Nakahechi, Kiiji, Iseji, Kohechi, and Ohechi. Our 6-day self-guided trek, delves into the heart of this spiritual journey via the classic Nakahechi trail, culminating at the majestic Nachi Grand Shrine through the Ōgumotorigoe Pass. As you journey from village to village, the Kii Mountains unfold around you, believed to be a sacred location that serves as the home of the gods. Engage in shinrinyoku, (forest bathing), and feel the serenity of the deep, forested walks and otherworldly landscapes softly blanketed in fog. Along the way, relish the stunning mountain views, taste the region’s exceptional cuisine, unwind in soothing onsen hot springs, and and visit all three of the Grand Shrines of Kumano.

You’ll be supported by our team in Kyōto, our local Chikatsuyu office, and by our bespoke turn-by-turn walking instructions and topographical maps to guide you on your way. If you’ve trekked the Camino de Santiago, take advantage of the opportunity to achieve Dual Pilgrim status on our Kumano Kodō trek, or use this experience towards earning credentials on your future Camino de Santiago pilgrimage.

If you wish to extend your self-guided trip, you can combine this pilgrimage journey with the historic Nakasendo Trail (3-day, 4-day or 5-day) trek connecting Kyoto and Edo-period Tokyo. 

Day 1

Arrive in Kyoto or Osaka Japan
Your adventure begins in Kyoto or Osaka, the choice is your’s in which city you would like to start your pilgrimage journey.

Kyoto – once the capital of Japan, is now considered the cultural capital of this island nation. Surrounded by rich natural beauty, Kyoto is a city with a unique repertoire of compelling culture that has been refined over the past 1,200 years. Many aspects of Japanese culture originate from Kyoto and are deeply rooted in the lives of residents to this day. 

Osaka – Japan’s third-largest city and in many ways it’s the soul of Japan. While Tokyo is polished and pricey, Osaka is laid back, down-to-earth yet a spirited city.

The closest airport to both Kyoto and Osaka is Osaka International Airport (also called Itami Airport). Though please note, Osaka is not an international airport as it’s name suggests. It serves as a Domestic Airport. Both ANA and JAL operate regular flights from Tokyo’s Narita and Haneda airports to Osaka Airport. Flights from Narita take 1 hour and 20 minutes and flights from Haneda take 1 hour and 10 minutes. 

Dependent on your flight time, you may have the chance to explore Kyoto or Osaka. You will overnight in either of these cities.

Accommodation: One night’s stay. Our hotels are 3*- 4* and either local or Japanese western style hotels. We don’t work with large multinational chains. 
Meals: Not included

Day 2

Trek from Takijiri to Takahara
You will receive your tickets to take the train to the mystical Kii Peninsula via Osaka. Your train will hug the coastline until you reach the small town of Kii-Tanabe. The journey from Osaka takes about two and a half hours, while from Kyoto it’s around three hours, including a train change at Shin-Osaka station.

Upon arrival, a 40-minute local bus ride (payable locally) from Kii-Tanabe station takes you to Takijiri, the starting point of your trek along the Nakahechi route of the Kumano Kodo. Expect a two-hour ascent to the ridge-top village of Takahara.

You’ll spend the night in a quaint Japanese-style hotel in Takahara or a traditional Minshuku in Kurisugawa. Both offer delicious home-cooked dinners with local seasonal ingredients and feature rooms with breathtaking views of the valley and mountains.

Trekking details
Walking distance: 4.5 km / 2.8 miles
Elevation gain: 370 m / 1,200 ft of ascent 
Time required: Approx. 2 hours

Train: Train tickets from Kyoto or Osaka to Kii-Tanabe
Accommodation: Japanese-style hotel in Takahara or a traditional Minshuku in Kurisugawa (please note, there is limited accommodation in Takahara)
Meals: Dinner

Day 3

Trek from Takahara to Chikatsuyu
Following a Japanese breakfast, depart from your inn and journey along a trail that meanders through quaint settlements and serene countryside. The Nakaheji has been established as one of Japan’s National Historic Roads. Along the way, you’ll encounter several oji shrines before making your way downhill to the village of Chikatsuyu. The paths are well-marked, with flagstones in certain sections to facilitate an easier climb. You’ll arrive in Chikatsuyu with time to unwind before enjoying dinner at a family-run guesthouse.

Trekking details
Walking distance: 10 km / 6.5 miles
Elevation gain: 480 m / 1,575 ft of ascent and 520 m / 1,700 ft of descent
Time required: Approx. 4 – 5 hours

Accommodation: Family run guesthouse
Meals: Breakfast & dinner

Day 4

Trek from Chikatsuyu and Nonaka to Hongu
A tougher trek today, but well worth the effort. From Chikatsuyu and Nonaka, the trail ascends up through the mountains to Mikoshi-touge (pass). Take a bus (payable locally) and then it’s a gentle trek from Hosshinmon-oji to the Hongu Grand Shrine, one of the revered Grand Shrines of Kumano. Nestled in the heart of these sacred mountains, Kumano is traditionally viewed as the gateway to Yomi, the ‘other world’ of spirits in Japanese mythology. After visiting the shrine, a brief bus ride leads you to either Yunomine Onsen or Kawayu Onsen. Yunomine is among Japan’s oldest hot spring villages, while Kawayu is renowned for its thermal waters that bubble up into the clear river. Cap off your day with a soothing soak in a traditional Japanese bath, followed by a sumptuous multi-course dinner.

We provide two shorter trek options: a 7-hour (15 km / 9 mi) walk or a 2-hour (7 km / 4 mi) stroll, both utilising a local bus from Chikatsuyu to reduce the walking distance. Feel free to select your preferred route on the day itself – there’s no need to decide in advance! Buses paid locally.

Trekking details
Walking distance: 24 km / 14.9 miles
Elevation gain: 820 m / 2,700 ft of ascent and 1,140 m / 3,740 ft of descent
Time required: Approx. 8 – 9 hours

Accommodation: Onsen ryokan (hot spring inn)
Meals: Breakfast & dinner

Day 5

Further trekking along the Nakahechi trail
Before you leave the village where you spent the night, take some time to explore its charming atmosphere. Today, you have two hiking choices: ascend the Kogumotorigoe path towards Koguchi, or explore another trail near Hongu, boasting spectacular valley views. The first option starts with a brief bus ride (payable locally) to Ukegawa by the Kumano River. From there, you will climb towards the Kogumotorigoe Pass and then descend to the secluded village of Koguchi. This trail is manageable and typically takes about 4 hours.

If you wish to stay a second night near Hongu, we offer a variety of excellent hiking trails up to 6 hours long, with the longest ones generally walkable entirely on foot. Available durations range from 1 to 6 hours (13 km / 8 mi) for those staying in the Hongu area.

Trekking details
Walking distance: 12 km / 7.4 miles
Elevation gain: 520 m / 1,705 ft of ascent and 500 m / 1,640 ft of descent
Time required: Approx. 4 hours

Accommodation: Minshuku (family-run guesthouse) or ryokan (traditional Japanese inn)
Meals: Breakfast & dinner

Day 6

Trek from Koguchi to Mount Nachi
The concluding segment of your journey leads from Koguchi to the Ogumotorigoe Pass, where you can catch a glimpse of the Pacific Ocean before descending to Mount Nachi. This revered site is home to both the Nachi Grand Shrine—one of the three Grand Shrines of Kumano—and the spectacular Nachi Falls. Choose to spend the night in the quaint village near the shrine on Mount Nachi or opt for a 20-minute local bus ride to the coastal town of Kii-Katsuura, which boasts stunning views of the bay dotted with islands. Enjoy a locally prepared dinner and breakfast at your accommodation.

Trekking details
Walking distance: 15.1 km / 9.3 miles
Elevation gain: 980 m / 3,215 ft of ascent and 920 m / 3,020 ft of descent
Time required: Approx. 6 – 7 hours

Accommodation: Minshuku (family-run guesthouse) or onsen hotel (hot spring hotel)
Meals: Breakfast & dinner

Day 7

Kii-Katsuura and onwards by train to Osaka or Kyoto
Kii-Katsuura, a bustling fishing port, offers an engaging early-morning fish market and captivating views over a bay dotted with islands. Take time to wander through the intriguing backstreets and traditional covered shopping arcade. You also have the option to visit Hayatama Shrine, one of the grand Kumano Shrines. We arrange for your train tickets for a midday departure that takes you around the Kii Peninsula, arriving in Osaka or Kyoto by mid to late afternoon.

Train: Train tickets Osaka or Kyoto
Accommodation: One night’s stay. Our hotels are 3*- 4* and either local or Japanese western style hotels. We don’t work with large multinational chains. 
Meals: Breakfast only

Day 8

Discover Osaka or Kyoto prior to your onward travel
Depending on your travel plans, spend some time exploring Osaka or Kyoto. You have the option to either organise your return flight home, extend your stay in Japan or add on the Nakasendō Trail Self Guided Trek (3-day, 4-day or 5-day route options available). 

Meals: Breakfast only

Why go

At Adventurous Ewe, we carefully consider sustainability aspects in the selection of new destinations. We are delighted to report that nature is deeply embedded in the lives of the Japanese people, and thus, ecotourism presents an exceptional opportunity to discover both Japanese culture and landscapes. Japan has now established its own Sustainable Tourism Standards for Destinations accredited by the GSTC, demonstrating the country’s commitment to guiding destinations through implementing sustainable tourism practices. For these reasons, we have compiled some new adventures to this forward-thinking country.

In developing our new self-guided treks, we have consciously avoided directing more tourists to areas already impacted by overtourism. Specifically, our routes do not include Fujikawaguchiko, a location grappling with the effects of overcrowding and disruptive tourist behavior at a renowned photography spot overlooking Mount Fuji. In response to these challenges, local authorities plan to erect a large black barrier to obscure the view of the iconic mountain, aiming to mitigate the adverse effects of excessive tourist visits. Consequently, this decision not only protects the environment but also preserves the quality of the visitor experience for future generations.

We develop and host sustainable adventures to help support local communities and give you the chance to have a more meaningful travel experience. This trek to rural areas of Japan has been created in line with our Travelife Partner award in sustainable tourism. 

Why go Self-Guided

Discover the country at your own pace with our detailed maps and walking instructions. Everything else – from rail tickets to accommodations – are all organised by us, so you can focus on relaxing and enjoying excellent local home-cooked meals and world class hospitality. The route is waymarked (in English and Japanese) and we provide detailed route notes and topographic maps so you should have no problem following the trail.

You get to choose the day of the week to start your adventure, within our specified periods of when best to travel, allowing you to take advantage of low-cost flights or make the most of your precious leave by arranging travel around a Bank Holiday or weekend. You can start on any day of the week, subject to availability, between April and October.

Travelling independently gives you the freedom to go at your own pace. If you fancy a lie-in, have one! It’s your holiday. With no group times to stick to you can take the day as you like, whether that’s indulging in a leisurely breakfast or speeding ahead to settle in your accommodation and explore each destination to the full.

With self-guided you choose who you travel with, whether that’s your partner, your family or a group of friends. You let us know who would like to go with, and we’ll arrange the rest.

The best thing about a self-guided trip is that you get to see places you might otherwise miss. Stop at a temple you might have passed by, linger in a courtyard and savour your drink, peruse local markets or chat with the locals.

Exploring independently allows you the opportunity to indulge in all the local delicacies the area has to offer, allowing you to find the best sushi and sashimi, find some freshly cultivated sansai (mountain vegetables) or sample some micro-brewed sake.

Relax in the knowledge that we have made all your arrangements for you. From your starting point to your departure we have it covered. We handpick your accommodation, transport your bags each day and provide you with all the route details and information you need to have a fantastic trekking journey. And don’t forget, a self-guided adventure doesn’t mean you’re all on your own. The local team is only a phone call away to offer a helping hand, should you need it.

Pre-trip info

On booking your Kumano Kodō Japan Self-Guided Trek, you’ll receive all the exciting trip info via our free mobile travel app.

You’ll have access to your itinerary, trip countdown, live updates, contact info, weather forecasts, know before you go trip info, kit lists and much more at the touch of a button 24 hours a day via your mobile phone. No more unnecessary use of reams of paper to benefit the environment and the need of carrying around documents with you. A’ppy days.


Pre-trip support

With being a small family business we pride ourselves with providing personal, professional and friendly service. We appreciate that everyone has different levels of experience and reasons for wishing to embark on The Kumano Kodō Japan Self-Guided Trek and therefore require varying levels of support and guidance.

We’re here to help you every step of the way from the moment you join the flock all the way through to completing the challenge and beyond. Jim and Sue’s knowledge and expertise stems from dozens of years of travelling and exploring the destinations that we visit in order to fully support you in the lead up to your adventure. We’re here to help you with any questions, no matter how big or small, and it’s not often that you’re able to speak directly with the owners of the business who have so much passion for travelling in Japan.



We recommend you book your flights to arrive and depart from either Tokyo’s Narita or Haneda Airports. Your self-guided trek begins in either Kyoto or Osaka. The closest airport to both Kyoto and Osaka is Osaka International Airport (also called Itami Airport). Though please note, Osaka is not an international airport as it’s name suggests. It serves as a Domestic Airport. Both ANA and JAL operate regular flights from Tokyo’s Narita and Haneda airports to Osaka Airport. Flights from Narita take 1 hour and 20 minutes and flights from Haneda take 1 hour and 10 minutes. 

You’re welcome to book your flights directly with the airline or you can use our Flight Agent who is ATOL & ABTA and pay their direct cost (there is no mark up on these flights from Adventurous Ewe). Flights are not included in your package to give you the flexibility to travel from your nearest airport, use your frequent flyer points or extend your stay in Japan if you wish. 

Please make sure you have confirmed, round-trip air tickets to Japan. Most airlines will require you to have either a return ticket, or a ticket to an onward destination following your stay in Japan. They may deny you boarding if you only have a one-way ticket.

Please DO NOT book your flights before you have received your booking confirmation and your deposit has been taken.


All nationalities require a full passport that must be valid for the length of your stay in Japan.

British citizens: for the most up to date info, please visit the Foreign & Commonwealth Office website
Australian citizens: for the most up to date info, please visit Smart Traveller Japan.

Please note, you must carry your passport (or Japanese residency card) with you at all times whilst in Japan.


British citizens, you can travel to Japan for tourism or business for up to 90 days. You will get a visa in your passport on arrival, and you do not need to apply before you travel. The Japanese immigration authorities may extend your visa by another 90 days at their discretion. You will need to apply for an extension.

Australians are eligible for Japan’s visa exemption scheme for short-stay tourism and business travel. You don’t need a visa to travel to Japan for up to 90 days. Entry and exit conditions can change at short notice. It is your responsibility to verify visa requirements from the nearest embassy or consulate of Japan.

We recommend that you check with the nearest embassy or consulate of your chosen destination(s), including any countries you may be transiting or transferring through.

Some local governments provide guidance on what visas their citizens need. To help, we’ve gathered a selection of useful links below.

Travel insurance

Travel Insurance is an important part of any booking. It is compulsory that everyone who travels with us has taken out adequate travel insurance which includes, among other things, cover for the full value of your trip, medical (emergency, evacuation and repatriation) arrangements, activities undertaken, personal liability, cancellation, curtailment and loss of luggage and personal effects, flight delays and pandemic travel cover.

For UK residents we have partnered with Campbell & Irvine Direct to provide you with a travel insurance. If you would like to obtain cover for your trip please feel free to contact specialist Insurance Brokers, Campbell Irvine Direct for a quote.

You must send your Travel Insurance emergency contact details to Adventurous Ewe prior to departure.



There are no required vaccinations. However, recommended vaccinations include hepatitis B, tetanus, Japanese encephalitis, rabies (bat lyssavirus) and tick-borne encephalitis. Please confirm with your doctor or travel clinic.


If you have a severe allergy please inform us at the time of booking. We will always do our best to help but we are unable to guarantee an allergy free environment on our AE trips. We advise that you always carry your own treatment for the allergy with you such as ‘adrenaline auto-injectors’ if required.  We also recommend that you discuss this with your accommodation on arrival so that they can better assist you.

Group size
We pride ourselves in small group travel to minimise the impact on the environment and to make your experience more authentic.
The minimum group size to run this self guided trek is 1 person and the maximum group size is 10 people.
You’re most welcome to join this trek as a group of family, friends or colleagues, a private group or as a solo traveller. You’re also welcome to use this trip as a fundraiser for the charity of your choice. If you would like to organise a private group trip with a local guide, please get in touch at info@adventurousewe.co.uk
For any further info or to chat about running a bespoke trip, we’d love to hear from you at info@adventurousewe.co.uk or call 01492 588 069.
Trip grading

This trip is graded as ‘Challenging’ and is slightly touger than the Nakasendō Trail. This trek involves several days of dedicated trail walking, with some days extending up to 8 hours or more, including substantial ascents and/or descents.

We recommend this trek for anyone who does regular walking or hiking, and is comfortable to walk for up to a full day with some ascending and descending.

If you do not exercise regularly, then you should undertake a program of walking to prepare and get the most out of your trip. Start by doing walks of three to five hours from about three to six months before your trip.


A Trek Training Programme will be provided when you join this trip to help you with your preparations. We also have exclusive offers with our Training Partners and Communities – Her Spirit and Strength & Movement Coast, Peter Lant. For more info, please visit our Training & Preparation page.

The more you are prepared, the more you will enjoy the challenge.

Our motto is: Train hard, smile harder and enjoy the journey!

Kit list & mobile phone info

A full kit list and tips will be provided when you book this trip. You will also receive exclusive discount codes to use in independent specialist outdoor retailers, both online and in store. As an overview, you’ll need:

  • Your self-guided route notes
  • Hiking boots with good grip soles
  • Functional base layer
  • T-shirts
  • Hat
  • Windproof jacket
  • Fleece / extra layer
  • Long/short hiking trousers (not jeans)
  • Hiking socks
  • Waterproof jacket with a hood
  • Waterproof Trousers
  • Rucksack (approx. 25 litres)
  • Small first aid kit for your rucksack
  • Sunscreen & lipbalm
  • Water bottle or hydration pack (Water-to-go bottle is ideal)
  • Camera (batteries/memory card)
  • Mobile phone (ensure your data package covers your destination)
  • Power bank and charging cords
  • Waterproof phone cover
  • Sun glasses
  • Personal wash kit
  • Reusable cloth bag for shopping to avoid the use of plastic bags
  • Tupperware for picnics
  • Trekking poles

Will my mobile phone work in Japan?
Smartphones such as iPhones and Android phones will work in Japan. Depending on your network provider, you will ‘roam’ with either NTT Docomo or Softbank on their 3G or 4G networks. If you have an older ‘2G’ phone, it will not work in Japan.

Please note that SIM cards are not available in Japan from the major carriers, but a growing number of companies offer SIM cards that will work with unlocked overseas phones, tablets, or ‘MiFi’ personal WiFi devices. Most are data only, and will enable the use of internet, but not voice – you can send and receive emails, browse the internet, or use Skype, but not make or receive regular voice calls. When bringing your phone from home using your SIM card from home, you will be ‘roaming’. This can be very expensive. Sometimes our clients prefer to rent phones in Japan to avoid the quite high roaming charges that this can incur.

It is possible to rent Japanese mobile phones and have them ready when you arrive, usually at Haneda, Narita, or Kansai Airports. Many will give you the telephone number before you leave home so you can tell friends and family your number.

The Japan National Tourist Organisation provides some useful information on renting phones in Japan at the following link:
Telephone and Postal Services in Japan

Narita Airport also has vending machines which offer SIM cards unlocked smartphones, particularly aimed at travellers to Japan.

Please note that phone reception on the trail is limited in some places, particularly in the mountainous regions.


Japan has four distinct seasons; weather and temperatures change with the seasons. March is the end of winter with daytime highs of around 15 degrees Celsius, but cold nights. There may be snow in the mountain villages. April is very pleasant, with daytime highs of around 15-20°C. Towards the end of May it can become quite hot at lower altitudes (up to about 30°C). The rainy season lasts from the middle of June through to mid-July. Mid-July to mid-September is very warm and very humid in most parts of Japan. You can expect daytime temperatures of about 15-20°C in October; days are often very pleasant and warm through into November. Short tropical cyclones can hit Japan between June and October.


2 nights in Kyoto or Osaka in a city-centre hotel before and after your trek and 5 nights at Japanese inns along The Kumano Kodō.

Staying in a traditional Japanese inn is a highlight of any journey in Japan. Many inns are in charming historic buildings, and all focus on providing a personal service.

All our Japanese treks feature a variety of wonderful accommodation, with an emphasis on smaller, family-run inns with superb local cuisine.

Single Rooms & Solo Walkers:

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

Types of accommodation in Japan:

Ryokan & Minshuku

The classic Japanese inn, Ryokan come in many styles, but are united by flawless service and exquisitely-prepared food. Ryokan may be in modern or traditional wooden buildings, but rooms are always Japanese style, with Tatami (straw mat) floors and futons for sleeping laid out in the evening by the Ryokan staff. Minshuku are similar to Ryokan but family-run and with less formal service. Rooms are more simply-furnished and guests typically lay out their own futons.

As with Ryokan, the meal at a Minshuku is the highlight of the stay. Many Minshuku owners grow their own vegetables; fish, meat and other ingredients are sourced fresh each day.

Both Ryokan and Minshuku provide cotton Yukata gowns you wear after check-in. Wear them, too, when eating dinner or going for a short stroll outside. Ryokan rooms sometimes have private bathrooms, but Minshuku offer toilet and bathing facilities ‘along the corridor’. Baths may be smaller rooms, used privately in turn by guests; or they may be larger communal bathing suites, one for men and one for women.

At Japanese inns on the trip, tatami-mat rooms are culturally less intimate spaces than western bedrooms and Japanese guests travelling in a group are accustomed to sharing. On our small-group guided tours, we follow this Japanese custom and will ask solo travellers to share a tatami-mat room with another group member of the same gender.

Ryokan and Minshuku Etiquette


When you arrive, step inside the Genkan street-level entrance area. Call out ‘gomenkudasai’ to attract attention if necessary. Remove your shoes and step up onto the raised interior floor, without touching the Genkan floor with your stocking feet. Leave your shoes in the Genkan area.

Slippers are normally available near the entrance for your use. Your hosts may ask you to write in the register or hand over your passport so they can take your details. The Ryokan owner or staff member will show you to your room and explain the time and place for meals, the location and hours of the bathing area.

As you enter your room, remove your slippers before stepping onto the Tatami matting. You should only tread on the Tatami mats in socks or bare feet. The slippers can be worn anywhere else inside the inn, except the toilets. Many inns provide special outdoor Geta clogs if you want to go outside without putting your shoes back on.

In your room you will usually find a small table with a tea set, a hot water flask and a welcome sweet. Look in the closets for your Yukata cotton robe and an Obi sash to tie it. You will usually find a small, white towel for washing and bathing. You may also find a small toothbrush and toothpaste kit.

Put on your yukata over your underwear. You can wear the yukata anywhere inside the Ryokan, including the dining area; it is also acceptable to wear the yukata outside. Wrap the left side of the Yukata over the right side. Most guests like to bathe before dinner – some like to bathe both before and after! If your room has a private bathroom, you will find shampoo and liquid soap, but do not take these to the communal baths as they will be supplied there too. Do take your small white towel to the communal bathing area.


Ryokan have communal bathing areas, segregated by gender, with large baths and showers. Ryokan near thermal water sources have natural hot-spring baths called Onsen. There may be both indoor and outdoor baths. Even if your room has its own private bath, it is well worth trying the larger communal facilities.

Smaller Ryokan and Minshuku may offer bathing only in the evening and they will tell you the times when you arrive. Japanese guests traditionally bathe in the evening and communal baths or showers may not be available in the morning.

The bathing area will normally have Noren curtains over the entrance – red for women, blue for men. Inside you will find the changing area, with shelves and baskets for your clothing. Remove your clothes, place them in the basket and keep with you just your small white hand towel. If you have a larger bath towel too, leave it in the basket as it will get wet if taken into the bathing area. It is acceptable for men to take a razor for shaving into the washing area.

Proceed to the bathing area. Smaller inns may have a bath large enough for only a few people, or a small domestic tub used privately in turn by guests. Larger Onsen inns may have baths which can accommodate 25, 50 or more people. Take a small stool and bucket and find a free space in front of the taps and showers. Sit on the stool and use your white hand towel to wash yourself, using the supplied shampoo and liquid soap.

Once you have scrubbed yourself thoroughly, rinse all the soap from your body before entering the bath tub – you will be very unpopular with your fellow bathers if you make the water soapy! Leave your hand towel on the side of the bath or nearby, but do not immerse in the bath water. If you are bathing privately, do not drain the bath following your soak.

Many Japanese wash, soak, then wash again. It is fine to take your time soaking, relaxing and chatting to your neighbours.


Japanese hotels have western-style rooms with beds; some may have Japanese-style Tatami rooms also. They have the same amenities as those in other countries, although room sizes are generally smaller. Hotels in Japan generally offer twin rooms; double rooms are less common and sometimes smaller than twin rooms.

Food & drinks

5 x Breakfasts & 5 x Dinners included.

Japanese cuisine is the highlight of many people’s visit to Japan and this is especially the case on The Kumano Kodō. 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.

Water is drinkable from the taps on this trip. Please fill your personal bottles for your day in the morning. We do not encourage the purchasing of single use plastic bottles.

If you are vegetarian please be advised that, outside of the cities, it is hard to guarantee that dishes are 100% vegetarian. Most Japanese dishes involve miso, dashi or soy sauce, all of which contain fish and vegetarianism is not a concept that is widely understood.

Water-to-Go bottle

Adventurous Ewe has partnered with Water-to-Go, a filtration system that eliminates over 99.99% of all microbiological contaminants from any non-salt water source – for more info please click here. Adventurous Ewe trekkers will receive a free Water-to-Go bottle when departing on The Kumano Kodō Self-Guided Trek, and better still, 15% of the purchase value for replacement filters will be donated to our environmental charity partner, Cool Earth. Please note that if the water freezes it will clog up the filter – in this event, defrost before use by sitting the filter in lukewarm water for 10-15 minutes. Please help us reduce the volume of single use plastic in this pristine environment.

Payment info

Deposit: £275 per person on booking and non-refundable
Balance: £2220 per person is due no later than 60 days prior to the trip start date.
Total cost: £2495 per person

Monthly payment plan
A monthly payment plan can be arranged for this trip. Please contact us for more information or to set up your plan. Simply email info@adventurousewe.co.uk or call 01492 588 069.

Book & Travel with Confidence
As well as carefully crafting amazing and meaningful adventures across the planet, we’ve made booking them as flexible, safe and as simple as possible. 

For the latest info regarding booking and travelling with Adventurous Ewe, please refer to our Booking Conditions.

You’re welcome to fundraise for a charity of your choice if you wish to do so. All sponsorship monies are to be sent directly to your chosen charity.

Departure & Return Duration Availability Deposit Total Cost* (*Total cost includes the deposit)
Jul 20, 2024
Jul 27, 2024
8 Days Available £275.00 £2495.00 Book Now
Aug 10, 2024
Aug 17, 2024
8 Days Available £275.00 £2495.00 Book Now
Sep 21, 2024
Sep 28, 2024
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Oct 19, 2024
Oct 26, 2024
8 Days Available £275.00 £2495.00 Book Now
Mar 22, 2025
Mar 29, 2025
8 Days Available £275.00 £2495.00 Book Now
Apr 12, 2025
Apr 19, 2025
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May 24, 2025
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Oct 04, 2025
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What's Included?

  • Personalised trip support in the lead up to your trek from Adventurous Ewe
  • Trek training guide
  • Discount on personal kit from independent outdoor retailers both in shop and online
  • Trip info supplied via our free mobile travel app
  • Public liability insurance
  • Financial Protection for your booking
  • Monthly payment plan available
  • Risk assessment and emergency management planning
  • Free Adventurous Ewe Water-to-Go Bottle
  • Topographical maps
  • Detailed day-by-day itinerary and walking directions
  • Navigation app
  • Local support by telephone
  • 2 nights at city-centre hotel in Kyōto or Ōsaka
  • 5 nights at Japanese inns along the Kumano Kodō trail
  • 5 breakfasts and 5 dinners
  • Round-trip train tickets from Kyōto or Ōsaka
  • Our Preparing for your trip and Travelling in Japan guidebooks.

What's Not Included?

  • Travel insurance (mandatory)
  • Visa – if required – British citizens refer to Japan Entry Requirements
  • Return flights to Kyōto or Ōsaka, Japan. These can be arranged for you at an additional cost through our Flight Agent who is ATOL protected
  • Airport transfers 
  • Drinks and meals not included in itinerary
  • Daily luggage transfer, we provide details on how this can be easily arranged
  • Local buses on day 3, 5 & 7 should be paid locally (around ¥2500, £18 or $28)
  • Single room supplement(s) for solo occupancy
  • Personal spending money 
  • Kit and equipment as listed on your kit list and medication
  • Services not mentioned in the itinerary
  • Expenditure of personal nature
  • Any associated costs with leaving the trek early.

If you wish to extend your stay in Japan or wish to organise a local guide, we can help you with plenty of recommendations of things to do and see. For more information, please contact us at info@adventurousewe.co.uk.


Adventurous Ewe is committed to delivering our trips in a responsible and ethical manner with sustainability at its core. We respect and aim to operate our adventures to benefit local people, their economy and the environment! As such we have attained the Travelife Partner level award which recognises the long-term efforts of Adventurous Ewe regarding sustainability and Corporate Social Responsibility.

This means that Adventurous Ewe complies with more than 100 criteria, related to an operator’s office management, product range, international business partners and customer information. The Travelife Partner level standard is covering the ISO 26000 Corporate Social Responsibility themes, including environment, biodiversity, human rights, and labour relation. Travelife is the leading international sustainability certification for the travel sector. More than 35 national travel associations are promoting the scheme to their members including, SMAL, APAVT, UHPA, ANVR, ABTA, PATA and more.

Some of the ethical features embedded in our Kumano Kodō Japan Self-Guided Trek are:

  • We have a local branch in the village of Chikatsuyu. The branch office is a lovely traditional wooden building on the route of the Kumano Kodo Trail as it passes through Chikatsuyu.
  • Building meaningful connections with people. We want to foster genuine interaction between local populations and visitors – staying in family-run inns, meeting craftspeople and artists, and experiencing the unique, everyday qualities of each particular destination.
  • We aim to ensure the long-term sustainability of natural resources, culture and society, treating them with respect and fairness. Wherever possible we choose smaller lodgings owned and run by local people.
  • Food and carbon footprint. Our accommodation suppliers value locally-produced food, which has a lower carbon footprint and further encourages economic activity in the community.
  • Travelling by train from Kyoto or Osaka to the small town of Kii-Tanabe on the Kii Peninsula, gateway to the historic Kumano Kodo Trail.
  • Minimising plastic waste wherever possible.
  • Offering real life experiences which promote cross-cultural understanding.
  • Operating with a ‘leave no trace’ ethos – take only memories, leave only footprints.
  • To help eliminate our single use plastic footprint in Japan, we provide a free Water-to-Go bottle to all trekkers on departure.
  • Adventurous Ewe will make a financial contribution to the environmental charity, Cool Earth, as part of our business partnership.

Together, we can all make a difference in helping preserve this precious and wonderful planet.

Asia & Australasia
8 days & 7 nights
Cost From
Trip Notes