Kumano Kodo trail walking holiday in Japan

“A week of self-guided or guided walking along the Nakahechi route, one of the six historic Kumano Kodo trails. Overnights in traditional ryokan accommodation after average daily distances of 15km. ”


Imperial Nakahechi route | Hongu Taisha shrine | Kii Mountains | Rest day in Hongu | Kogumotori-goe path | Ogumotori-goe path | Seiganto-ji Temple | Nachi waterfall | Overnights in traditional family-run ryokan |

Description of Kumano Kodo trail walking holiday in Japan

This week of walking in Japan takes travellers on a trip through time as they follow one of the ancient Kumano Kodo trails as it leads inland from the seaside city of Kii-Tanabe to the Kumano Nachi Taisha Shinto shrine that sits in front of the tallest waterfall in Japan, the Nachi Falls.

Making your way on the Nakahechi route, the most well-trodden of the six historic Kumano Kudo trails, you’ll follow in the footsteps of pilgrims and imperial dynasties past as you navigate forest covered mountain foothills en route to small family-run ryokans.

These traditional lodgings are absolutely unforgettable and a great reminder of the great sense of peace and wellbeing that one can experience on this type of trip both on and off the trail. A soak in a naturally warm thermal bath – an onsen – is always a great way to alleviate any aches.

Throughout the trip all meals will be included and your luggage will be transferred whilst you walk so you can concentrate on soaking up the sights rather than lugging a heavy backpack. Groups (maximum of 15 people) will be accompanied by two local walking guides whereas self-guided walkers will benefit from maps, route notes and emergency contact details.

This really is a pilgrimage to purify the mind, body and all the senses.

Travel Team

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Departure information

This trip can be tailor made throughout the year to suit your requirements

Responsible tourism

As the pioneers of responsible tourism, we screen every trip so you can travel knowing your holiday will help support conservation and local people.

Minimal impact walking: We lead by example and encourage others to follow. We believe that we are doing our job well when our customers leave a tour having had a fabulous, fun-filled holiday but also come away with a broader appreciation of and respect for the natural environment. Ideally, they come to walk and leave as ambassadors for the environment. We stay on formed tracks, avoid trampling vegetation, insist that all rubbish is carried out, and pick up rubbish left by others. Group sizes on self-guided trips are usually only two. On group-guided trips, the maximum size is 15 but there are two guides so we can split into smaller parties, limiting our impact.

We encourage people to only take photos of plants and animals, they must look after the environment wherever possible. We plan our walks to utilize toilets wherever possible and if not available, we provide clear instructions on burying waste and carrying out any sanitary items. We view wildlife from a distance and never feed native animals. We do not light fires in the woods and we do not allow people to smoke on walks. Our motto is “Leave nothing but footprints, take nothing but photos and a piece of someone else’s rubbish”.

We raise money for conservation projects within Japan by asking our walkers to donate 10cent per km walked on our booking form and we match their donation. These funds are used to assist with conservation on various projects.

We have Advanced Eco Tourism certification. We have led the conversation in regard to the environment and tourism for nearly 30 years now.

Our contribution ranges from encouraging people to catch public transport such as trains and buses in Japan. This contributes to reducing carbon emissions whilst in Japan.

We as Ecotourism operators are also encouraged to become actively involved with conservation organisations and the other groups that look after the tracks. We support local adventures that help create a better environment in the National Parks, so as we can preserve and protect our natural environment and the wildlife that exists within it.

We regularly donate money and trips to various charities, like the Epworth Hospital, the drought relief fund and the Prime Ministers 1000 steps. We raise money for charities by organising walks for indigenous education and breast cancer.

Our office is environmentally-friendly with double glazing, solar panels, evaporative cooling and green power. We adopt a reduce, reuse then recycle policy wherever possible.

The Impacts of this Trip

On our trips, we stay in comfortable local accommodation properties with lots of character. Each one has been personally selected by the owners. It could be a small family run ryokan or minshuku in attractive locations.

Occasionally, remote locations mean that the only accommodation available is simple in nature and may include shared facilities, but the ones we select have character and ambience that more than compensates for star ratings.

The beauty of this walk is that we use small family-run authentic Japanese accommodation in the most past. Each night you'll get to don a Yakata (something similar to a formal dressing gown) and eat a traditional 10 plus course meal. Most accommodations have onsens and if they don't there's a public one virtually at your doorstep. The local people are very friendly and we can guarantee that you will have a genuine immersive Japanese experience. By travelling this way we also get to support regional Japan's economy and the people that live there. Regional Japan has for many years faced a slow decline in population as people move to the city for work. Tourism is increasingly becoming a valuable part of regional Japan's economy.


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