The best time to trek the Kumano Kodo really depends on what sort of weather you like to trek in and what sort of scenery you would like to see along the trail. The Kumano Kodo trail can be walked year round but the weather does vary quite dramatically depending on when you choose to go. August–September is the peak of the typhoon season in Japan and there is a potential risk of disruption to travel plans during these events.
March and April are both spring months and extremely popular months to visit as it is cherry blossom season in Japan. Being a natural phenomena and occurring for only fairly short period of time, it is difficult to put exact dates to when the blossoms will occur. Looking at historical averages for Kyoto, the first blooms tend to occur sometime between 20 and 25 March and full bloom is generally expected between 1 and 5 April. In saying that, if you are travelling around the Kii-Peninsula and will be visiting towns with slightly different weather patterns, you will generally have a chance of catching the blossoms at least in some of the towns anytime between mid-March to mid-April. March and April are some of the most popular months to visit the region and we recommend booking well in advance to secure accommodation.
October and November are also popular months to visit as it is autumn and the colours throughout the forest are stunning. The Kii-Peninsula area is fairly mild year round and autumn colours appear slightly later than in many other parts of Japan. The first yellows will generally start arriving at the start of October but if you wanted to see the colours in full swing, we would recommend visiting from late October through to November. This time is very popular and we now have as many people trekking during this time as we do in spring. In spring and autumn you can expect daytime temperatures of around 10-15C.
May and September are also lovely months to visit with warmer and longer days – daytime temperatures range between 18-24C. June / July / August is summer so you can expect more humidity and higher rainfall but on the other hand, scenery is beautifully green and verdant. August–September is the peak of the typhoon season in Japan and there is a potential risk of disruption to travel plans during these events. During summer you can expect up to 25-30C in temperature.
December / January / February is winter and there is a small chance of snow on the Nakahechi route. Trails are open year round but due to the cool weather and reduced hours of daylight we recommend this time of year for experienced trekkers only. Most accommodations close between Christmas and mid-January.
The Kii-Peninsula is a wet region and you should be prepared for some rain year round and bring adequate rain gear.
The information below gives you some details about average rainfall, temperatures as well as sunrise and sunset times along the Nakahechi route of the Kumano Kodo.