Kumano Kodo

Hiking ancient paths in traditional Japan

You'll love walking through japan.

There is a Japan that exists far away from the modern era, where you can walk a 1000-year-old trail past ancient shrines, through thick forests and with endless mountain vistas.

At the end of each day, soak in an onsen hot bath while you relive the day’s experiences and await a multi-course feast of delicious Japanese cuisine.

Experience traditional hospitality and marvel at grand shrines amidst awe-inspiring nature. This is a Japan that will surprise and delight you at every turn, so be prepared to rethink your beliefs about this intriguing country.

The Kumano Kodo is a journey through Buddhist history and offers a window into traditional Japan that contrasts strongly with its hypermodern cities. The Kumano Kodo’s rugged, forested mountains, quiet rural valleys, rivers and waterfalls provide a spectacular backdrop for hikers.

The seasonal contrasts of cherry blossom in the spring and rich autumn foliage inject wonderful colour along the hiking route. Hiking the Kumano Kodo really is a great immersion into Japanese culture.



Authentic Japanese lodgings

Accommodation along the Kumano Kodo is in small-scale ryokans and guesthouses, giving you an intimate and authentic encounter with Japanese culture. The food is superb and each day you can unwind in a hot onsen after your exertions on the trail.


Local support & the best information

We have our own exclusive guidebook for the Kumano Kodo trail, plus our passionate office team walk this route each year and can provide up-to-date local knowledge and insights. We have local support in Japan to ensure that everything goes to plan, provide back-up if you need it, and luggage transfers during the walk.


Flexible trips tailored to you

We listen to what you want and tailor the walking on the Kumano Kodo to your ability and timeframes, giving you the experience you want, not what's easiest for us! We can vary the length of trail stages and find you unique Japanese accommodation that best suits your needs and desires.


Rugged walking & historic temples

This is a land of spectacular rugged mountains and forests, a world away from Japan's hectic and hypermodern cities. The ancient 1200 year old trail of the Kumano Kodo is an immersion into traditional rural Japan with the goal of reaching the Kumano Sanzen, three beautiful temples in the mountains and coast.

RAW Travel is Australia's most experienced Kumano Kodo Operator, helping over 4,500 people since 2013


What will your Kumano Kodo Walking adventure bring you?

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Everything was well organised. All the information we needed. Food and accommodations wonderful and our luggage miraculously showed up every day at our new location. A 10/10 to RAW Travel. Would definitely recommend to anyone, especially if you’re traveling to and trekking in a new land.

Jeanne Carette Reynolds (USA)
May 2019

What an amazing experience. Thank you RAW Travel for coordinating and facilitating our itinerary. The attention to detail – from the documented trip summary through to the maps and bus timetables and including the one on one tour orientation provided. We would highly recommend and use Raw Travel again.

John and Antonella Mihalinac (VIC)
April 2019

The Kumano Kodo walk was sensational! It was tough at times but the experience was worth it. Beautiful scenery and fauna. Loved the shrines along the way. At our accommodation, our Japanese hosts could not do enough for us.

Suzanne Aidone (VIC)
May 2019

The entire trip was amazing! The team at RAW Travel coordinated everything perfectly – from the pre-hike briefing, to the accommodation, to the meals. It was a memorable trip, and we are already looking into our next walking holiday!

Blair Lucas (VIC)
April 2019

Excellent. Everything went perfectly. Guest houses were wonderful and the whole experience was exceptional. Food, accommodation and baggage transfers were all spot on.

Michelle Joiner (VIC)
March 2019

We loved the scenery within the forests, out to the mountains and the spiritual centres along the way. Also, we loved the challenge of the walk itself, and the interesting people we met over the days of hiking.

Helen Overmyer (NSW)
May 2019

We wanted a unique experience and that’s exactly what we got. Our itinerary was thorough and well thought out. We loved the local food and staying in the guest houses. The hike itself was challenging but beautiful with varied terrain. We are sold on RAW Travel and will be going on other RAW Travel tours in the future.

Melissa Nip (Hawaii)
April 2019


View our exclusive, detailed destination guide for RAW Travel's Kumano Kodo trips. 

Exploring Kumano Kodo, Japan.

Click on the dot points below to explore and learn more about the region.

Old stone trails

Follow the original stone pathways as you weave through the mountainous Kii Peninsula on Japan's ancient Kumano Kodo pilgrimage route. You'll be walking on sections of the original 1000-year-old-trail and following in the footsteps of former Emperors and countless pilgrims.

Yunomine Onsen

For centuries pilgrims have purified themselves after hiking the Kumano Kodo, and you can do the same in the numerous hot spring baths in this mountain village. This ancient onsen site built right on top of a steaming river is the perfect place to relieve sore muscles after your day's walk.

Kumano Hongu Taisha

An impressive long staircase leads to the sacred grounds of this grand shrine, located on a ridge and surrounded by giant cedar and cypress trees. The shrine located in the town of Kumano Hongu is constructed entirely of natural materials, representing the core belief in the sacred and restorative power of nature.

Kumano Nachi Taisha

This atmospheric temple complex at the finish of the Kumano Kodo route also boasts the tallest waterfall in Japan. The striking red Pagodas and mountainous backdrop provides breathtaking views and a fitting climax to your Kumano walk.


This small seaside city sits at the mouth of the Kumano river and boasts one of the three sacred temples of the Kumano Sanzan. There are shrines in the city and on the hillside and you can discover the city's fascinating history and culture on foot or bicycle.

Please note that August - September is also the peak of Typhoon season in Japan with a potential risk of disruption to travel plans during these events.

Why are we your Kumano Kodo experts?

  • RAW Travel has sent more people to the Kumano Kodo than any other operator and we have a dedicated team who deal with just the Kumano Kodo and Nakasendo hiking trails.
  • We have great knowledge and experience of the Kumano Kodo and our staff travel out each year to update their first-hand knowledge.
  • We also have own Japanese staff on the ground to smooth the way and help with any difficulties you may encounter.
  • Preparation is key to enjoying this walk – we run free Kumano Kodo information nights and training walks to help our clients prepare properly.