Kumano Kodo In Depth with Mike Rhodes (Guided, Group)
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Click on the dot points below to explore and learn more about the region.
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.
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.
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.
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.
View our exclusive, detailed destination guide for RAW Travel's Kumano Kodo trips.