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Kumano Kodo

Hiking ancient paths in traditional Japan

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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.

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Local support & the best information

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 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.

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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.

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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.

Experts in hiking in Japan

A 1200-year-old ancient path of Temples, mountains, villages & forest

The organisation for the trip was superb: instructions for each day, where we were staying, the handbook, maps. It was impossible to get lost or miss a connection.

Dace Ozols (QLD)
May 2018

I undertook this trip with my daughter and we found it very easy to navigate our way. We had a great 4 days of hiking on the Kumano Kodo. Highly recommend this trip and so pleased we did it. Thank you RAW Travel for ensuring everything went smoothly for us.

Sandra Bowmer (NSW)
April 2018

We loved the beautiful and varied scenery, the flowers, the accommodation, especially the first night, the company and people we met along the way.

Josephine Redmond (NSW)
March 2018

RAW Travel made this a wonderful experience: everything was very organised; the food exceptional. We as a group were very happy – 10 people and not one complaint!

Catherine Robertson (NSW)
May 2018

The Kumano Kodo was certainly a physical challenge but gave a wonderful insight into the Japanese culture, hospitality, food and wilderness. I am proud to have completed the walk and become a Dual Pilgrim.

Ellen Macmanus (VIC)
May 2018

A challenging walk among stunning scenery in an exceptional country. A very different experience to the Camino and as yet unspoilt and pristine.

Rosemary Sumbak (ACT)
May 2018

The overall experience was everything I hoped it would be. From the accommodation along the track to the beautiful scenery along the way.

Malinda Ros (QLD)
April 2018

Interactive Map

Click on a trail point for interactive map highlights

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.

Shingu

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.

Experience authentic, rural Japan on a rugged hike through the ages

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. Where at the end of each day you can 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.

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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.

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