31 Jul 20

How difficult is the Kumano Kodo?

Chris Kavanagh Japan

How difficult is the Kumano Kodo is one of the most common questions we get asked, but also one of the most difficult questions to answer.

To help you decide if our Kumano Kodo trips are right for you we have graded our trips from 1 (Introductory) to 10 (Tough). We have used several criteria to assess the difficulty of each walk we offer which include:

  • the number of hours walking required each day
  • terrain and conditions underfoot
  • weather
  • gradient
  • altitude
  • signage and facilities

Basic accommodation and food in remote areas will contribute to a walk being graded more difficult.

Our Kumano Kodo trips a 6-7, Challenging to Strenuous with our Kumano Kodo Highlight trip graded a 4-6, Moderate to Challenging.

How do I prepare to walk the Kumano Kodo?

The Kumano Kodo is a demanding trek and it is recommended you have a good level of fitness where you are taking regular physical exercise in the lead up to your trip.

Practice hiking in a hill or mountain environment with your equipment especially with your boots especially.

We can help you prepare and train for your Kumano Kodo walk. Our destination experts can help you with your training plan. The more training you do and the better prepared you are, the more you will enjoy this beautiful world heritage listed walk.

Is the Kumano Kodo trek well signed?

The Kumano Kodo trail is extremely well signed and a well-defined trail so you won’t need advanced orienteering skills. However, it is still a good idea that you are still comfortable reading a map, referring to route notes and independently navigating your way along this rural trail.

In addition to the Kumano Kodo signs, there are waymarkers every 500 metres as well as regular signs indicating directions and distances. There are also signs that read ‘Not Kumano Kodo’ on some crossroads indicating where not to go.

What’s the Kumano Kodo trek like underfoot?

The majority of the Nakahechi section of the Kumano Kodo is in forested mountains and includes a number of steep ascents and descents on each walking day. This is a rugged trail and underfoot you will find exposed tree roots, loose rocks and stone steps which can be very slippery, particularly if it has been raining. There are also a few short sections of country lanes and gravel roads, mainly when coming into the towns.

Our destination specialists would love to discuss any questions or concerns in more detail.

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