31 Jul 20

When to trek Japan’s Kumano Kodo?

Chris Kavanagh Japan

When to trek the Kumano Kodo you ask? The Kumano Kodo trail can be walked year round. The weather does vary quite dramatically depending on when you choose to go. The best time to trek the Kumano Kodo depends on the weather you prefer to trek in and the type of scenery you would like to see. August and September is the peak of the typhoon season in Japan and there is a potential risk of disruption to travel plans during these events.

Kumano Kodo in spring

March and April are both spring months and extremely popular along the trail to visit as it is cherry blossom season in Japan. Being a natural phenomenon and occurring for only a fairly short period of time, it is difficult to pinpoint exact dates to when the blossoms will appear. Historical averages for Kyoto suggest that the first blooms tend to occur between 20 and 25 March with full bloom generally expected between 1 and 5 April. 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 and 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 if you’re planning on travelling at this time.

Kumano Kodo in autumn

October and November are popular months to visit as during 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 in early October but if you wanted to see the colours in full swing, we would recommend visiting from mid to late November. This time is very popular and we now have as many people trekking during this time as we do in spring. During both spring and autumn, you can expect daytime temperatures of around 10 to 15°C.

Kumano Kodo in summer

June, July and August are summer, so expect higher humidity and rainfall. The scenery, however, is beautifully green and verdant. During summer you can expect day time temperatures of 25 to 30°C, though the humidity can make it feel hotter. August and September is the peak of the typhoon season in Japan and there is a potential risk of disruption to travel plans during these events.

Kumano Kodo in winter

December, January and February is winter time. The average daytime temperature is around 3 to 7°C and there is a small chance of snow on the Nakahechi route. For experienced trekkers, it’s a wonderful time to be on the trail. It is quieter and a great time to fully appreciate it. Enjoy soaking in the onsens after a day of hiking. Daylight hours are shorter so it’s important to plan your hike each day with this in mind. Most accommodations close over New Year. The Kii Peninsula is a wet region and you should be prepared for some rain year round, bring adequate rain gear.


Written By

Chris Kavanagh

Chris is a seasoned hiker and RAW’s Japan expert. If you’re looking for the best advice about Japan’s walking trails, Chris is your go-to. With a background in personal training, Chris champions active travel. She loves hitting the gym, exploring local trails and immersing herself in a good book.

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