Self-Guided Hiking Tours
For over 1,000 years people from all levels of society, including retired emperors and aristocrats, have made the pilgrimage to Kumano. These pilgrims used a network of routes, now called the Kumano Kodo, which stretches across the mountainous Kii Peninsula.
The walk itself was an integral part of the pilgrimage process as they undertook religious rites of worship and purification. Walking the ancient Kumano Kodo is a fantastic way to experience the unique cultural landscape of Kumano’s spiritual countryside.
In July 2004, the Kumano Kodo pilgrimage routes were registered as UNESCO World Heritage sites. This walk is a sister walk of the Camino Santiago de Compostela pilgrimage in Southern Europe.
Hike across the Kii Peninsula and experience ancient culture and architecture, delicious Japanese food, traditional accommodation, warm onsens and friendly Japanese hospitality! We have great value self-guided packages ranging from 4 days/3 nights to 2 weeks. Contact us for more information.
Frequently asked questions
- Kumano Kodo Nakahechi route, Japan. 6 days and 5 nights $US995 per person
- Kumano Kodo Kohechi route, Japan. 8 days and 7 nights $US1,250 per person
- Tailored itineraries can be arranged upon request. As you are going self guided, we can tailor the hike to suit your duration, hiking preferences and hiking skill level.
- For Australian customers the final $AU price will be converted based on the mid rate on https://www.xe.com, two months before departure date. For example, if the mid rate on https://www.xe.com shows as $AU1 = $US0.68, the the final $AU price will be $AU1,463 for 6 days or $AU1,838 for 8 days.
- All accommodation
- Most meals
- Luggage transfers while hiking
- Some lunches and 1 dinner
- Passport, visa (if applicable) and travel insurance
The minimum size is 2 hikers, and the maximum size is 12 hikers.
As you are guiding yourself, you choose the dates that suit you for the trip. The
best times to go are spring or autumn, followed by winter and finally summer.
Summer is hot and rainy.
Sometimes circumstances arise that result in dates needing to be changed. If this is due to Government imposed travel restrictions (e.g Covid 19 travel restrictions), then there is no charge for changing the dates. In other circumstances, there is a $AU200 admin charge to change dates.
A deposit of $200 per person will secure your booking. Bank details for the deposit are:
Home Comforts Hiking
The cost of the trip will be in $US. A deposit of $US150 per person will secure your booking. I will send you a PayPal invoice. You do not need a PayPal account to make the payment. You just need a Visa or Mastercard to make the payment.
If accommodation is not available for your preferred dates, and an alternative timeframe is not suitable, we will refund your deposit. Otherwise, if you cancel more than 6 months prior to the trip start date we will refund 75% of your deposit. There are no refunds for cancellations less than 6 months from the trip start date.
Sometimes circumstances arise that result in dates needing to be changed. If this is due to Government imposed travel restrictions (e.g Covid 19 travel restrictions), then there is no charge for changing the dates. In other circumstances, there is a $AU200 additional administration charge to change dates.
The balance is due when your trip is confirmed as fully booked. If you cancel after paying the final payment, the refund will be limited to any refunds that we are able to obtain from the accommodations, less 20% administration fee.
If cancellation is due to Government imposed travel restrictions such as Covid 19 travel bans, then we will refund 90% of all refunds received by us. Note that due to lost deposits, currency exchange rate fluctuations and fees, that these refunds would usually represent between 50-80% of the total amount paid.
- The Nakahechi trail. Overall the hike is rated moderate. There are some steep and hilly sections to navigate, especially on the first and second hiking day. For inexperienced and less fit hikers, the first day is rated moderate to hard, and is the longest day at 13.5km. The total distance walked over 5 days of hiking is 50km. That said, we can tailor the hiking to suit your skill level. The toughest sections can be avoided by taking a bus.
- The Kohechi trail. This is a much harder and longer hike (100km over 8 days and 7 nights). This hike is only for very experienced hikers, and can be arranged upon request.
As the stays are in small villages during the hike, and you only require one night’s accommodation at each village, the options available are very limited. The pricing is based on 2 people sharing a room. When you book and pay for single or twin accommodation, this is what you can expect:
· Night 1 at Kii Tanabe – If you book single, you will get your own double room. Otherwise you will be sharing a twin room. There is an extra charge of US$40 for single accommodation at Kii Tanabe.
· Other nights are at a village on the hike – You will stay at Minshukus, which are traditional Japanese, family run guesthouses. The rooms are traditional Japanese with tatami mats and futons. Breakfast and dinner are included each day. The rooms are all twin share, and the number of rooms are limited. If the Guesthouse has enough rooms, a single room may be available for a surcharge. If the guesthouse does not have the availability, then we can try and source accommodation at a nearby location for you. In these circumstances, I will enquire as to availability and quote you the surcharge for the single accommodation.
Note that bedding linen and towels are provided at every accommodation we stay at. Also, the pillows provided are sometimes quite hard, so you may want to bring your own pillow.
Most accommodations have onsite onsens and some also have fantastic public onsens which are worth visiting for the experience.
Most meals are included in the cost of the trip:
- On day 1 at Kii Tanabe, dinner is not included. There are over 70 restaurants in Kii Tanabe. Dinner is included all other nights, and the meals are of a very high Japanese standard. The meals are a highlight of the trip.
- Breakfast is included each morning. Usually it is Japanese, but sometimes a western option is served.
- Lunch – where it is possible to purchase lunch, you will purchase your own lunch. Where this is not possible, a Japanese lunch box will be provided and is included in the cost of the trip.
- Snacks – please bring or purchase your own snacks and ensure you have sufficient water each day.
Luggage transfer is included for all Kumano Kodo Hikes. Each guest is allowed one bag up to 20kg. Bags are left at reception each morning by about 8.30am, then picked up and taken to our next accommodation. You only need to carry a day pack while hiking. If you prefer not to have luggage transfer, this can be arranged.
NOTE: Only 1 bag per person is allowed!
- Small backpack with waterproof cover
- One bag for luggage transfer
- Shirts, pants, shorts, underwear, socks
- Hiking shoes (slippers are available at accommodation) – Hiking Pole(s)
- Rainproof jacket
- Your own pillow if you don’t like hard pillows
- Money and/or Debit/Credit Card
- Passport, Visa (if applicable), Travel Insurance docs
- Phone and/or tablet, camera and chargers
- Toiletries and medication
Your self-guided pilgrim pack contains the following:
- Detailed self-guided trip notes
- Safety information
- Accommodation and luggage transfer vouchers
- Bus timetables • What to bring list, inclusions and exclusions
- Payment receipt
- Kumano Kodo official guide book (additional copies can be purchased from Kumano Travel and other outlets along the trail)
- Kumano Kodo Nakahechi Pilgrimage route maps
- Kumano Tourist Map
- Dual Pilgrim stamp book (additional copies can be purchased from Kumano Travel and other outlets along the trail)
- Kumano Travel brochure • Kishuu Katsuura Maguro Dining Map
- Note that train and bus transfer costs are not included.
Please contact Marcus Ludriks. Contact details are:
M: 0490 454220
WhatsApp: +61 490 454220