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! The self guided Nakahechi route is 6 days, but we can add or subtract days to suit your needs. Contact us for more information.
Frequently asked questions
We are an accredited agent with Kumano Travel and have access to the best accommodations.
We have been guiding and Hiking in the Kumano Kodo area since 2017, and Marcus has completed the Nakahechi Route 12 times.
Our standard self guided tours are structured so that you visit all three of the main shrines – Hongu, Hayatama and Nachisan. We also ensure you do not miss any other important sights.
We can tailor the walking to your needs and experience
You choose your own dates and length of tour
Our price will not be beaten. We arrange similar or better experiences to our competitors at a much lower price. Compare our price!
- Kumano Kodo Nakahechi route, Japan. 6 days and 5 nights $AU1,590 per person
- Additional or less days, add or subtract $250 per night
- 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. Please contact us to discuss options.
- A 10% discount is available for groups of 6-9 people
- A 15% discount is available for groups of 10-14 people
- All accommodation (based on twin share)
- Most meals
- Luggage transfers while hiking (Note on the Kohechi route, luggage transfer is not from guesthouse to guesthouse, it is from Koyasan to Hongu, then from guesthouse to guesthouse)
- Airfares, train fares and bus fares
- Some lunches and 1 dinner
- Passport, visa (if applicable) and travel insurance
- Traditional Riverboat Tour on the Kumanogawa River – $80 per person
- English speaking Japanese guide – Half day $250, Full Day $500. (Price is for the whole group)
- We can also quote for additional charges for luxury accommodation, where available
- Single Supplement, when available, is $80 per night.
The minimum size is 1 hiker, and the maximum size is 14 hikers.
As you are going self-guided you choose the itinerary. We can tailor the hiking to suit your preferences. On some days we have options you can choose. As an example, the 6 day / 5 night Nakahechi Trail has the following options.
Day 1 – Option A, No walking, arrive at Kii Tanabe in the afternoon
Day 1 – Option B, Arrive at Kii Tanabe before lunchtime. Bus to trail head. Walk 3.5km to Takahara Village. Ascent 430m, descent 200m.(Rated hard (2-3 hours walking)
Day 2 – Option A, Bus to trail head. Walk 14km to Chikatsuyu, Ascent 900m, descent 800m. Rated hard (6-7 hours walking)
Day 2 – Option B, Walk 10.5km from Takahara to Chikatsuyu, Ascent 470m, descent 600m. Rated hard (4-5 hours walking)
Day 3 – Option A, Bus to Hosshinmon Oji, walk to Yunomine Onsen via Hongu. 10km, Ascent 300m, descent 450m. rated moderate (4-5 hours walking)
Day 3 – Option B, Bus to Doyukawa-bashi bus stop, walk to Hongu via Hosshinmon Oji. 17km, Ascent 630m, descent 950m. rated hard (6-8 hours walking)
Note: On day 3, option A will allow you more time to explore the Grand Shrine area at Hongu.
Day 4 – Walk 14km from Kawayu Onsen to Koguchi, Ascent 670m, descent 690m, Rated moderate – hard (6-7 hours walking)
Day 5 – Option A, walk 15km from Koguchi to Nachisan, Ascent 1,260m, descent 930m, Rated very hard (7-8 hours walking)
Day 5 – Option B, Traditional riverboat tour on the Kumanogawa River, finishing at Shingu. Then explore Hayatama Grand shrine and other sights at Shingu. Walking is 5km, mainly flat, rated easy (2-3 hours walking)
Day 5 – Option C, Bus to Shingu. Then explore Hayatama Grand shrine and other sights at Shingu. Walking is 5km, mainly flat, rated easy. (2-3 hours walking)
Day 6 – Option A, Bus or train to Shingu. Store luggage at Tourist Information Centre. Then explore Hayatama Grand shrine and other sights at Shingu. Walking is 5km, mainly flat, rated easy. (2-3 hours walking)
Day 6 – Option B, Bus to Nachisan, Walk Diamonzaka Slope and explore the shrines and waterfall at Nachisan. Walking 5km, rated easy to moderate (2-3 hours walking)
Note: On days 5 & 6, options B & C will allow you more time to explore the Grand Shrine areas at Shingu and Nachisan. On Day 5, option A should only be done by fit, experienced 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 lockdowns or border closures), then there is no charge for changing the dates. In other circumstances, there is a $AU500 (total for all guests on the trip) administration charge to change dates.
Please contact us to book.
A deposit of $300 per person will secure your booking. Bank details for the deposit are:
Home Comforts Hiking
Please contact us to book.
A deposit of $AU300 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.
We will not ask you for a deposit until accommodation is checked to ensure dates can be confirmed.
If accommodation is not available for your preferred dates, and an alternative timeframe is not suitable there is no charge.
Once accommodations have been secured a deposit of $300 per person is required. Once the deposit is paid it takes 2-4 weeks to finalise all bookings and other details.
Upon finalisation of all details and bookings the pilgrim pack can be sent to the hiking customers. Final payment will be required before the Pilgrim Pack is sent to the customer. Latest date for payment is 1 month prior to the start of the hiking tour. This ensures you get your Pilgrim pack at least 3 weeks prior to departure.
If cancellation is by Home Comforts Hiking for any reason, you will receive a full refund of all amounts paid.
If cancellation is due to border closures, natural disasters or cancellation by our agent in Japan (Kumano Travel) you will receive a full refund of any amounts paid less $300 per person administration fee. The administration fee covers booking fees, bank fees, exchange rate losses and time taken to make bookings .
If the cancellation is by you before final payment is made, you will forfeit your deposit. If cancellation is by you, after final payment is made, a part refund may be possible, depending on how much we receive back from the accommodations. Generally cancellations between 8-30 days from departure date lose 40-60% of payments made, and cancellations received 7 days or less from departure receive no refund at all.
Please ensure you take out travel insurance to mitigate the risk of financial loss due to cancellation.
Book your flights once you have paid for the trip in full, and your accommodations are confirmed
- The Nakahechi trail. Overall the hike is rated moderate to hard. There are some steep and hilly sections to navigate, especially on the first hiking day. For inexperienced and less fit hikers, the first day is rated hard, and is the longest day at 13.5km. The total distance walked over 5 days of hiking is 60km. That said, we can tailor the hiking to suit your skill level. The toughest sections can be avoided by taking a bus.
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 AU$80 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 Nakahechi 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 up to 20kg per person is allowed, for luggage transfer!
- Small backpack with waterproof cover
- One bag for luggage transfer
- Shirts, pants, shorts, underwear, socks, hat, masks
- Hiking boots or shoes (slippers are available at accommodation)
- Rainproof jacket or poncho
- Hiking Pole(s)
- 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
Please contact Marcus Ludriks. Contact details are:
M: 0490 454220
WhatsApp: +61 490 454220