Kumano Kodo self-guided walking 5 days

The quintessential Kumano Kodo experience on the classic Nakahechi route.

A slightly lengthier collection of the Nakahechi route’s highlights, including the breathtaking Nachi Falls. Recommended for experienced hikers, enjoy four hikes of 2-7 hours as you walk from village to village. Eligible for Dual Pilgrim certification.

Kumano Kodo self-guided walking 5 days

Number of travellers

Start date

April 2024

Tour details

Kumano Kodo self-guided walking 5 days
x1 traveller
Single room additional charge
USD 475

If you would like to do multiple tours in one trip or have a question about any of our tours, do not hesitate to contact us with the button below.

  • Duration: 5 days
  • Trip level:
  • Availability: All year (snow falls occasionally from December to March)
  • Type:Self-guided
  • Price: USD 1,445(Price per person, based on 2 travellers sharing a room)
  • Take in Nachi Falls, Japan’s waterfall with the tallest uninterrupted drop
  • Earn credentials to receive Dual Pilgrim status
  • Enjoy incredible valley and mountain views as you hike village to village
  • Savour the delectable local cuisine
  • Visit two of Kumano’s grand shrines, Hongu Grand Shrine and Nachi Grand Shrine
  • Explore Kii-Katsuura's lively fishing port

One of the most remote and mystical areas of Japan, the Kii Peninsula is home to the Kii Mountain Range, featuring dramatic scenery and more than 1,000 years of history. The Kumano Kodo is comprised of several routes, including the Nakahechi, Kiiji, Iseji, Kohechi, and Ohechi.

Our 5-day Kumano Kodo self-guided tour focuses on the Nakahechi, the classic Kumano Kodo route, introducing you to the highlights of this ancient trail, including the breathtaking Nachi Falls. You will also have the opportunity to visit Hongu Grand Shrine, Nachi Grand Shrine, and Hayatama Grand Shrine, known as the Kumano Sanzan (熊野三山/Three Grand Shrines of Kumano).

As you walk from village to village, you will have ample opportunities to take in gorgeous mountain scenery, relax in onsen hot springs, and enjoy the delicious local cuisine.

You’re supported by our team in Kyoto, our local Chikatsuyu office, and by our bespoke turn-by-turn walking instructions and topographical maps to guide you on your way, created by our team of hikers for you.

If you’re an experienced hiker looking to enjoy the many highlights of the Kumano Kodo’s Nakahechi route, our 5-day tour may be the perfect fit for you.

Have you walked the Camino de Santiago? You can obtain Dual Pilgrim status on our tour, or earn your credentials and obtain the status on your future Camino de Santiago trip. 

Daily luggage transfer is also available along the Kumano Kodo trail as an optional extra service.

Download PDF itinerary

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What is included
4 nights at Japanese inns along the Kumano Kodo trail
4 breakfasts and 4 dinners
Round-trip train tickets from Kyoto or Osaka
Detailed day-by-day itinerary and walking directions
Detailed maps
Local support by telephone and at our Kumano Kodo branch
Our Preparing for Your Trip and Travelling in Japan guidebooks
What is not included
Airport transfers
Drinks and meals not included in itinerary
Local bus journeys which must be paid directly to the bus driver
Single room supplement(s) for solo occupancy
Daily luggage transfer


Our tour includes train tickets for your journey from Kyoto or Osaka to the small town of Kii-Tanabe on the mystical Kii Peninsula, gateway to the historic Kumano Kodo Trail. The railway line runs close to the ocean for the latter part of the journey and offers fine views out over the sea. The journey from Osaka to Kii-Tanabe is around two and half hours; from Kyoto it is around three hours and usually requires a change of trains at Shin-Osaka station. Board a local bus outside Kii-Tanabe station and travel forty minutes to Takijiri. This is where your walk on the Nakahechi portion of the Kumano Kodo pilgrimage route begins. From Takijiri the path climbs steadily to the ridge-top village of Takahara, and takes around two hours.


Stay tonight in a small, Japanese-style minshuku in the tiny village of Takahara, or in the nearby village of Kurisugawa. Both serve delicious home-cooked dinners featuring local seasonal ingredients.


Walking distance: 4.5 km / 2.8 mi

Elevation gain: 370 m / 1,200 ft

Time required: About 2 hours


Accommodation: Japanese-style hotel or minshuku (family-run guesthouse)

Meals: Dinner


After your Japanese breakfast, you leave your inn and follow the trail as it winds through small settlements and peaceful countryside. You pass several oji shrines before finally descending to the village of Chikatsuyu. The paths are clearly defined, and flagstones have been laid in some places to make the climbs easier. Arrive in Chikatsuyu in time to relax before dinner at a family-run guesthouse.


Walking distance: 10 km / 6.5 mi
Elevation gain: 480 m / 1,575 ft of ascent and 520 m / 1,700 ft of descent
Time required: About 4 - 5 hours


Accommodation: Minshuku (family-run guesthouse)
Meals: Breakfast, dinner



From Chikatsuyu and Nonaka, the trail continues through the mountains.

We have shorter and longer hiking options to choose from this day, all of which include the 'can't miss' walk between Hosshinmon-oji and Hongu Grand Shrine.

At the heart of these sacred mountains, Kumano was said to be the entrance to the land of Yomi, the ‘other world’ which spirits travelled to in Japanese mythology. From Hongu, a short bus ride brings you to Yunomine Onsen, one of the oldest natural hot spring villages in Japan, or to Kawayu Onsen, famous for the thermal water bubbling to the surface of the crystal-clear river. Enjoy a relaxing soak in a Japanese bath before or after your delicious, multi-course dinner.


Walking distance: 24 km / 14.9 mi

Elevation gain: 820 m / 2,700 ft of ascent and 1,140 m / 3,740 ft of descent

Time required: About 8 - 9 hours, requiring an early start!


We offer two shorter alternatives of 7 hours (15 km / 9 mi) or of 2 hours (7 km / 4 mi), using a local bus from Chikatsuyu to shorten the walk. You can choose which option you prefer on the day—no need to decide in advance!


Accommodation: Onsen ryokan (hot spring inn)

Meals: Breakfast, dinner



The final section of the trail takes you from Koguchi up to the Ogumotorigoe Pass with a glimpse of the Pacific Ocean. It then descends to Mount Nachi, the location of Nachi Grand Shrine, one of the three Grand Shrines of Kumano and Nachi Falls. Stay overnight either in the small village of Mount Nachi close to the shrine, or take a local bus for the twenty-minute ride to the port town of Kii-Katsuura, with wonderful views over the island-studded bay. Enjoy dinner and breakfast served by your hosts at your accommodation.


Walking distance: 15.1 km / 9.3 mi
Elevation gain: 980 m / 3,215 ft of ascent and 920 m / 3,020 ft of descent
Time required: About 6 - 7 hours


Accommodation: Minshuku (family-run guesthouse) or onsen hotel (hot spring hotel)
Meals: Breakfast, dinner



Kii-Katsuura is an active fishing port and has a lively early-morning fish market. Enjoy the views out over the island-studded bay. There are intriguing backstreets and a traditional covered shopping arcade to explore, too. It is also possible to visit Hayatama Grand Shrine, one of the three Grand Shrines of Kumano. We provide train tickets for you to board a train at lunchtime, travelling back around the Kii Peninsula and arriving in Osaka or Kyoto mid to late afternoon.


Meals: Breakfast

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