Experience the tradition of the Kumano Kodo – the pilgrims’ path to the Kumano Shrine through the woods and hills of the Kii Peninsula, south of Kyoto.
For over 1,000 years, people from all levels of society, including retired emperors and aristocrats, have made the arduous pilgrimage to Kumano. These pilgrims used a network of routes, now called the Kumano Kodo, which stretched across the mountainous Kii Peninsula. The walk itself was an integral part of the pilgrimage process as they undertook rigorous 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.
The Kumano Kodo pilgrimage routes are registered as UNESCO World Heritage as “Sacred Sites and Pilgrimage Routes in the Kii Mountain Range”.
Trace the steps of Japan’s pilgrims through tranquil woods, and use local buses to explore this area off the beaten track.
This tour suggestion also includes stays in Tokyo and Kyoto.
- Visit Tokyo, with halfday sightseeing tour
- Stay in Kyoto, with a full day sightseeing tour of Kyoto and Nara
- Travel to Yunomine on the Kii Peninsula, and travel the Kumano Kodo (Pilgrims’ path) by bus and on foot (moderate walking).
Any time April – November 2015, subject to availability of flights.
Tour ref: WKKO
Day 1 : Depart London
Depart from London Heathrow via Helsinki on Finnair overnight flight to Tokyo.
Day 2 : Arrive Tokyo
Arrive at Tokyo Narita Airport. Use the coupon provided to take the “Airport Limousine” bus to the hotel in Tokyo. Stay 3 nights at the Shinagawa Prince Hotel.
Day 3 : Tokyo
Morning tour of Tokyo visiting Tokyo Tower Observatory, Imperial Palace Plaza, Sensoji Temple (Asakusa Kannon), Nakamise Shopping Arcade and Tasaki Pearl Gallery. Afternoon free at leisure.
Day 4 : Tokyo
Full day free at leisure or take an excursion tour.
Day 5 : Tokyo - Kyoto
Make your way to Kyoto using the Japan Rail Pass.
Travel info: Tokyo 11:03 – Kyoto 13:47
Free at leisure for the rest of the day in Kyoto. Stay for 3 nights at the New Miyako Hotel, conveniently situated next to Kyoto station.
Day 6 : Kyoto - Nara - Kyoto
Morning sightseeing of Kyoto, visiting Kinkakuji Temple (Golden Pavilion), Nijo Castle (when Nijo Castle is closed, visit Ryoanji Temple instead), and Kyoto Imperial Palace (on Sat., Sun & national holidays: visit Kitano Tenmangu Shrine or Higashi Honganji Temple instead). Lunch at Kyoto Handicraft Centre. Afternoon tour to Nara visiting Todaiji Temple housing the Great Buddha, colourful Kasuga Taisha Shrine with 3,000 lanterns, and Nara Park (Deer Park) where tame deer roam. Return to Kyoto in the evening.
Day 7 : Kyoto
Free at leisure in the historic city of Kyoto.
Day 8 : Kyoto – Tanabe – Yunomine / Kawayu
Take the train from Kyoto to Tanabe using the Japan Rail Pass.
Travel Info: Kyoto 10:30 – 10:53 Shin Osaka // 11:00 Shin Osaka – 13:04 Kii Tanabe
From Tanabe travel by a local bus to Yunomine (just over 2hrs) for overnight stay in Japanese room at the Yunomine-so Ryokan or at nearby Kawayu Onsen. Japanese dinner is included.
Day 9 : Yunomine / Kawayu – Hongu – Kumano Kodo Walk – Katsuura
In the morning, take short bus journey (15mins) to Kumano Hongu to leave your bag at a left luggage. Take another short bus service (15 mins) to Hosshinmon-Oji. From there, return on foot on the Kumano-kodo pilgrims’ path (7km, 2.5 hours) back to Kumano Hongu.
In the afternoon (around 3pm), make your way to Katsuura by bus (1.5 hour), staying overnight in Japanese room at the Hotel Urashima. Japanese dinner is included.
Day 10 : Katsuura – Nachi Taisha/Waterfalls – Osaka
In the morning, take a short bus to Daimon (20 mins). From there, another Kumano-Kodo walk (2.5km, 1.5 hour) to Kumano Nachi Taisha and Nachi Waterfalls. Return to Katsuura by bus. After lunch, take a train back to Osaka Kansai Airport using the Japan Rail Pass. Stay overnight at the Nikko Kansai airport hotel.
Day 11 : Osaka – London
Transfer to Kansai International Airport(KIX) by airport bus. Depart on Finnair via Helsinki to London Heathrow, arriving the same day.
£ 2,025 per person
sharing twin room
Our “from” tour price is based on Finnair economy class London-Helsinki-Tokyo, KIX-Helsinki-London. This is subject to availability. Other airlines and classes of air travel can be used. Please contact us for details and availability.
- Return flight London-Tokyo, KIX-London on Finnair economy class via Helsinki*
- Transfer from airport to hotel (airport bus coupon)
- 2 guided sightseeing excursions (in Tokyo and Kyoto) as specified, by coach with English-speaking guide
- 9 nights accommodation in Japan at specified hotels or similar.
- 2 Japanese dinners at Ryokan accommodation as specified
- 9 breakfasts
- 7-day Japan Rail Pass for Bullet train Tokyo-Kyoto, and local trains Kyoto-Tanabe, Katsuura-Osaka(KIX airport)
- Luggage transfer – your luggage will be transported separately from Tokyo to Kanazawa (skipping Gero Onsen).
- Travel Insurance
- Any meals and beverages not shown in the above itinerary
- Incidental costs such as personal laundry, drinks, snacks
- Passport and other visa document fees (UK citizens do not need a visa for stays up to 90 days in Japan)
- EXTRA ARRANGEMENTS Extension in Tokyo, Kyoto or personal tours before or after the scheduled tour – please contact us for a quotation.