Kumano Kodo Trek - 4 days | Nakahechi, Takijiri to Hongu | Itinerary 1

Overview

This itinerary is based around one half day walk and two full day walks on the Nakahechi route of the Kumano Kodo from Takijiri-oji to Kumano Hongu Taisha, with an overnights in Takahara, Nonaka area, and finally in Yunomine Onsen after the walk.
 
If you cannot arrive by 12 noon at Kii-Tanabe station, as there is not enough time to complete the walk if you arrive later than this, (or Takahara is fully booked) then it is best to stay the first night in Tanabe. The  Kumano Kodo Trek - 4 days | Nakahechi, Takijiri to Hongu | Itinerary 2 is a better option.

 

 

 

 

Route

Kyoto/Osaka | Tanabe | Takahara | Nonaka | Hongu | Yunomine Onsen | Osaka/Kyoto

Duration

4 days & 3 nights (2.5 days walking)
OvernightTakahara, Nonaka, Yunomine
Price

Price depends on which accommodations and services you add to your cart.

Transportation is not included, but you can easily pay for this as you go.

Type

Self-guided or guided.

If you would like a guide for the walks, select the plans to add these to your cart when booking.

Luggage Shuttle

Daily luggage shuttle available for all days.

Select the plans to add these to your cart when booking.

When

The Nakahechi is open year round.  Summer can be hot and humid, and winter (from December to early March) has a slight possibility of snow.  The winter months also have shorter daylight hours)

More weather & daylight info >>

Japanese national holidays and weekends can be busy (especially golden week in the beginning of May, and Obon mid-August).  It is often best to come mid-week as capacity is limited in smaller villages along the trail.

TransportationTrain, Bus, Walk  How to ride a local bus. About trains.
Walking Difficult

Day 1 = 2.5, Day 2 = 3, Day 3 = 2, Day 4 = 1.5, Day 5 = 1.5 

What is walking difficulty?

Overall LevelIntermediate/Advanced
Recommended ForActive Walkers
Resources

 SPECIFIC TO ITINERARY

GENERAL

 

Day 1:
Train from Osaka/Kyoto to Kii-Tanabe (~3 hrs)
Bus from Kii-Tanabe to Takijiri (~40 min)
Walk from Takijiri-oji to Takahara (3.7 km, ~2.5 hrs)
Sleep in Takahara

Day 2:
Walk from Takahara to Tsugizakura-oji (~14 km, 6~7 hrs)
Sleep in Nonaka area

Day 3:
Walk Tsugizakura-oji to Kumano Hongu Taisha (21 km, 7~8 hrs)
Bus from Hongu to Yunomine Onsen (~10 min)
Sleep in Yunomine Onsen

Day 4:
Bus from Yunomine Onsen to Tanabe (~1 hr 45 min)
Or other options.


What is a model itinerary?
How do I book a model itinerary?
Would you like more information or to customize this model itinerary? Please contact us.

Link to google map >>

Model Itinerary Map




Highlights

The following are some highlights on this model itinerary.

 

Walk Kumano KodoStay in traditional accommodation  Visit Kumano Hongu TaishaSoak in Yunomine Onsen 

Ancient pilgrimage route network in the Kii mountains.

More information >>

From traditional Ryokan inns to family run guesthouses.

One of three Kumano grand shrines.

More information >>

Japan’s spiritual hot spring on the Kumano Kodo pilgrimage route with over 1800 years of history.

More information >>

Kumano Kodo pilgrimage routeTraditional lodgingsKumano Hongu TaishaYunomine Onsen

 

Eat local cuisine
Immerse yourself in Japan’s country side culinary traditions.
Traditional cuisine


Every visitor has different experiences and memories, so please enjoy the journey to create your own highlights!



Outline

Day 1

Transfer to Tanabe and Takijiri, Walk Kumano Kodo | Overnight: Takahara

The first day will take you down the west coast of the Kii peninsula by JR train.  As you head south from the large urban centers of Kyoto and Osaka the population and cities become less frequent.  Watch for terraced orange and ume orchards along the way.
Tip:  Sit on the right hand side of the train for the best views.

Get off the train at "Kii-Tanabe" station and enjoy lunch in a restaurant near the station.

Board the bus for Takijiri, it is about a 40 minute ride.
How to ride a Japanese bus >>
Note: Busses leave from bus stop number 2. Check this map for more information.
Tip:  Sit on the right hand side of the bus for the best views.

Get off the bus at the Takijiri bus stop.  If you have reserved the convenient luggage shuttle service, the staff will meet you at the Kumano Kodo Kan Pilgrimage Center across the river.  Takijiri-oji on the Kumano Kodo pilgrimage route

Walk across the bridge and on your right is the Kumano Kodo Kan Pilgrimage Center with some introductory displays about the pilgrimage route.  There are also toilets, water taps, drink vending machines, and a small corner with hiking goods for sale, such as clothes and hiking sticks.  There is also a small stamp collecting book available for 100 yen.  There are stamps along the way that many walkers and pilgrims enjoy to collect.

On the left hand side is Takijiri-oji, a small shrine which marks the entrance into the sacred Kumano mountains.  The trail starts behind the shrine pavilion. 

Walk thTakaharae Kumano Kodo pilgrimage route from Takijiri to Takahara (see course data below), a steep climb through native and planted forest. Around 15 minutes into the climb, there is a set of large boulders. Some of these form a cave called Tainai-kuguri, where you can test your faith by climbing through the crack at the far end. Another boulder, the Chichi-iwa rock, is associated with a local legend.

The village of Takahara offers panoramic views of the Hatenashi mountain range and is the site of the Takahara Kumano-jinja shrine is one of the oldest buildings along this section of the pilgrimage route with giant camphor trees, over 800 years old!

Accommodation: Overnight in Takahara. There are two options for lodging here.  The Kiri-no-Sato Takahara lodge has excellent facilities, include all meals and features a hot spring bath. Tenku-no-Satoyama is a beautiful rental house, but does not include meals so you will need to prepare your own food.

 

Course Data

 

Route Name Kumano Kodo, Nakahechi Route

Course Name

  Takijiri-oji to Takahara  (PDF download trail notes)
Distance  3.7 km
Time

  ~2 hrs

  ※Walking times do not include breaks and are based on the abilities of a healthy walker, without a pack, in good weather. Please plan accordingly.

Walking Difficult  2.5                             What is walking difficulty?
Overall Level  Intermediate
Overview map

 

Kumano Kodo Map

 

Elevation Chart

 

Takahara to Tsugizakura-oji elevation chart

 

Walking Maps

 

Kumano Kodo Map

 

Area Maps

              

Nakahechi West Area Map                 Takahara Area Map

 


Day 2

Walk Kumano Kodo, Takahara to Tsugizakura-oji | Overnight: Nonaka area

Gyuba-doji statue

This is a full day walk on the Kumano Kodo pilgrimage route.  The trail from Takahara continues to climb into the mountains from the east end of the tiny settlement. About 1.5 hours into the walk one reaches the Jujo-oji clearing, a popular spot for picnic lunches. The highest part of this trail is the remains of the Uwada-jaya Teahouse (~690 meters above sea level).


The trail then descends quickly past the Three-Fold Moon Viewing area to the creek by Osakamoto-oji. The pilgrimage route runs close to Highway #311, which you can cross to reach the Kumano Kodo Nakahechi Michi-no-Eki rest stop which serves snacks and drinks. The Gyubadoji-guchi bus stop is located here.  

It is a short climb to the Hashiori-toge Pass where the small Gyuba-doji statue is Chikatsuyu villagelocated. This statue shows Kazan, one of the first abdicated emperors to pilgrimage to Kumano, sitting on a horse and cow. The trail descends a cobblestone staircase to a viewpoint of the Chikatsuyu Village below. In the village across the Hiki-gawa River on your left is the Chikatsuyu-oji.

Pass through Chikatsuyu village and continue along the old highway east which rises steadily. There a few groups of houses along the way before you arrive at Tsugizakura-oji and its giant trees.

Accommodation: There are a few accommodations near Tsugizakura-oji. Irorian Minshuku is the first you will come across near trail marker #30. Minshuku Tsugizakura is just below the Oji shrine and Nonaka Sanso is in the valley along highway #311.

 

Course Data

 

Route Name Kumano Kodo, Nakahechi Route

Course Name

  Takahara to Tsugizakura-oji  (PDF download trail notes)
Distance  13.3 km
Time

  ~5 hrs

  ※Walking times do not include breaks and are based on the abilities of a healthy walker, without a pack, in good weather. Please plan accordingly.

Walking Difficult  3.5                             What is walking difficulty?
Overall Level  Intermediate/Advanced
Overview map

 

Kumano Kodo Map

 

Elevation Chart

 

Takahara to Tsugizakura-oji elevation chart

 

Walking Maps

 

Kumano Kodo MapKumano Kodo Map

 

Area Maps

              

Nakahechi East Area Map                 Chikatsuyu Area Map

 


Day 3

Walk Kumano Kodo, Tsugizakura-oji to Kumano Hongu Taisha | Overnight: Yunomine Onsen

Toganoki-jaya

This demanding full day hike passes along forested trails and mountain-top villages, with panoramic viewpoints along the way. There are no restaurants along the way, so it is best to bring a lunch. The creek beside Jagata Jizo and Mikoshi-toge are common lunch stops.

The Kumano Kodo follows the old highway from Tsugizakura-oji to Kobiro-toge Pass. Here the trail enters the forest, climbing and descending a series of passes, the first being Waraji-toge Pass. The trail descends the Me-zaka (“female slope”), passes by the remains of the Nakodo-jaya (“match-maker teahouse”).

Because of damage to the trail, there is a ~4 km detour from Nakado-jaya Teahouse remains to Jagata Jizo, south of the main pilgrimage route. The trail follows a forestry road for a short time before climbing over the Iwagami-toge pass (~650 meters elevation). The trail then descends to the Jagata Jizo following another forestry road for part of the way.

The trail climbs from the Yukawa settlement to Mikoshi-toge Pass. A long descent brings you to the junction with the Akagi-goe trail, which heads to Yunomine Onsen. It is another 25 minutes from here to Hosshinmon-oji.

Hosshinmon-ojiHosshinmon-oji is known as the "gate of awakening of the aspiration to enlightenment" and marks the outermost entrance to Kumano Hongu Taisha’s sacred precincts. The route follows a road through Hosshinmon village to Mizunomi-oji. Keep a look out for the folk-art word carvings along the way. The trail enters the forest at Mizunomi-oji, the site of an old school house, and exits at the west end of the Fushiogami settlement, with its numerous tea plantations and terraced fields.

Fushiogami-oji is where pilgrims fell to their knees and prayed after catching their first glimpse of the Grand Shrine in the distant valley below. There is a covered rest area here where locals serve handmade snacks and coffee made with hot spring water (days in operation may change).

Fushiogami-ojiFrom Fushiogami-oji the trail descends through the forest past Sangen-jaya to the austere Kumano Hongu Taisha. Halfway between Sangen-jaya and Kumano Hongu Taisha is a short side trail to a lookout point that is not to be missed!

The Kumano Hongu Taisha is one of the three grand shrines of Kumano.  It used to be located on the river bank which is now the site of Japan’s largest Torii gateway.

From Hongu to Yunomine Onsen you can take a bus which leaves from in front to the Kumano Hongu Heritage Center at the "Hongu Taisha-mae" bus stop, or walk over the mountain along the Dainichi-goe section of the Kumano Kodo.

Enjoy an evening soak at Yunomine Onsen, one of Japan’s oldest hot springs and deeply connected with the Kumano pilgrimage.

Accommodation: There is a diversity of Japanese style lodging in Yunomine Onsen including many small, family-run Minshuku guesthouses.  There are also accommodations available in Hongu and nearby Kawayu Onsen.

 

Course Data

 

Route Name Kumano Kodo, Nakahechi Route

Course Name

  Tsugizakura-oji to Kumano Hongu Taisha  (PDF download trail notes)
Distance  21 km
Time

  ~6.5 hrs

  ※Walking times do not include breaks and are based on the abilities of a healthy walker, without a pack, in good weather. Please plan accordingly.

Walking Difficult  4                             What is walking difficulty?
Overall Level  Intermediate/Advanced
Overview map

 

Kumano Kodo Map - Tsugizakura-oji to Kumano Hongu Taisha

 

Elevation Chart

 

Tsugizakura-oji to Kumano Hongu Taisha elevation chart

 

Walking Maps

 

Kumano Kodo MapKumano Kodo Map

 

Detour Map

 

Kumano Kodo Detour Map

 

Area Maps

              

Hongu Area Map          Yunomine Onsen Area Map       Hongu Map

 


Day 4

Bus to Tanabe, Return to Osaka/Kyoto

Tsuboyu bathBefore or after breakfast feel free to try the famous Tsuboyu bath.

Take a bus from Yunomine Onsen to Tanabe, then a train from Kii-Tanabe north to Osaka/Kyoto.



Details

※ Details sometimes change, especially bus times, so please double check times before your trip.  If you notice something incorrect, please let us know. Thank you.

 

Downloadable Itinerary >>

 

Day 1

Transfer to Tanabe and Takijiri, Walk Kumano Kodo | Overnight: Takahara

 TimeActivityNotes/Downloads
 

TRAIN FROM KYOTO/OSAKA TO KII-TANABE

(Kuroshio 3)

Train timetable search engines
  8:36dep: Kyoto 
  9:03

dep: Shin-Osaka

 
  9:21dep: Tennoji 
  11:15arr: Kii-Tanabe 
  

VISIT TANABE TOURIST INFORMATION CENTER

 

Open 9:00~18:00

  This information center has paper copies of maps and transporation timetables.  Get the most up to date information before you begin your walk. 
 lunch: at restaurant, or buy something to go.  The bakery inside the train station is convenient place to buy something. 

Tanabe City Map

 BUS FROM KII-TANABE STATION TO TAKIJIRI (Ryujin Bus) Bus timetable 1

960 yen

 12:35dep: Kii-Tanabe 
 13:18arr: Takijiri-oji 
   Bus leaves from bus stop number two in front of Kii-Tanabe station.
 Bus stop map
  MEET LUGGAGE SHUTTLE STAFF AT KUMANO KODO KAN PILGRIMAGE CENTER 
   This luggage shuttle service is a life saver and highly recommended.  You can book it for each day so you can walk freely without your luggage.  MUST BE BOOKED IN ADVANCE. 
   VISIT KUMANO KODO KAN PILGRIMAGE CENTER 
  

The round Kumano Kodo Kan Pilgrimage Center is located across the river from Takijiri-oji and has introductory exhibitions about the pilgrimage route.

Open 9:00 to 17:00

 WALK KUMANO KODO - TAKIJIRI-OJI TO TAKAHARA

Distance:3.7 km
Time: ~2.5 hrs

Trail notes

 OVERNIGHT IN TAKAHARA 
 supper: at accommodation 


Day 2

Walk Kumano Kodo, Takahara to Tsugizakura-oji | Overnight: Nonaka area

 

 TimeActivityNotes/Downloads
 Breakfast: at accommodation 
  PICK UP LUNCH BOX

 

  It is usually easiest to order your lunch box from the accommodation. Book the lunch box plan to take advantage of this service. 
 LUGGAGE SHUTTLE
 MUST BE PRE-BOOKED
  Leave luggage at accommodation.
 
 WALK KUMANO KODO - TAKAHARA TO TSUGIZAKURA-OJI

Distance: ~14 km
Time: ~6 to 7 hrs

Trail notes

 lunch: picnic lunch along the trail 
  Chikatsuyu is the next village after Takahara.  Pass through Chikatsuyu towards Tsugizakura-oji.

Chikatsuyu Map

 OVERNIGHT IN NONAKA AREA

Nakahechi East Map

 supper: at accommodation 


Day 3

Walk Kumano Kodo, Tsugizakura-oji to Kumano Hongu Taisha | Overnight: Yunomine Onsen

 TimeActivityNotes/Downloads
 Breakfast: at accommodation 
  PICK UP LUNCH BOX 
  It is usually easiest to order your lunch box from the accommodation. Book the lunch box plan to take advantage of this service. 
 LUGGAGE SHUTTLE MUST BE PRE-BOOKED
  Leave luggage at accommodation. 
 WALK KUMANO KODO - TSUGIZAKURA-OJI TO KUMANO HONGU TAISHA

Distance: ~21 km
Time: ~7 to 8 hrs

Trail notes

  NOTE: There are shorter options if you take a local bus for part of the way.Optional walks overview
 lunch: picnic lunch along the trail 
  VISIT KUMANO HONGU TAISHA & OYUNOHARA

 

Hongu map

  One of the three grand shrines of Kumano. Originally the shrine was located near the Kumano-gawa River on a sandbank, which is now marked with Japan’s largest Torii shrine gate.
  VISIT KUMANO HONGU HERITAGE CENTER 
  

This information center is on the east side route 311 across from the Kumano Hongu Taisha grand shrine. It has detailed information and exhibits about the area in English.

Open 9:00 to 17:00

  BUS FROM HONGU TO YUNOMINE ONSEN Bus timetable 11

300 yen

  16:58 dep: Hongu Taisha-mae 
  17:09 arr: Yunomine Onsen 
  Busses leave from in front of the Kumano Hongu Heritage Center.  There are other busses as well, please refer to the bus timetable for options. 
  VISIT YUNOMINE ONSEN

 

Yunomine Onsen

  

Yunomine Onsen is one of the oldest hot springs in Japan and directly connected with the Kumano Kodo. It is a quaint little collection of inns tucked into a small valley.

 

Each accommodation has their own hot spring bath, and there is a special public bath called Tsuboyu. This bath was used by pilgrims past to purify themselves with the hot water. Tickets are sold at the booth next to the temple.

 

 OVERNIGHT IN YUNOMINE ONSEN 
 supper: at accommodation 


Day 4

Bus to Tanabe, Return to Osaka/Kyoto

 TimeActivityNotes/Downloads
 Breakfast: at accommodation 
  BUS FROM YUNOMINE ONSEN TO TANABE Bus timetable 2

1940 yen

 8:51
 dep: Yunomine Onsen 
 10:30 arr: Kii-Tanabe 
 TRAIN FROM KII-TANABE TO OSAKA/KYOTO Train timetable search engines
  

OTHER OPTIONS

Travel to Koyasan >>

Visit Kumano Nachi Taisha and Japan’s largest waterfall >>

 

 

Downloadable Itinerary >>





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