Kumano Kodo Trek - 4 days | Nakahechi, Takijiri to Hongu | Itinerary 2

Walkers approaching Takahara Walkers approaching Takahara Takijiri-oji
Walkers approaching Takahara
Takijiri-oji
Near Tsugizakura-oji The sacred Kumano Hongu Taisha
Near Tsugizakura-oji
The sacred Kumano Hongu Taisha

Overview

This itinerary is based around two full day walks on the Nakahechi route of the Kumano Kodo from Takijiri-oji to Kumano Hongu Taisha, with an overnight in Tanabe City before the walk, and one Yunomine Onsen after the walk.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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

Duration

  4 days & 3 nights
Overnight  Tanabe, Chikatsuyu, Yunomine
Price  Price depends on which accommodations and service you add to your cart.
  Transportation is not included, but you can easily pay for this as you go.
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 day light 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.
Transportation  Train, Bus, Walk
Walking Difficult  Day 2 = 4, Day 3 = 4        What is walking difficulty?
Overall Level  Intermediate/Advanced
Recommended For   Active walkers

 

Day 1:

Train from Osaka/Kyoto to Kii-Tanabe (3 hrs)
Sleep in Tanabe

 

Day 2:

Bus from Kii-Tanabe to Takijiri (~40 min)
Walk Takijiri-oji to Chikatsuyu-oji (~13 km, 6~7 hrs)
Sleep in Chikatsuyu

 

Day 3:

Walk Chikatsuyu-oji to Kumano Hongu Taisha (24 km, 9~10 hrs)
Shorter walking options available >>
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.

 

Experience IzakayaWalk Kumano KodoStay in traditional accommodationVisit Kumano Hongu Taisha
Dine at an authentic Japanese pub in Ajikoji.

Ancient pilgrimage route network in the Kii mountains.

More information >>
Try a traditional Ryokan inn and/or family run guesthouse

One of three Kumano grand shrines.

More information >>
Kumano Kodo pilgrimage routeTraditional lodgingsKumano Hongu Taisha

 

Soak in Yunomine OnsenEat local cuisine
Japan’s spiritual hot spring on the Kumano Kodo pilgrimage route with over 1800 years of history.Immerse yourself in Japan’s countryside culinary traditions.
Yunomine OnsenTraditional cuisine


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



Outline

Day 1

Transfer to Tanabe, enjoy Izakaya meal | Overnight: Tanabe

The first day will take you down the west coast of the Kii peninsula by JR train to "Kii-Tanabe" station.  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.

 

There are dozens of restaurants packed into small alley ways near the train station.  This entertainment district is called "Ajikoji".  There are some excellent Izakaya pubs, many with English menus.  Kanteki and Shinbe are favorites. Ask the staff at the information center next to the station for recommendations!


Day 2

Walk Kumano Kodo, Takijiri-oji to Chikatsuyu | Overnight: Chikatsuyu village

This is the first day for the two day walk from Takijiri-oji to Kumano Hongu Taisha.  Board the bus for Takijiri at bus stop number 2 in front of the information center. It is about a 40 minute ride to Takijiri bus stop.

 

Get off the bus at the Takijiri bus stop.  If you have reserved the convenient luggage shuttle service, the staff will meet you here (or at the Kumano Kodo Kan Pilgrimage Center). 

 

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 and a small corner with hiking goods for sale, such as clothes and hiking sticks.

 

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 the Kumano Kodo pilgrimage route from Takijiri to Chikatsuyu (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!

 

From Takahara the trail continues to climb towards the Uwada-jaya teahouse remains before descending onto the other side of mountain.  The trail meets route 311, where the Kumano Kodo Nakahechi Michi-no-Eki rest stop is located, which serves snacks and drinks. Another short climb and descent brings you to the village of Chikatsuyu. 

 

Accommodation: Overnight in Chikatsuyu. There are three main options for lodging here.  Minshuku Chikatsuyu, Ryokan Tsukinoya, and Minshuku Nakano.  Another option is to continue 1 hour further up the trail to stay in the Nonaka area.

 

Course Data

 

Route Name Kumano Kodo, Nakahechi Route

Course Name

  Takijiri-oji to Chikatsuyu  (PDF download trail notes)
Distance  ~13 km
Time

  ~6 to 7 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

Elevation Chart

 

 

Walking Maps

Kumano Kodo MapKumano Kodo Map

Area Maps

Nakahechi West Area Map     Takahara Area Map   


Day 3

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

This is a demanding full day walk on the Kumano Kodo pilgrimage route. (Can be shorten by taking the bus) (see course data below).

 

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.

 

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-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).

 

From 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 of 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. (Most people choose to take the bus)

 

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

  Chikatsuyu to Kumano Hongu Taisha (PDF download trail notes)
Distance  ~25 km
Time

  ~9 to 10 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

Elevation Chart

Walking Maps

Kumano Kodo Map

Area Maps

           

         


Day 4

Bus to Tanabe, Return to Osaka/Kyoto

Before 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.

 

OTHER OPTIONS

Travel to Koyasan >>

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



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, enjoy Izakaya meal | Overnight: Tanabe

 TimeActivityNotes/Downloads
 TRAIN FROM KYOTO/OSAKA TO KII-TANABETrain timetable search engines
  dep: Kyoto 
  

dep: Shin-Osaka

 
  dep: Tennoji 
  arr: 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. 
 OVERNIGHT IN TANABE

 

 supper: restaurant 
  

Near the Kii-Tanabe station area is the compact entertainment district called Ajikoji.  Here there are many good Izakaya pubs, many with English menus.

 

Bon appetit!

Tanabe City Map

 

 


Day 2

Walk Kumano Kodo, Takijiri-oji to Chikatsuyu | Overnight: Chikatsuyu village

 

 TimeActivityNotes/Downloads
 Breakfast: at accommodation 
 BUS FROM KII-TANABE STATION TO TAKIJIRI (Meiko Bus)

Bus timetable 1

960 yen

 8:00dep: Kii-Tanabe 
 8:38arr: Takijiri-oji 
  Bus leaves from bus stop number two in front of Kii-Tanabe station.There are earlier busses if you want to start walking earlier.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 CHIKATSUYU

Distance: ~13 km
Time: ~6 to 7 hrs

Trail notes

 lunch: picnic lunch along the trail 
  Buy lunch in Tanabe before getting on the bus to Takijiri as there are no places to buy lunch along the way. 
  VISIT CHIKATSUYU VILLAGE

Chikatsuyu Map

 OVERNIGHT IN CHIKATSUYU 
 supper: at accommodation 


Day 3

Walk Kumano Kodo, Chikatsuyu-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. 
 

LEAVE LUGGAGE AT ACCOMMODATION

 
  This is only if you have PREBOOKED the LUGGAGE SHUTTLE SERVICE. 
 WALK KUMANO KODO - CHIKATSUYU TO KUMANO HONGU TAISHA

Distance: ~25 km
Time: ~9 to 10 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 (now called Oyunohara), 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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