Enter lush, majestic forests and open the door to the ancient world of Buddhism and Shintoism. Sublime and untouched, Kumano Kodo is a spiritual Xanadu concealing venerable temples and ancient pilgrimage trails. Embark on a restorative 6-day journey into wonderland, as you experience the healing powers of nature and immerse yourself in traditional meditation practices. Hike along the sacred Kohechi and Nachi Taisha trail, soak in the bubbling onsens in Kawayu known for its healing benefits and relish the scenic Southern Japanese coast as you enter the spiritual heart of Japan – Ise Shima. Embrace the unique essence of Japanese spirituality on this journey as you witness the integration of nature and theology.
This journey outline is by no means fixed. As the traveller takes centre stage in our planning – from the type of lodging to daily activities – your journey will be crafted to suit you.
Arriving in Osaka’s Kansai International Airport, you will be transported to your quaint temple lodging nestled among the forested pine slopes of Mount Koya. This sacred mountain is the birthplace of the mystical Shingon Buddhism in Japan.Late afternoon, you will be joined by a temple monk to practice Ajikan meditation. Allow yourself to gradually enter a state of rhythmic breathing to purify your minds before concluding with a healthy dinner of Shojin Ryori, handed down through the generations with its mindful ingredient selection of seasonal vegetables and edible wild plants.
Rise early to participate in the morning ancestral memorial service dedicated as an appreciation of the Buddhist saints, followed by a Goma fire ritual. Local monks are known to practice this ritual to burn away the root of human suffering.
Thereafter, you will be transported to Chikatsuyu-oji, where you will begin your Kumano Kodo walk along the Nakahechi trail to Tsugizakura-oji. In ancient times, hundreds of pilgrims walked this path as a purification ritual. The walk is around 4.2km, taking approximately 2 hours as you breathe in the fresh mountain air. Tonight, you will stay in the Kawayu Onsen area.
Let us take you on a “forest bathing” experience along the scenic Kohechi trail, framed with ancient 500-year-old cedars and towering deciduous trees with colourful foliage—bright green in spring and deep red in autumn. The walk spans 7.5km from Hosshinmon Gate to Kumano Hongu Grand Shrine, taking approximately 3 hours in total.
After an active walk along the pristine forest, slow down in the afternoon with a relaxing dip on your onsen. Blessed with alkaline thermal spring, the onsen in Kawayu is known to carry health benefits in soothing nerve pain and diabetes.
Today’s walk will bring you along the picturesque Nachi Taisha trail, bestowed with camphor trees and bamboo groves along the Daimon-zaka slope. Ascend to the Kumano Nachi Grand Shrine, a centrepiece of the Kumano Kodo pilgrimage path. Feel the awe of the bountiful Nachi Falls, the tallest single-tiered waterfall in Japan. This trail spans 1.5km and takes approximately 1.5 hours to complete.
Thereafter, we continue to the coastal area of Ise-Shima where you will check-in at the lovely Amanemu resort for the next two nights.
Dive deeper into the heart of Japan’s spiritual home as you visit the country’s holiest Shinto shrine: the 2000-year-old Ise Jingu. Thereafter, you will have the opportunity for a seafood lunch with an ama on a diver’s hut. Gain priceless insights into the life of an ama, the ancient female free-divers who make their living by collecting pearls, shellfishes, sea urchins and seaweeds from the seabed.
Spend your final day at leisure. You may want to explore the tranquil seaside surroundings at your own pace before we pick you up for your transfer to Osaka’s Kansai International Airport or Nagoya’s Chubu Centrair International Airport for your onwards journey.
Mount Koya, Kawayu, Ise-Shima
The best time to explore the Kumano Kodo trail is in spring (March-June) or autumn (September-November).
Easy to Moderate.
Min. 2 pax: USD 6,690/person
Min. 4 pax: USD 4,690/person
The above price applies on private basis and excludes flights. Local guides will be provided on non-throughout basis.
As we’ll customise your journey based on your preferences and needs, please note that this indicative price is just a rough estimate. Prices can fluctuate depending on season, type of accommodation and activities/experiences chosen (private vs. shared) etc.
This journey outline is by no means conclusive. It is just a guideline and can be tailored according to your comfort level, interests and preferences for every detail from accommodation to activities.