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16 Day Japan’s Kumano Kodo & Nakasendo Way walk

16 day Japan’s Kumano Kodo & Nakasendo Way

A grand journey from Tokyo to Osaka

This 16-day pack-free guided walk explores the best of two of Japan’s most incredible walks… the 1000 year old Kumano Kodo pilgrim trail and the way of the Samurai – the Nakasendo Way. On this enchanting journey, you will be mesmerized by a tapestry of ancient mountain cedar forests, Grand Shrines and temples, as well as stepping back in time as you make your way through quaint post towns with their charming wooden architecture. Our local guides will immerse you in landscapes woven with history, spirituality and culture, experiencing Japan’s rich cultural tapestry, where centuries-old customs and hospitality still flourish.

What makes this tour unique:
Our philosophy with all our tours, is that walking is only part of the adventure. We’ve included some special wow-mazing experiences throughout the journey to make your trip truly unforgettable. Enjoy a traditional tea ceremony wearing kimonos in Kyoto, make your own Japanese art in Ena, cruise in a traditional boat down the Kumano River, and visit a Sake establishment to tantalise the tastebuds. We have meticulously designed our tours using private transfers between our walks which not only allows for relaxed walking but gives our guests flexible walking options each day. You can walk as much or as little as you like and you won’t need to rush to meet train timetables! Add this to staying in the finest accommodation in each region, many with comfortable off-the-ground bed options and you have the perfect journey.

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A Pack Free Walk

Carry as little as your water, camera and lunch

Crafted with meticulous intent, this journey is tailored for Pack-Free walking, affording our cherished guests the luxury of savoring the landscapes unhindered by the weight of cumbersome bags. Indeed, the essence of walking lies in its enjoyment, not endurance. Throughout each day, our esteemed participants will traverse with nothing more than a modest day pack, aptly sized to accommodate essentials like lunch, water, and a camera. Meanwhile, your luggage will be transported to your accommodation EVERY day.

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Japanese Traditional Tea Ceremony & Kimonos

Wow-mazing Experience Kyoto

During our time in Kyoto, we aimed to enhance our guests’ stay with unforgettable, wow-mazing experiences. Immerse yourself in the time-honored tradition of a Japanese tea ceremony. Dressed in vibrant and exquisite Japanese kimonos of your choosing, learn the fine art of the tea ceremony.

Japan-Nakasendo-Way
Japan-Nakasendo-Way

Fushimi Inari Shrine Walk, Kyoto

A not to be missed walk

During your visit to Kyoto we have included one of it’s most iconic walks as part of our journey. Walking through Fushimi Inari Shrine in Kyoto is a mesmerizing journey. Walk through its thousands of vivid orange torii gates that create a captivating tunnel-like pathway through a lush forested hillside, the experience is not only visually stunning but deeply spiritual. The climb to the summit offers breathtaking views of Kyoto.

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Japanese Art Class

Wow-mazing Experience Ena

During your afternoon in Ena you will be able to participate in a Woodblock Class at the Hiroshige Museum, an enchanting voyage into the realm of Japanese artistry. Under the expert guidance, you’ll uncover the intricate techniques and time-honoured traditions behind this captivating medium and be able to take your piece of Japanese art home.

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Japan-Nakasendo-Way-Guided-walk

Sake Tastings

Wow-mazing Experience Kiso Fukushima

During our stay in Kiso Fukushima we visit a local Sake establishment for some tastings of  high-quality sake.  The amazingly friendly staff and the superb wine embodies the rich heritage and flavour profile that has made it a celebrated choice among sake enthusiasts.

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Kumano River traditional Pilgrim boat cruise

Wow-mazing Experience Shingu

Embark on a river adventure through Kumano’s heritage! For more than a millennium, pilgrims have travelled by boat along this river to complete their Kumano Kodo pilgrimage route, linking Kumano Hongu Taisha in Hongu and Kumano Hayatama Taisha in Shingu. Step into history by sailing in traditional flat-bottom boats, mirroring the journeys of ancient pilgrims, wondering at the numerous waterfalls along the way and dramatic scenery.

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Meditation with a monk

Wow-mazing Experience Koyasan

Amidst the captivating tranquility of Koyasan, an enchanting opportunity awaits, an invitation to join a meditation session guided by a Japanese monk. Immersing yourself in the serene ambiance of a traditional meditation hall, adorned with intricate wooden carvings and the soft glow of candlelight. A unique and wonderful experience.

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Aloft Hotel Dojima - Marriott Group

Osaka

Nestled in a prime location within Osaka the Aloft Osaka Dojima is a modern 4-star haven with is part of the Marriott Group of hotels, The hotel offers a restaurant and a bar and easy walking access to shops and transport. With its striking foyer celebrating modern Japanese art you can chat with ease to the multilingual staff who are fluent in English and will offer unparalleled guidance and assistance.

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Koyasan

Rengejoin or The Soijin Temple Lodge

The small town of Koyasan is nestled deep within the cedar forests of Wakayama Prefecture. We spend one night in a Buddhist Temple Lodge accommodation at Rengejoin or Sojiin. Guests will stay in Japanese-style accommodation with the opportunity to join morning or afternoon mediation with the resident monks.

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Takahara Organic Lodge

or similar

Set high on the top of the mountain, the Takahara Lodge offers spectacular views over the valley below. Relax on the terrace and take in the views. The Onsen offers the opportunity to soak your tired muscles after a day’s walk. Meals are prepared using local produce, such as vegetables and freshly caught river fish. Beds in the property are a combination of traditional japanese beds and western beds.

*Please note: As this is a remote area and there are few accommodation option, this lodge will sometimes be substutited As Takahara Lodge has a small number of rooms, a single supplement is not available on our night stay here. Twin/triple share rooms are available.

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Watase Onsen Hotel Sasayuri

or similar

Spend 3 night at the Watase Onsen Hotel Sasayuri is accommodation with free flowing hot springs, surrounded by the mountains and set on the river. We have specifically chosen this hotel as their rooms feature both Western beds and Japanese traditional futon mattresses within the same room.

Katsurra-accommodation
Katsurra-accommodation

Yukai Resort Koshinoyu Kii Katsuura

or similar

Perched at the water’s edge, this hotel offers stunning vistas of Katsuura that captivate the senses. Indulge in the soothing warmth of a footbath on the ocean terrace, or revel in the relaxation offered by the sauna, hot spring bath, or public bath. Rooms embrace the elegance of traditional Japanese style.

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Sora Niwa Terrace Hotel, Kyoto

or similar

This 4 star hotel has been chosen for its excellent location, just a stone’s throw away from vibrant shops and delectable restaurants and the old town of Gion. Enjoy views across the river from the delightful rooftop terrace in its offerings. This 4-star establishment also presents an on-site bar and access to a soothing hot spring bath. For your convenience, the proficient reception staff, fluent in English, are always available to assist.

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Japan-Nakasendo-Way
Japan-Nakasendo-Way
Japan-Nakasendo-Way

Ichikawa Inn, Ena

or similar

We fell in love with the owner of this traditional Japanese Inn when we met her. The 6th generation of the family to run 400-year-old Inn, she is quite the character and makes this accommodation a warm and welcoming place to stay. Recently renovated, this lovely accommodation features charming interiors and wonderful organic food from recipes handed-down from generation to generation.

Japan-Nakasendo-Way
Japan-Nakasendo-Way

Hotel Fukinomori

or similar

Hotel Fukinomori beckons as a charming Japanese-style retreat nestled in the Kiso Mountains. The ambiance around Hotel Fukinomori is  encompassed by approximately 1100 blooming peach trees in spring transforming the landscape into a sea of pink blossoms.  The hotel showcases natural hot springs, enclosed within a fragrant cypress bathtub, offering expansive views of the lush forested surroundings and a wonderful restaurant.

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Tsutaya Inn, Kiso Fukushima

or similar

Founded in 1688, the Tsutaya Inn has gracefully extended its warm hospitality to guests for over three centuries. As a testament to its enduring legacy, Tsutaya Inn continues to welcome travelers with the same genuine warmth and courtesy that have characterized its service for more than 325 years. The inn takes immense pride in crafting a dining experience that seamlessly merges the time-honoured flavours of traditional Japanese cuisine with their own original creations.

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Japan-Nakasendo-Way
Japan-Nakasendo-Way-guided-walk-
Japan-Nakasendo-Way-guided-walk

Tsutaya Tokinoyado Retreat

or similar

Overlooking the grand Mt. Ontake, the Tsutaya Tokinoyado stands as a beacon of timeless elegance and authentic hospitality. This enchanting retreat, with roots tracing back through generations, exudes a unique blend of tradition and modern. During your stay you will enjoy meticulously crafted kaiseki cuisine and soothing hot spring baths. They ensure that every guest experiences the rich heritage and authentic culture of Japan in a truly unforgettable way.

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Japan-Nakasendo-Way

Ancient Hotel Karuisawa

or similar

Nestled amidst a serene forest landscape, the Ancient Hotel Karuizawa presents a high-end hot spring haven, harmoniously blending Japanese modern style in decorated rooms, each a sanctuary of its own, reflect the timeless charm of Japan. Featuring delectable cuisine and an indoor communal bathhouse fed by natural spring water.

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Fabulous meals featuring local produce

During your journey through Japan, you will have the pleasure of indulging in the captivating world of traditional Japanese cuisine, lovingly crafted from the finest local ingredients, complete with beautiful presentation. To enhance your dining experience, each dinner is also accompanied by a selection of wines.

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Flexible walking Options

With Private Transfers

Private transfers on this tour allows us to give our client’s flexible walking options each day. Enjoy the entire walk or opt for a shorter walk, or even a rest day- make this walking holiday what you want!

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Japanese and english speaking guides

plus a Life's An Adventure Host

Guides are essential in delivering the ultimate walking experience. You’ll be accompanied by guides who have a passion and enthusiasm for Japan. They will accompany you for the entire trip ensuring you have an enjoyable time and we deliver a walk up to our high standards.

 

 

 

To find out more click on any of the below links:

Why Choose Us

Tour Itinerary

Inclusions
16 Day Japan’s Kumano Kodo & Nakasendo Way walk

Your 16 day walking holiday includes:

  • Pack Free fully supported walk with no heavy packs to carry
  • Private vehicle transfers – no trains!
  • Flexible walking options each day
  • Luggage transport EVERY day to your accommodation

Wow-mazing Experiences

  • Japanese Traditional Tea Ceremony & Kimonos, Kyoto
  • Fushimi Inari Shrine Walk, Kyoto
  • Sake experience, Kiso Fukishama
  • Japanese Woodblock Art Class
  • Kumano River Pilgrim Boat Cruise
  • Mediation with a monk in Koyasan

The Best accommodation in each area:

  • 2 nights at Aloft Hotel Dojima, Osaka – part of the Marriott Group
  • 1 night at Rengejoin Lodge, Koyasan
  • 1 night at Takahara Organic Lodge
  • 3 nights at Watase Onsen Hotel Sasayuri
  • 1 night Yukai Resort Koshinoyu Kii Katsuura
  • 1 night at Sora Niwa Terrace Hotel, Kyoto
  • 1 night at Ichikawa Inn, Ena
  • 1 night at Nagataki Inn
  • 1 night at Hotel Fukinomori
  • 1 night at Tsutaya Inn, Kiso Fukushima
  • 1 night at Tsutaya Tokinoyado Retreat
  • 1 night at Ancient Hotel Karuisawa

Meals

  • 15 x lunches
  • 14 x superb dinners every evening featuring local produce
  • Complimentary wines with evening meals
  • 15 x breakfasts

Local Guides

  • Professional and passionate local guides that speak Japanese and English
Day 1: Arrive in Osaka
16 Day Japan’s Kumano Kodo & Nakasendo Way walk

Guests will need to organise their own flights to Osaka. International flights do arrive into Osaka, or Fly to Tokyo and take the Shinkansen (Bulle train to Osaka) the day prior to the tour. 

Make your own way to your accommodation in Osaka for tonight at the Aloft Hotel Dojima, Osaka, part of the Marriott Group. The remainder of the day is free to explore Osaka at your leisure. The hotel is centrally located within close proximity to the local trains. Tonight is also free to enjoy Osaka, perhaps visit the vibrant Dotonbori area with its array of restaurants or relax in the hotel restaurant. The hotel will be happy to give you suggestions.

Day 2: Walk Koyasan Pilgrim Walk
16 Day Japan’s Kumano Kodo & Nakasendo Way walk

TERRAIN: The trail encompasses a diverse terrain composed of earthy pathways, intricate tree root networks.

WALK GRADE: 11kms. 3 hours walking with breaks. Medium Grade. Good level of fitness required. Total elevation gain: 350m.

FLEXIBLE WALKING: Flexible walking options available today.  For those not wanting to do the whole walk enjoy a 5km section of today’s walk instead.

ITINERARY: Enjoy breakfast at the hotel before meeting your tour guides at 7.30am in the foyer of the hotel. This morning we transfer by vehicle from Osaka to the temple town of Koyasan for a short sightseeing tour of the main points of interest. Koyasan is a revered mountain town renowned for its ancient centuries-old temples and profound spiritual significance. Today’s walk retraces the steps of generations of devoted pilgrims who sought enlightenment and inner peace. This pilgrim trail takes winds its way through towering cedar trees forests, ascending rugged mountains, and passing serene temples, offering a profound connection with nature and spirituality. The hiking trail concludes at the Daimon Gate, a majestic two-story tall crimson gate that serves as the iconic entry point to Koyasan. After our walk we make our way to our Temple Lodging for the evening. This afternoon you have the opportunity to join a unique and spiritually enriching experience. As the sun’s gentle rays filter through the ancient temple’s paper-paneled windows, you’ll have the golden opportunity to partake in a serene meditation session. This sacred practice will be guided by one of the resident monks, whose wisdom and serenity have been cultivated through a lifetime of devotion. The atmosphere within the temple exudes an aura of profound tranquility, enveloping you in a sense of inner peace and contemplation. Afterwards, join the group and be treated to an authentic Japanese-style dinner.

Day 3: Walk from Takijiri-Oji to Takahara - Michi-no-Eki
16 Day Japan’s Kumano Kodo & Nakasendo Way walk

TERRAIN: The trail encompasses a diverse terrain composed of earthy pathways, intricate tree root networks, well-worn stone steps, and charming cobblestone sections.

FLEXIBLE WALKING: Flexible walking options above allow you to tailor-make the walk to your needs

WALK GRADE: Total walking today 12.6kms. Walk 1: Takijiri-Oji to Takahara. Total elevation gain: 357m. 3.9kms. 3 hours – steep ascent. Good level of fitness required. Grade: Medium- Hard. Walk 2 option after lunch: Takahara to Jujo-Oji and back (return walk). 6.6kms. 2.5 hours. Grade Medium -Hard. Walk 3 option after lunch: Takahara to Michi-no-Eki. 8.7kms. 4.5 hours. Includes steep descent. 320 elevation. 400m descent. Grade Hard.

ITINERARY: Before breakfast there is another opportunity to join morning meditation before enjoying a traditional Japanese vegetarian breakfast. Today we head south directly to Takijiri-Oji, travelling by private vehicle instead of train via Tanabe provides a shorter transfer time and gives us more walking or leisure time today. We begin with a brief pause at the Takijiri-Oji Visitor Centre, where an informative introduction to the UNESCO World Heritage sacred sites awaits, along with captivating displays of traditional pilgrim clothing. Situated just across the road, the beginning of our journey unfolds at Takijiri-Oji, an immensely significant location along the renowned Kumano Kodo Pilgrimage route and recognized as one of the five major Oji shrines. The initial ascent to Takahara Village is a challenging one, navigating through a tapestry of both native and planted forests. Roughly 15 minutes into this uphill trek, you’ll encounter a fascinating set of imposing boulders, among which hides the enigmatic Tainai-kuguri cave—a place to test one’s faith by squeezing through the crack at its far end. Amidst this pristine wilderness, the Takahara Kumano-jinja shrine stands as an ancient sentinel, adorned with towering camphor trees that have borne witness to countless pilgrims’ journeys. As you reach the village of Takahara, prepare to be awe-struck by panoramic vistas unveiling the majestic Hatenashi mountain range, here you will find our accommodation at the Takahara Organic Hotel. Upon arrival we enjoy a sit down lunch. You you can spend the rest of the afternoon relaxing soaking up the views here or after our lunch break you have the choice of two optional walks. Enjoy and out and back walk to Jujo–oji or walk all the way through to Michi-no-Eki Gyuba-doji, this walk includes a steep descent and the walk is graded hard. After our walk we transfer back to our accommodation. Tonight enjoy dinner served with wine at the Takahara Organic Hotel featuring fresh organic ingredients.

Day 4: Walk Michi-no-Eki to Tsugizakura – Watarase Onsen
16 Day Japan’s Kumano Kodo & Nakasendo Way walk

TERRAIN: The trail encompasses a diverse terrain composed of earthy pathways, intricate tree root networks, well-worn stone steps, and charming cobblestone sections.

WALK GRADE: Total 5kms. Good level of fitness required. 150m elevation.

FLEXIBLE WALKING: Flexible walking options available today.  For those not wanting to do the whole walk enjoy a shorter walk as far as Chikatsuyu-oji or walk from Chikatsuyu-oji to Tsugizakura-Oji.

ITINERARY: After breakfast, we transfer back to the trail as we walk from Michi-no-Eki. Our path leads us upwards along a brisk yet invigorating ascent towards the Hashiori-Toge pass. Nestled at the zenith of this pass, we encounter a captivating statue that commands attention—a representation of Emperor Kazan, one of the early emperors who embarked on the sacred pilgrimage to Kumano. In this remarkable sculpture, Emperor Kazan is depicted astride both a noble horse and a sturdy cow, symbolizing the profound spiritual journey undertaken in these mountains. Our descent carries us along a meticulously laid cobblestone staircase, which serves as our guide towards a panoramic vista overlooking the idyllic Chikatsuyu Village nestled below. Across the meandering Hiki-gawa River to our left, we catch sight of the Chikatsuyu-oji shrine, a sacred edifice steeped in history and significance. From here the trail climbs to Tsugizakura-Oji , famed for its giant cedar trees and a thirst-quenching spring. Afterwards we transfer to Watase Onsen, the ‘onsen’ is the Japanese name of thermal hot spring baths and this area has many. They are an important part of pilgrimage tradition, being used in purification rituals in preparation for visiting the grand Hongu Taisha Shrine. We spend the next 3 nights at the Hotel Sasayuri located on the Yomura River. We have included 3 nights here so you can relax and unpack and have specifically chosen our accommodation for its rooms with feature traditional beds as well as japanese style beds, so you have the best of both worlds to suit your level of comfort required. The hotel has private hot thermal baths available for our guests to enjoy and relax after a day’s walk. This evening we dress in a Yukata (traditional Japanese kimino dress) and enjoy dinner featuring local cuisine in the hotel restaurant accompanied by wine.

 

Day 5: Walk from Hosshinmon-oji to Hongu Taisha - Yunomine
16 Day Japan’s Kumano Kodo & Nakasendo Way walk

TERRAIN: The trail encompasses a diverse terrain composed of earthy pathways, intricate tree root networks, well-worn stone steps, and charming cobblestone sections.

WALK GRADE: Total 10kms. Good level of fitness required. 100m elevation.

FLEXIBLE WALKING: Flexible walking options available today.  For those not wanting to do the whole walk enjoy a shorter walk to Hongu Taisha

WALK ITINERARY: Following a hearty breakfast, our day’s adventure unfolds as we start our walk in Hosshinmon-oki and make our way to Kumano Hongu Taisha making our way through majestic forests and remote, picturesque villages. Along this immersive odyssey, nature bestows upon us a series of awe-inspiring panoramic vistas, each more breathtaking than the last. It is at the sacred site of Fushiogami that our senses are graced by first glimpses of the monumental presence of the Hongu Taisha’s colossal torii shrine gate. Pressing onward along our path, we find ourselves gradually descending towards the Taisha. Here, the landscape undergoes a remarkable transformation. Contrasting starkly with the towering 33.9-meter-high torii gate, the Taisha complex emerges as a harmonious fusion of simplicity and elegance, blending seamlessly into the embracing arms of the surrounding forest. We continue along the trail to Yunomine Onsen. Afterwards, we returning to our accommodation at Watase Onsen Hotel Sasayuri. Tonight enjoy traditional cuisine served with sake.

Day 6: Walk Ukegawa – Koguchi
16 Day Japan’s Kumano Kodo & Nakasendo Way walk

TERRAIN: The trail encompasses a diverse terrain composed of earthy pathways, intricate tree root networks, well-worn stone steps, and charming cobblestone sections.

WALK GRADE: Total 13kms. Good level of fitness required. 420m elevation.

FLEXIBLE WALKING: Flexible walking options available today.  For those not wanting to do the whole walk enjoy a shorter walk

ITINERARY: After breakfast in the restaurant, we begin our walk from Ukegawa as we journey along a captivating ascent towards Hyakken-gura along the way we see the Mastsuhata-jaya Teahouse remains. Once we reach the top of Hyakken-gura, we are treated to a sweeping panorama that sweeps across the landscape, revealing the true grandeur of our surroundings. Our walk proceeds along a winding forest track, immersing us in the heart of this enchanting woodland. The serenity of the forest embraces us, creating an atmosphere of tranquility and mystique. Eventually, our path gently descends, leading us to the remote and secluded village of Koguchi. Encircled by a formidable embrace of towering mountains and meandering rivers, Koguchi nestles itself in a pristine natural sanctuary, inviting us to explore its hidden charms and secrets. Afterwards we transfer back to our accommodation at the Hotel Sasayuri.

 

Day 7: Walk from Koguchi to Nachi Taisha
16 Day Japan’s Kumano Kodo & Nakasendo Way walk

TERRAIN: The first section of the trail gains 800 meters of elevation in about 5 kilometers. (2.5 hours). Terrain encompasses a diverse terrain composed of earthy pathways, intricate tree root networks, well-worn stone steps, and charming cobblestone sections.

WALK GRADE: Total 14.53kms. Hard Grade. 8 hours walk. Good level of fitness required. Elevation gain 12600m. Descent 930m.

FLEXIBLE WALKING: Flexible walking options available today.  For those not wanting to do this challenging walk, transfer with our driver directly to Nachi Taisha Shrine and waterfall either enjoy free time here or do a 5.5km return walk from Nachi Taisha to the Teahouse remains and back.

ITINERARY: After breakfast we make our way to Koguchi for our walk which takes us from Koguchi to the grand Nachi Taisha shrine. Today is a challenging walk meandering through enchanting forests and along lofty ridges, ancient stone walls of past terraced rice paddies, leading us on a rollercoaster of ascents and descents until we finally conquer the summit with its spectacular sweeping views. It is a challenging walk but the rewards are well worth the effort as you reach the summit we are gifted with sweeping vistas that stretch beyond the rugged mountains, to the vast expanse of the Ocean. As we continue our descent, the trail guides us to the sacred grounds of Nachi Taisha shrine, the serene Seiganto-ji temple, and the awe-inspiring Nachi-no-Otaki waterfalls the tallest in Japan. These majestic falls command our reverence with an uninterrupted plunge of 133 meters, a true marvel of nature’s grandeur. Together they form an exquisite tableau of natural and spiritual beauty, where the cascading waters of Nachi-no-Otaki add a breathtaking touch of grace to the serene grandeur of the shrine’s sacred surroundings. After our walk we transfer to the coast to the fishing village of Kii-Katsuura. Tonight we spend the evening at the beautiful Yukai Resort Koshinoyu set on the waterfront offering beautiful views over the bay. Tonight we enjoy dinner in the superb restaurant. Dinner is buffet style but the choices are endless and the displays of food are a work of art.

Day 8: Traditional Pilgrim Boat cruise - Kumano Hayatama Tasiha Grand Shrine - Osaka
16 Day Japan’s Kumano Kodo & Nakasendo Way walk

On our final day we make our way to the Kumano River to enjoy a traditional Boat cruise. For over 100 years pilgrims made their journey to Kumano in traditional wooden flat-bottom boats. Enjoy spectacular views of the river as we cruise down the picturesque gorge taking in stunning scenery and magnficent waterfalls along the way. Our boat arrives in to Shingu where we disembark to visit the Kumano Hayatama Tasiha Grand Shrine which has occupied the same spot on the Kumano Riverbank since at least the 12th century. It is included as part of the UNESCO World Heritage site “Sacred Sites and Pilgrimage Routes in the Kii Mountain Range. Afterwards we transfer by private vehicle and make our way back to Osaka to our accommodation at the Aloft Hotel Osaka, part of the Marriott Group. Tonight enjoy dinner including wine with the group.

Day 9: Welcome to Kyoto - Fushimi Inari Shrine walk- Tea Ceremony in Kimonos
16 Day Japan’s Kumano Kodo & Nakasendo Way walk

WALK GRADE: 6kms. 3 hours.

This morning After breakfast we make our way to Kyoto. After a brief stop at our hotel, we make our way to one of Kyoto’s most iconic walks and one that can’t be missed. Walking through Fushimi Inari Shrine in Kyoto is a mesmerizing journey. Walk through its thousands of vivid orange torii gates that create a captivating tunnel-like pathway that meanders its way through the forest and up the hill side. This walk is not only visually stunning but deeply spiritual. The climb to the summit offers breathtaking panoramic views of Kyoto. Afterwards, we enjoy lunch in a local restaurant featuring traditional Japanese cuisine. We make our way back to the hotel for tonight the Sora Niwa Terrace Hotel, Kyoto to enjoy some free time before meeting up and heading to our special afternoon experience. We will join the time-honored tradition of a Japanese tea ceremony. Dressed in vibrant and exquisite Japanese kimonos of your choosing, you’ll have the opportunity to select the kimono that resonates most with you and for the women you will have your hair styled with flowers. After your dressed and looking fabulous you will join our expert to learn the fine art of the tea ceremony which encourages mindfulness, fostering an appreciation for simplicity and humility. This will be a wonderful experience that will offer some fantastic photo opportunities. Tonight the group come together to enjoy a fabulous dinner in Kyoto accompanied with wine.

Day 10: Walk Hikone Castle - Kyoto
16 Day Japan’s Kumano Kodo & Nakasendo Way walk

TERRAIN: Stone paths

WALK GRADE: Easy. 3-6kms

FLEXIBLE WALKING: Flexible walking options available today.  For those not wanting to do the whole walk enjoy a 5km section of today’s walk instead.

ITINERARY: This morning we enjoy breakfast at the hotel before we transfer with our private vehicles from Kyoto to Hikone, a captivating castle town nestled along the serene shores of Lake Biwa. Wandering through its historical streets, we uncover tales from Japan’s feudal past. Surprisingly, Hikone remains a hidden gem, its castle holding the prestigious title of a Japanese National Treasure. This charming town has also served as a backdrop for numerous period films, including the renowned “Shogun” starring Richard Chamberlain and Toshiro Mifune. Afterwards, we make our way to the small town of Ena where we take a break at our accommodation for the night, the charming Ichikawa Inn. This is a 400 years old Inn and the owner is the 6th generation. Afterward, we take a leisurely stroll to the nearby Hiroshige Museum of Art, a cultural haven that offers you a unique opportunity to immerse yourself in the world of traditional Japanese woodblock art. Here, you can try your hand at crafting your very own masterpiece, allowing you to connect with the rich artistic heritage of Japan in a hands-on and creative way. We return to our accommodation to enjoy wonderful organic food from recipes handed down from generation to generation.

Day 11: Walk from Okute-juku to Oi-juku - Naegi Castle Ruins
16 Day Japan’s Kumano Kodo & Nakasendo Way walk

TERRAIN: Trails with stone paths and dirt trails

WALK GRADE: 14kms

FLEXIBLE WALKING: Flexible walking options available today.  For those not wanting to do the whole walk enjoy a shorter section of today’s walk instead.

ITINERARY: After breakfast we head out on today’s walk from Okute-juku to Oi-juku is a journey through time and tradition in rural Japan. As you leave the quaint post town of Okute-juku, with its well-preserved Edo-period buildings and cobblestone streets, the path meanders through lush, serene countryside. The route offers glimpses of traditional thatched-roof farmhouses, vibrant rice paddies, and the soothing sounds of babbling streams. Along the way, hikers can pause at tranquil shrines and rest stops, allowing them to appreciate the beauty of the Japanese countryside and the quietude of rural life. After our walk, we are transferred to the Naegi Castle Ruins. Often likened to Machu Picchu in Peru, the Naegi Castle Ruins in Japan hold an air of ancient mystique and historical significance, nestled amidst the lush greenery of the surrounding landscape. Later we make our way to our accommodation to night at the Nagataki Inn which showcases traditional Japanese architecture, with its meticulously crafted wooden interiors, exuding an authentic charm. Tonight we enjoy dinner with warm Japanese hospitality.

Day 12: Walk Magome to Tsumago
16 Day Japan’s Kumano Kodo & Nakasendo Way walk

TERRAIN: Most of the trail through forest and countryside and some sections past houses and fields of local residents. Some stone paths and some asphalt roads.

WALK GRADE: 10kms Elevation Gain: 461m. 4 hours.

FLEXIBLE WALKING: Flexible walking options available today.  For those not wanting to do the whole walk enjoy a 5km section of today’s walk instead.

ITINERARY: After an enjoyable breakfast we head out on our walk to the old post town of Magome. We walk through the quaint cobblestone streets admiring the old wooden watermills and traditional architecture which exudes timeless charm with its well-preserved Edo-era streets and historic atmosphere. Our journey leads us upwards towards the enchanting Magome Pass. Along this path, our surroundings undergo a dramatic transformation, shifting from expansive countryside vistas to the densely wooded depths of the Kiso Valley. Along the way we enjoy a nice rest stop at a traditional-style Japanese house with a irori fire pit and traditionally dressed staff serve tea. Afterwards we continue on and admire the captivating duo of waterfalls before eventually arriving at the quaint village of Tsumago. Tsumago, a time-honored jewel tucked within Japan’s lush Kiso Valley, enchants visitors with its meticulously preserved Edo-era architecture, evoking a sense of stepping into a living museum of bygone days. The village’s tranquil ambiance, framed by scenic mountains and a winding river, invites travelers to savor the serene beauty of rural Japan at its most authentic. Spend time exploring this small town before heading to our accommodation at the charming Hotel Fukinomori, a Japanese-style retreat nestled in the forest in the Kiso Mountains. Relax in the hot springs before enjoying a superb dinner served with wine.

Day 13: Walk Nagiso to Nojiri
16 Day Japan’s Kumano Kodo & Nakasendo Way walk

TERRAIN: Some steep sections, trails with stone paths, wooden footbridges, dirt trails

WALK GRADE: 14.8 kms. Elevation gain: 669m. Moderate to Challenging. 4 hours and 45 mins

FLEXIBLE WALKING: Flexible walking options available today.  For those not wanting to do the whole walk enjoy a shorter 4km walk from Tsumago to Nagiso. The driver will collect you from here and take you on to the town of Kiso Fukisahama for free time in the town. 

ITINERARY: After breakfast, we farewell our accommodation and make our way to Nagiso to start our walk. Our walk today avoids the busy road trail along the river and travels over the Yogawamichi Path from Modono to Nojiri. It is a captivating journey through Japan’s lush and unspoiled countryside which meanders through a tapestry of serene alpine scenery, charming villages, and dense forests, offering us a glimpse into the traditional rural life of the Kiso Valley. As you traverse the path through dense forests adorned with delicate cedar trees flourishing in their unspoiled splendour, you can occasionally catch glimpses of distant mountain peaks. Afterwards, we are met by our driver and enjoy the scenic drive to the town of Kiso Fukushima. Early this evening we have an optional visit to the Sake Brewery to meet the wonderfully friendly staff and sample some of Japan’s best sake. Tonight swe enjoy a traditional Japanese dinner served with wine.

Day 14: Walk Kaida Plateau - Karasawa-no-taki waterfall to Jizo Pass
16 Day Japan’s Kumano Kodo & Nakasendo Way walk

TERRAIN: Trails with stone paths, wooden footbridges, dirt trails

WALK GRADE: 14.8kms. Elevation gain: 669m. Moderate to Challenging. 3.5 hours

FLEXIBLE WALKING: Flexible walking options available today.  For those not wanting to do the whole walk enjoy a shorter 4km walk from Karasawa Waterfall to the Observatory (near Jizo Pass). The driver will collect you from here and take you on drive around the town.

ITINERARY: After breakfast, we farewell our accommodation and make our way to the Kaida Plateau known for its magnificent picturesque mountain scenery. The journey begins amidst the thundering waterfall of Karasawa-no-taki, where the misty veil of water descends into a pristine pool surrounded by lush, emerald foliage. We ascend, the trail through a dense forest, where ancient trees create a cathedral-like canopy overhead, with occasional glimpses of the rugged terrain and distant peaks. With each step, the symphony of rustling leaves and melodious bird songs serenades your senses, making the hike a sensory delight. Reaching Jizo Pass, a sense of accomplishment washes over you as you take in panoramic vistas, rewarding your effort with breathtaking views of the alpine landscape below. We finally make our way down to the lovely Kaida Plateau below. Afterwards, we make our way to the superb Tsutaya Tokinoyado Retreat. Enjoy the open-air Onsen Hot Springs before joining everyone for dinner in the restaurant served with wine.

Day 15: Walk Yabuhara Walk to Narai via Toril Pass
16 Day Japan’s Kumano Kodo & Nakasendo Way walk

TERRAIN: Most of the trail through forest. Some stone paths and dirt trails as well as inclines

WALK GRADE: 9kms. Elevation gain 373m.

FLEXIBLE WALKING: Flexible walking options available today.  For those not wanting to do the whole walk enjoy a shorter section of today’s walk instead.

ITINERARY: This morning enjoy breakfast as you enjoy the views of Mount Ontake. We make our way to our walk for today. Embarking on the picturesque journey from Yabuhara to Narai via Torii Pass is a step back in time through the heart of Japan’s Kiso Valley. The trail unveils itself as a meandering pathway through serene forests, where sunlight filters through a green canopy. Along the way, hikers encounter wooden torii gates nestled amidst the trees, each marking progress towards Torii Pass. As you ascend, the panorama transitions from tranquil woods to sweeping vistas of the Kiso Valley, with its charming villages nestled in the embrace of surrounding mountains. Finally, arriving in Narai, a beautifully preserved post town, you’re welcomed by cobblestone streets, traditional Edo-era buildings, and a sense of having journeyed through time itself. This hike encapsulates the essence of rural Japan, offering a meditative and visually captivating exploration of its natural and cultural treasures. After our walk enjoy free time to meander through the treats of Narai before we head to the beautiful town of Karuisawa. Our accommodation tonight is at the superb Ancient Hotel high-end hot spring haven, set amongst the woodlands. Tonight enjoy dinner in the restaurant served with wine.

Day 16: Shiraito Waterfall. Walk from Karuizawa's Kumanokotai Shrine Karuizawa to Yokokawa - Tokyo
16 Day Japan’s Kumano Kodo & Nakasendo Way walk

TERRAIN: Most of the trail through cypress-lined forest path Some stone paths and dirt trails as well as steep descents.

WALK GRADE: 8kms. Moderate

FLEXIBLE WALKING: Flexible walking options available today.  For those not wanting to do the whole walk enjoy a 5km section of today’s walk instead.

ITINERARY: Following a satisfying breakfast, we embark on the final leg of our walking adventure. We take a short detour from our hotel to explore the stunning Shiraito Waterfall located in the forest and measuring three meters high and 70 meters wide and is one of the most famous and beautiful waterfalls in Japan. Shiraito no Taki literally means “the waterfall of white threads”, which aptly describes its appearance, as multiple streaks of water drape over the surface forming what seems like a white curtain. From here we make our way to the Observation Deck for stunning mountain views before reaching the picturesque Usui Pass. At this idyllic spot, we pause for a break allowing time to explore the Kumanokotail Shrine or indulge in a delectable ice cream treat at the nearby cafe while savoring the panoramic vistas of majestic Mt. Asama. From here we make our way down into the valley until we reach the end of the Usui Pass trail, along the way enjoy the scenic mountain trails and endless stone relics along the way. Our driver will meet us at the end of the nature trail to avoid the busy road into Yokokawa. From here we make our way back to Toyko the end of a superb journey with drop offs at the Hotel Metropolitan Tokyo Marunouchi located conveniently next to public transport for your ongoing journey.

Tour Availability

DEPARTURE DATES:
Each year we will run regularly scheduled tour during the months of April to May and September to October. We will also consider opening up a new departure date if we have enough demand. Email us at walks@lifesanadventure.com.au

(Please note if you are booking 3 months or less before departure – we will need to confirm accommodation with our suppliers is still available and an alternative of similar standard may be offered instead).

PRIVATE GROUPS:
Date of your choice is available for groups of 8 people or more. Subject to availability.
Please contact us for more details on (02) 9975 4553 or email: walks@lifesanadventure.com.au

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INTERNATIONAL FLIGHTS:
Please note your tour price does not include flights to / from the countries visited.  We are offering our clients a service to book their international flights and any other travel plans during their holiday. If you would like our Flights Specialist to organise these requirements, please email us at flights@lifesanadventure.com.au with your requirements.


To find out more click on any of the below links:

Tour Prices

Spot Special Deals - Save up to $500 per couple on 2024 departures

HURRY OFFER ENDS ONCE SOLD OUT - LIMITED SPOTS AVAILABLE!
Spot Special savings of up to $500 per couple or $250 per person are available on specific 2024 departures when you pay in full at time of booking.
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PRIVATE GROUPS
Private groups of 10 - 12 people can choose the date of their choice. Subject to availability.
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INTERNATIONAL FLIGHTS
Please note your tour price does not include flights to / from the countries visited.  We are offering our clients a service to book their international flights and any other travel plans during their holiday. If you would like our Flights Specialist to organise these requirements please email us at flights@lifesanadventure.com.au with your requirements.


2024 departures Prices from
$ 13,749 /p

Spot Special Deals

Prices in Australian Dollars
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March – October 2024
SPOT SPECIAL DEALS

Normal Price…. $13,999 per person twin share
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FIRST TIME PASSENGERS:
Spot Special…… $13,849 per person twin share
SAVE $150 per person
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TRAVELLED WITH
LIFE’S AN ADVENTURE BEFORE:

Spot Special…… $13,749 per person twin share
SAVE $250 per person
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Spot Special prices available on specific 2024 departures when you book and pay in full at time of booking. Normal Price requires $500 deposit only, with final payments due 12 weeks prior. Past passengers $100 extra savings also available on normal price fares. Based on twin share – see details about Single Supplement extras. See full ticket conditions below under Discount information.

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Solo Travellers &
$ Xtras /p

The following extras can be purchased with your tour:

SOLO TRAVELLERS
WILLING TO SHARE
If you are a solo traveller willing to share a room, we will attempt to match you with another solo traveller of the same gender. If we can’t find you a match of the same gender by around 12 weeks prior to the tour, you will be charged the single supplement cost.

SOLO TRAVELLERS
WANTING THEIR OWN ROOM
For those wanting to guarantee their own room, a single supplement cost will be charged at the time of booking.

SINGLE SUPPLEMENT: $2298

*Please note: As Takahara Lodge has a small number of rooms, a single supplement is not available on our night stay here. Twin/triple share rooms are available.
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TRAVEL INSURANCE
Travel Insurance is compulsory for all international bookings.  Travel Insurance covers items such as cancellation of tour due to minimum numbers not met, adverse weather conditions, injury, evacuation, delayed flights, illness, etc. We have partnered with Cover-More to provide travel insurance to our guests. To get a quote or purchase travel insurance directly with them CLICK HERE .

Private Group Prices From
$ 13,749 /p

Departure of your choice

Prices in Australian Dollars
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PRIVATE GROUPS
10 – 12 participants

Departure date of your choice

PRICES
Prices are equal to Past Travellers’ discount rates.

Departure date of your choice is subjective to availability. A minimum group size of 10 required. Prices are equal to Past Travellers’ discounted rates. Additional Past Traveller’s’ discount not available for groups. 

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Make an Enquiry

Discount Information

PAST PASSENGER DISCOUNT: Those who have travelled with Life’s An Adventure previously, receive a past passenger discount of $100. This discount will automatically be deducted from future bookings when you book online using the same email address used for past bookings.

EARLYBIRD CANCELLATIONS: Cancellations are not permitted for Super Earlybird, Earlybird Deals or Spot Specials, however, transfers to another date are permitted 12 weeks or more prior to departure. We advise taking out travel insurance, in case unexpected circumstances prior to the trip, prevent you from joining this tour. Super Earlybird, Early bird or Spot Special discounts cannot be used in conjunction with another offer. To receive these special discounts, full payment must be made at the time of initial booking.

Travel Insurance

We advise taking our Travel Insurance to cover items such as cancellation of tour due to minimum numbers not met, or adverse weather conditions, injury, evacuation, delayed flights, illness, etc. We have organised through NIB Insurance for you to purchase travel insurance directly with them – please click here for details. Please note this insurance is only available for Australian Residents, other clients will need to source their own travel insurance.

Additional Information

  • Prices are per person in Australian dollars and include GST.
  • A deposit of $500 per person is required to secure your booking. (unless taking advantage of Earlybird or Spot Specials in which full payment is required at time of booking).
  • Note: If you are booking within 90 days of your departure date – we will require full payment at the time of booking
  • Prices are based on twin share of rooms. If you are travelling solo you may be required to share with someone of the same gender. If this is not suitable you can request to pay a single supplement, however, limited single rooms are available per trip so are on a request basis.
  • Payments must be made online via our NAB (National Australia Bank) secure payment page via credit card (Visa or Mastercard) or over the phone.
  • We advise taking our Travel Insurance to cover items such as cancellation of tour due to minimum numbers not met, or adverse weather conditions, injury, evacuation, delayed flights, illness, etc.

Booking Terms and Conditions

Before you book please read our Booking Terms and Conditions. Click here

Cancellation Policy and Conditions of Travel

Click here to view Cancellation Policy and Conditions of Travel.

To find out more click on any of the below links:

Contact Us
  • Address: HEAD OFFICE: Shop 7, 1306 Pittwater Road
    Narrabeen NSW 2101.

    WALKING THE THREE CAPES:
    Guests can meet this tour at our Life’s An Adventure Premises:
    29/6955 Arthur Highway, Port Arthur.
  • Phone: (02) 9975 4553
    After Hours: 0457 002 482
  • Email: walks@lifesanadventure.com.au
  • Monday - Friday: 9:00 am - 5:00 pm
    Saturday - Sunday: Closed
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