Self-Guided Hiking Tours
For over 1,000 years people from all levels of society, including retired emperors and aristocrats, have made the pilgrimage to Kumano. These pilgrims used a network of routes, now called the Kumano Kodo, which stretches across the mountainous Kii Peninsula.
The walk itself was an integral part of the pilgrimage process as they undertook 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.
In July 2004, the Kumano Kodo pilgrimage routes were registered as UNESCO World Heritage sites. This walk is a sister walk of the Camino Santiago de Compostela pilgrimage in Southern Europe.
Hike across the Kii Peninsula and experience ancient culture and architecture, delicious Japanese food, traditional accommodation, warm onsens and friendly Japanese hospitality! We have great value self-guided packages ranging from 4 days/3 nights to 2 weeks. Contact us for more information.
Frequently asked questions
- Kumano Kodo Nakahechi route, Japan. 6 days and 5 nights $AU1,490 per person
- Kumano Kodo Kohechi route, Japan. 8 days and 7 nights $AU1,950 per person
- Tailored itineraries can be arranged upon request. As you are going self guided, we can tailor the hike to suit your duration, hiking preferences and hiking skill level. Please contact us to discuss options.
- All accommodation
- Most meals
- Luggage transfers while hiking (Note on the Kohechi route, luggage transfer is not from guesthouse to guesthouse, it is from Koyasan to Hongu, then from guesthouse to guesthouse)
- Airfares, train fares and bus fares
- Some lunches and 1 dinner
- Passport, visa (if applicable) and travel insurance
The minimum size is 2 hikers, and the maximum size is 12 hikers.
As you are guiding yourself, you choose the dates that suit you for the trip. The
best times to go are spring or autumn, followed by winter and finally summer.
Summer is hot and rainy.
Sometimes circumstances arise that result in dates needing to be changed. If this is due to Government imposed travel restrictions (e.g lockdowns or border closures), then there is no charge for changing the dates. In other circumstances, there is a $AU200 (total for all guests on the trip) administration charge to change dates.
Please contact us to book.
A deposit of $300 per person will secure your booking. Bank details for the deposit are:
Home Comforts Hiking
Please contact us to book.
A deposit of $AU300 per person will secure your booking. I will send you a PayPal invoice. You do not need a PayPal account to make the payment. You just need a Visa or Mastercard to make the payment.
We will not ask you for a deposit until accommodation is checked to ensure dates can be confirmed.
If accommodation is not available for your preferred dates, and an alternative timeframe is not suitable there is no charge.
Once accommodations have been secured a deposit of $300 per person is required. Once the deposit is paid it takes 2-4 weeks to finalise all bookings and other details.
Upon finalisation of all details and bookings the pilgrim pack can be sent to the hiking customers. Final payment will be required before the Pilgrim Pack is sent to the customer. Latest date for payment is 1 month prior to the start of the hiking tour. This ensures you get your Pilgrim pack at least 3 weeks prior to departure.
If cancellation is by Home Comforts Hiking for any reason, you will receive a full refund of all amounts paid.
If cancellation is due to border closures, natural disasters or cancellation by our agent in Japan (Kumano Travel) you will receive a full refund of any amounts paid less $300 per person administration fee. The administration fee covers booking fees, bank fees, exchange rate losses and time taken to make bookings .
If the cancellation is by you before final payment is made, you will forfeit your deposit. If cancellation is by you, after final payment is made, a part refund may be possible, depending on how much we receive back from the accommodations. Generally cancellations between 8-30 days from departure date lose 40-60% of payments made, and cancellations received 7 days or less from departure receive no refund at all.
Please ensure you take out travel insurance to mitigate the risk of financial loss due to cancellation.
Book your flights once you have paid for the trip in full, and your accommodations are confirmed
- The Nakahechi trail. Overall the hike is rated moderate. There are some steep and hilly sections to navigate, especially on the first hiking day. For inexperienced and less fit hikers, the first day is rated moderate to hard, and is the longest day at 13.5km. The total distance walked over 5 days of hiking is 50km. That said, we can tailor the hiking to suit your skill level. The toughest sections can be avoided by taking a bus.
- The Kohechi trail. This is a much harder and longer hike (100km over 8 days and 7 nights). This hike is only for very experienced hikers, and can be arranged upon request.
As the stays are in small villages during the hike, and you only require one night’s accommodation at each village, the options available are very limited. The pricing is based on 2 people sharing a room. When you book and pay for single or twin accommodation, this is what you can expect:
· Night 1 at Kii Tanabe – If you book single, you will get your own double room. Otherwise you will be sharing a twin room. There is an extra charge of AU$60 for single accommodation at Kii Tanabe.
· Other nights are at a village on the hike – You will stay at Minshukus, which are traditional Japanese, family run guesthouses. The rooms are traditional Japanese with tatami mats and futons. Breakfast and dinner are included each day. The rooms are all twin share, and the number of rooms are limited. If the Guesthouse has enough rooms, a single room may be available for a surcharge. If the guesthouse does not have the availability, then we can try and source accommodation at a nearby location for you. In these circumstances, I will enquire as to availability and quote you the surcharge for the single accommodation.
Note that bedding linen and towels are provided at every accommodation we stay at. Also, the pillows provided are sometimes quite hard, so you may want to bring your own pillow.
Most accommodations have onsite onsens and some also have fantastic public onsens which are worth visiting for the experience.
Most meals are included in the cost of the trip:
- On day 1 at Kii Tanabe, dinner is not included. There are over 70 restaurants in Kii Tanabe. Dinner is included all other nights, and the meals are of a very high Japanese standard. The meals are a highlight of the trip.
- Breakfast is included each morning. Usually it is Japanese, but sometimes a western option is served.
- Lunch – where it is possible to purchase lunch, you will purchase your own lunch. Where this is not possible, a Japanese lunch box will be provided and is included in the cost of the trip.
- Snacks – please bring or purchase your own snacks and ensure you have sufficient water each day.
Luggage transfer is included for all Nakahechi Hikes. Each guest is allowed one bag up to 20kg. Bags are left at reception each morning by about 8.30am, then picked up and taken to our next accommodation. You only need to carry a day pack while hiking. If you prefer not to have luggage transfer, this can be arranged.
On the Kohechi section luggage transfer is from Koyasan to Hongu, so you need to carry all items need for that section. After Hongu luggage transfer is from guesthouse to guesthouse
NOTE: Only 1 bag up to 20kg per person is allowed, for luggage transfer!
- Small backpack with waterproof cover
- One bag for luggage transfer
- Shirts, pants, shorts, underwear, socks, hat, masks
- Hiking shoes (slippers are available at accommodation)
- Rainproof jacket
- Hiking Pole(s)
- Your own pillow if you don’t like hard pillows
- Money and/or Debit/Credit Card
- Passport, Visa (if applicable), Travel Insurance docs
- Phone and/or tablet, camera and chargers
- Toiletries and medication
Your self-guided pilgrim pack contains the following:
- Detailed self-guided trip notes
- Safety information
- Accommodation and luggage transfer vouchers
- Bus timetables
- What to bring list, inclusions and exclusions
- Payment receipt
- Kumano Kodo official guide book (additional copies can be purchased from Kumano Travel and other outlets along the trail)
- Kumano Kodo Nakahechi / Kohechi Pilgrimage route maps
- Kumano Tourist Map
- Dual Pilgrim stamp book (additional copies can be purchased from Kumano Travel and other outlets along the trail)
- Kumano Travel brochure
- Kishuu Katsuura Maguro Dining Map
- Note that train and bus transfer costs are not included.
Please contact Marcus Ludriks. Contact details are:
M: 0490 454220
WhatsApp: +61 490 454220