HOW TO GET START AND FROM END OF WALK
Travelling to the Start of the walk
The first part of this walk starts in Koyasan on Mount Koya. You will need to get yourself to and from the start and end of your walk (i.e. you will need to organise your travel to the start of the walk in Koyasan and then onwards from your last accommodation).
From Koyasan you will travel to Tanabe and the walk ends in Nachi-san or Nachi-Katsuura. To make it easy we have collated some useful information that will assist you in making arrangements for your travel.
By Air: By far, the best option is to fly into Osaka and take the train from there. You can take the train direct from Osaka Kansai Airport to Koyasan. The train station is at the airport, and there are English speaking staff at the ticket office. The train ticket You might consider spending some time in Osaka. Osaka is a very interesting city and has many beautiful temples and of course Osaka Castle. In spring it is particularly beautiful. It also has a sophisticated restaurant culture and markets that seem to go on for kilometres, literally.
By rail: Japan has one of the best train systems in the world, so it’s very easy to catch a train to any destination in the country. An express train is the fastest way to travel to the area. Travelling in Japan on trains is a seamless experience, and it is not necessary to always pre-purchase tickets. There’s plenty of Rail staff that speak English well enough to direct you the right way and to converse with you about how to buy your ticket. We can provide more information if you wish, so please ask one of our destination consultants. However, Hyperdia is easily the best resource when planning your train travel in Japan.
This sounds complicated, but it is not and is all part of the adventure; normally you will need to buy just two tickets for the whole journey. You will need to get from Osaka to Shin-Imamiya Station on the Osaka Loop Line, There are 5 limited express trains per day that will take you directly to Gokurakubashi on the Nankai line (not a JR line). It is also possible to take an express or rapid train (departure every 20-30 minutes) that will take you to Hashimoto in less than two hours, from there you will have to take a local train to reach Gokurakubashi.
From this station, the Koyasan (Mount Koya) cable car will take you to the Koyasan stop for 390 yen for a 5-minute journey. Once off the cable car, you will be directed by a conductor onto the right bus (not part of the ticket) for your accommodation (see day by day summary) for a 10 minutes ride to Koyasan Senjuinbashi and your accommodation.
Hyperdia is a great website resource to figure out when and where your train departs. It might be best to buy your train ticket on the JR train network when you first arrive in Japan so you can relax. However, the trains run often and are so efficient that you shouldn’t have any trouble just arriving 20 minutes beforehand and buying a ticket. JR passes can be a convenient and reasonable way to get around the area. There are two regional JR passes that cover the Kii Peninsula: Kansai WIDE Area Pass, and Ise-Kumano-Wakayama Area Tourist Pass.
Getting to Kii Tanabe and the Kumano Koda from Koyasan
By rail: Much the same as getting there; take the cable car and Nankai Railway from Koyasan to Hashimoto (one hour) and transfer to the JR Wakayama Line onto Wakayama Station (about one hour). From Wakayama, take a limited express train along the JR Kinokuni Line (aka Kisei Line) down the coast to the Kumano region (80 minutes to Shirahama, 2 hours to Tanabe). The one-way fare from Hashimoto to Tanabe is around 4500 yen.
By local buses through the mountains via Ryujin Onsen (no service in winter)
From April through November, there are one or two bus connections per day from Koyasan to Gomadanzan, from where it is possible to continue to Kii-Tanabe Station or Hongu Taisha. The entire one way trip between Koyasan and Kii-Tanabe Station takes around 3.5 hours and costs about 5000 yen. During winter, there is no bus service between Koyasan and Ryujin Onsen. Please ask at the information centre as per the details to what time it leaves (it was 9:45 am the last time we checked, please let us know if this has changed). The bus departs from outside the Koyasan Tourism Association Central near the Takano Post Office and the Koyacho Fire Department (near the Koyasan University).
Travelling from the end of the walk
By rail: The train from Katsuura (Kii- Katsuura train station is a short distance from Nachisan) back to Osaka takes about 4 hours and costs about $50. You can also choose to go to Tokyo or anywhere else for that matter in Japan. However, you most likely will need to travel through a major city to get there.
By Air: See above
The walk is moderate to moderate to challenging with some long days if you wish. Full-day walks average about 17 km with 5 –9. hours walking each day however they can be as long as 24kms (You can shorten most days). The walking is over well-maintained paths, but expect each day to start with some reasonable elevation gains. All good though as the tracks do flatten out.
This is a historic route with stacks of small temples (Oji) and statues to admire along the way. For much of the time you are walking under forest canopy which makes for mild conditions other than the height of summer.
For what to bring please refer to Gear Advice on our FAQ section.
From the end of March, the temperature begins to increase. In summer it’s quite warm and humid but still good for walking, particularly if you enjoy warmer temperatures and taking a dip in a stream.
The walk is offered in winter but bring some warm clothes and good rain gear. The area is just as beautiful if not more and is not busy at all. Soaking in outside onsen in the cool of the night is one of those real authentic Japanese experiences that you can look forward to after a big day on the track.
As walkers, we believe spring and autumn to be the best time as the weather is perfect for walking.
See the weather information about Osaka’s average weather at different times of the year.