OVERVIEW

This walk contains what we think are the must-do sections of the 1200-year-old Kumano Kodo trail over 5 days.  It traverses the sacred Kii mountain range through villages and forests to extraordinary ancient shrines and waterfalls. You get to walk in the footsteps of imperial and aristocratic families who walked this track as far back as 794AD.

The Kumano Kodo is one of only two world heritage-listed walks, with unmissable views over the 3600 peaks and the mountaintop sanctuary of Nachisan. At night, soak in an onsen while staying in traditional Japanese accommodation, savouring elaborate traditional Japanese multi-course dinners and breakfasts.

Highlights

  • A trip for those who want a taste of the Kumano Kodo experience but don't have the time to do the whole thing
  • An ancient hike through Buddhist and Shinto history together with an immersive Japanese cultural experience
  • Walk pack free on well-graded trails with wondrous views, and bathe in onsens
  • Marvel at the incredible Grand Shrines at Hongu and Nachi-san
  • The beautiful spectacle of Nachi waterfall, the tallest in Japan
  • Options to vary the lengths of walks on most days should you prefer

WALK OVERVIEW

TYPE OF WALK
SELF GUIDED
TRIP LENGTH
5 DAYS
WALK GRADE
Moderate to Challenging

Grade 4 - Moderate to Challenging

Longer walking distances, up to 20km +. Steep hill sections and rough terrain. Walking experience and active lifestyle necessary.

PRICE FROM
$ 2090

per person twin/double share

SINGLE OCCUPANCY
$ 260

Accommodations charge the same price per room regardless of whether there are one or two people occupying it. To cover the cost of a room when occupied by one person we need to charge the single occupancy fee.

per person

Book now

ITINERARY

  • Day 1
  • Day 2
  • Day 3
  • Day 4
  • Day 5

DAY 1
Osaka/Kyoto via Kii-Tanabe to Hongu

Travel by train to the small coastal village of Kii-Tanabe, the gateway to the Kumano Kodo via the picturesque coastline and onto Hongu from Osaka or Kyoto. Explore the Shrine, the heritage centre and the area that surrounds the shrine including the magnificent Tori shrine gate.

Accommodation: Small family-run Minshuku or Ryokkan in either Kawayu, Wataze or Yunomine Onsens
Meals: Dinner

DAY 2
Hosshinmon-oji or Doyukawa-bashi to Hongu Taisha

You’ll hike the sacred Kii Mountains today, said to be the entrance to the land of Yomi, in mythological terms the Shinto underworld. Walk through the thick green forest, aside cascading streams, passing shrine after shrine, arriving at Hongu Taisha where you can explore the stunning shrine. Before dinner take a dip in either your accommodation’s onsen or one of the many ancient public onsens that dot the area. Dress in your Yukata (best described as a formal Japanese bathrobe that’s provided at each of the accommodations) and enjoy a traditional multi-course Japanese dinner. Today’s hike can be either 16 km or 8km depending on your choice.

Accommodation: Small family-run Minshuku or Ryokkan in either Kawayu, Wataze or Yunomine Onsens
Meals: Breakfast, Lunch and dinner

Walking: Challenging / 16kms or 8kms / 2-6hrs
Elevation: Approx +450 / -700

DAY 3
Ukegawa to Koguchi

The Nakahechi continues on the Kogumotori-goe path, one of the best walks the region has to offer. Starting alongside the Kumano river the walk ventures up the mountain through forest and back down again to the small village of Koguchi. Highlights include views from Hyakken -gura over the 3600 peaks of Kumano.

Accommodation: Small family-run Minshuku in Koguchi
Meals: Breakfast, lunch and dinner
Walking: Easy to moderate / 12.8kms / 4.5-5.5 hrs
Elevation: +670 / -690

DAY 4
Koguchi to Nachi-san

The start of today’s walk is as challenging as you can get, but it’s our favourite on the Nakahechi, so you’re in for a real treat.  There’s a fair bit of elevation, but the views out over the Pacific, and the glimpses of mountains as you traverse through the forest make it worth all the effort. The highlight is the walk into Nachi Taisha over the ancient Ogumotori-goe path travelled by thousands of pilgrims and then walking into the magnificent shrine. The panoramic scene of the superb orange Seiganto-ji Temple against the backdrop of the sacred Nachi waterfall, the biggest in Japan, is certainly one of the most beautiful spectacles in all of Japan.

Accommodation: Small family-run Minshuku or Hotel in Nachisan or Kii-Katsuura
Meals:
Breakfast, lunch and dinner
Walking: Moderate to challenging / 14.2kms / 5.5-7 hrs
Elevation: +1260 / -930

DAY 5
Onward to your next destination

After your last traditional Japanese breakfast farewell the walk by exploring the temple complex further and make your way onwards to a destination of your choice. There are many options to further explore in Wakayama. Stay in a beautiful seaside village like Shirahama along the Shihara coast or visit Koyasan the spiritual capital of Japan. If you want even more of a laid back experience, the Yuasa or Hidaka areas haven’t changed much for 100’s of years and are a good place to head.

Meals: Breakfast

WHAT’S INCLUDED

  • Pack-free walking

  • 25+ years experience

  • Customised

  • Eco Travel

  • Walk our favourite walks on the Kumano Kodo Nakahechi over 4 days via the magnificent shrines of Hongu and the much-celebrated Nachi waterfall and shrine complex
  • Stay 4 nights in an intimate family-run or small traditional Japanese lodgings, some with in-house onsens
  • Walk pack free with luggage transfers from accommodation to accommodation
  • Superb traditional multi-course meals for breakfast and dinner each day on the walk. Plus 3 walkers lunches
  • Itineraries can be flexible to shorten the walking or slow the trip down by adding rest days
  • Enjoy worry-free navigation with Auswalk’s comprehensive track notes and maps
  • 24/7 support from our representatives on the ground

VIDEOS

ACCOMMODATION & DINING

OVERVIEW

Each night you will be staying in a lovely Ryokan or Minshuku.

Ryokans are Japanese guest houses that come in a variety of styles, from traditional wooden structures to more of a modern hybrid hotel.

Ryokans have Japanese style rooms with tatami mats, shoji sliding doors, and futons for sleeping on. Few Ryokan Hotels have rooms with actual beds. The rooms may or may not have ensuites, but prepare for a little luxury when it comes to the heated toilet seats. The bathing area is often the pride of the Ryokan, especially when they’re located in an onsen area. These are usually communal and separated by the 2 genders.

Meals are elaborate affairs from a western point of view served in a traditional dining area. A traditional Kaiseki set meal is what is usually offered. Sometimes there is the option of a buffet at the larger Ryokans.

Minshukus are family-run accommodations that are often found in rural Japan. There is a fine line between a Minshuku and some smaller Ryokans, making it hard to distinguish between the two. Most Minshukus are very small with only a few Japanese style rooms a bit like a Bed and Breakfast Japanese style. Staying at a Minshuku has its advantages as it is a good chance to meet the local people and get right up close to the Japanese culture.  The atmosphere is often like that of a home with traditional meals served much like at a Ryokan but with even more intimacy. Be prepared as baths and toilets are often shared.

FITNESS GUIDE

It’s well worth investing some time and effort preparing for your walking holiday. The graph shows the average daily distance, elevation and terrain difficulty for your hike. The dotted line indicates the average across all our walks, which will give you a feel for how challenging your walk is compared to all – and the recommended type, and amount, of preparation needed.  Of course, you can adapt this according to your existing fitness levels and lifestyle.

The graph and the information below can be used in conjunction with the fitness guide to help you prepare for your walking adventure. Across all walks, average daily distance is 16.8km, average daily elevation is 448m, average terrain difficulty is 5/10.

ngraph

DISTANCE - ~AVERAGE

Distance training should be a consideration in your overall training program, so take every opportunity you can to walk. As you progress, incorporate longer walks into your training plan.

Schedule one or two long walks each week, gradually increasing the distance until you can comfortably cover 16km in a single day. Also include walks on consecutive days to help your body adapt to the demands of walking for multiple days in a row.

Ensure you can comfortably walk the average distance per day displayed in the graph, at least one month before you undertake your hike.

ELEVATION - ABOVE AVERAGE

Elevation training is a major consideration in your overall training program. You must include walks with serious hill climbs.

If you do not have access to hills, it is essential to replicate the elevation level you will be undertaking in any way possible such as on a treadmill or stair climber. Walking up and down stairs at work, at a local oval with a grandstand, or up and down small hills is incredibly useful. Also, prioritising resistance weight training will help you develop overall muscle strength.  Elevation is often where walkers encounter problems, opposed to distance, as it uses an entirely different set of muscles to everyday flat walking.

If high altitude is a factor, incorporate sessions at a higher altitude to acclimatise your body to reduced oxygen levels if you are able to. Ensure you can comfortably walk the average elevation per day displayed in the graph, at least one month before you undertake your hike.

MOUNTAINOUS / UNDULATING TERRAIN

As terrain associated with mountain climbs is often somewhat uneven and rocky, balancing and core exercises are vital.

Try to also include some form of elevation in more than 50% of your walking and prioritise resistance training, whilst incorporating stairs anytime you can. Walking up mountains or hills, up and down stairs at work, or up and down at a local oval with a grandstand is incredibly useful. Elevation is often where walkers encounter problems not distance, as it uses an entirely different set of muscles to everyday flat walking. Concentrate on doing lots of squats and lunges to build your glute muscles.

UNEVEN TERRAIN

Preparation for hiking on uneven terrain demands a blend of physical and mental readiness.

Begin with balance-enhancing exercises, such as one-legged stands and stability ball workouts, laying a groundwork for stability and coordination. Strengthening the lower body is especially important, achieved through the incorporation of squats, lunges, and step-ups. Gradually increase the complexity of the terrain on which you walk, moving from gravel paths to rocky trails. Cultivate mindfulness during your practice, directing focused attention to both your immediate surroundings and precise foot placement.

The importance of suitable footwear cannot be overstated; prioritise options that offer robust support and reliable grip to navigate varying terrains with confidence. Build endurance through consistent hikes, progressively increasing distance and difficulty.

GENERAL INFO

HIGH SEASON CHARGES

In Japan, there are some periods when locals travel en masse as they are on holiday. These times are best avoided as the accommodation costs escalate considerably (more than double). It would make a lot of sense if you could avoid these times. Otherwise, see below for high-season periods. This could lead to the cost of the trip increasing by 30% or more.

NEW YEAR PERIOD – 30TH DECEMBER TO 4TH OF JANUARY 

GOLDEN WEEK – GENERALLY BETWEEN 29TH APRIL TO 5TH MAY

OBON PERIOD – MID-AUGUST ( BETWEEN THE 10TH TO 20TH OF AUGUST)

Please speak to the office to get a quote for the above times

AVAILABILITY

This walk is available all year round, but you may encounter some snow from December to February. Many people prefer to walk in spring to see the cherry blossoms and in autumn because of the change of seasons and the good weather.

HOW TO GET THERE AND AWAY

Travelling to the Start of the walk

This walk starts in the Hongu region (train to Tanabe from Osaka and bus to either Yunomine, Kawayu or Wataze Onsen) and ends in Nachi-san or Nachi-Katsuura. 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 Hongu and then onwards from your last accommodation). 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 Kii-Tanabe (train station).  Take a local train for a few stops and then hop on the Kii Peninsula JR West train. The train station is at the airport, and there are English speaking staff at the ticket office. 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 and bus: 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.

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.

The journey from Osaka to Tanabe takes about 1 – 2 hours and costs about $40. You can take the train direct from Osaka Kansai Airport to Kii-Tanabe (train station).  Take a local train to Hineno station then hop on the Kii Peninsula JR West train. The train station is at the airport, and there are English-speaking staff at the ticket office.

If you stay in Osaka then you’ll need to catch the Subway (Osaka Metro Midosuji) to Tennoji station. The tickets can be purchased locally. From Tennoji it’s a JR train service to Kii-Tanabe bound for Shirahama.

The bus station for you onward journey to the Hongu region is located in front of the Kii-Tanabe train station, the ticket can be bought at the Visitors Information centre next to the train station. The buses depart every 30 minutes or so and take about 1.5 – 2 hours and costs about $29 – $45 depending on the service. All details will be made available in your notes and during your briefing session with a local representative in Tanabe.

Travelling from the end of the walk

By rail: The train from Kii-Katsuura (train station a short distance from Nachisan by bus) 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

WALKING

This 43km walk is moderate to moderate to challenging with some long days if you wish. Full day walks average about 15 km with 5 –7 hours walking each day. The walking is over well-maintained paths but expect each day to start with some reasonable elevation gains.

This historic route has stacks of small temples (Oji) and statues to admire along the way. For much of the time, you are walking under a forest canopy which makes for mild conditions, other than in the height of summer.

For what to bring, please refer to Gear Advice on our FAQ section.

WEATHER

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 an 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.

INSURANCE

We require that you have adequate travel insurance against potential losses, damage or injury, including cancellation costs and loss of luggage.

For all trips that require international travel, you must have purchased travel insurance that also includes medical evacuation coverage.

We also charge a cancellation fee if you cancel your walking holiday after we have confirmed it to cover costs incurred from our suppliers and in the office.  See the FAQ section for more information.

INFORMATION PACK

For nearly 30 years we have taken pride in providing seamlessly organised walking holidays, but we know, even with that in mind, that you’ll have many more questions. You will receive a very detailed information pack and itinerary approximately 6 weeks out from departure outlining all the fine detail and much more.

CONTACT

If you have any questions, feel free to ask one of our destination consultants, or if you have specific track-related questions ask Magnus, Brett or Tash who have all walked the track. You can get in touch with us via our contact form, email us at info@auswalk.com.au, or call us on +61 3 9597 9767.

MAP

DEPARTURE DATES

  • DATES
    AVAILABILITY
    PRICE
    PER PERSON
    Single Occupancy
    DETAILS
  • 1 Jan 2024 - 31 Dec 2024
    AVAILABLE
    from

    $2090

    SINGLE OCCUPANCY
    $260

    FOR HIGH SEASON CHARGES SEE GENERAL INFO

  • 1 Jan 2025 - 31 Dec 2025
    AVAILABLE
    from

    $2175

    SINGLE OCCUPANCY
    $265

    FOR HIGH SEASON CHARGES SEE GENERAL INFO

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Overview

OVERVIEW

This walk contains what we think are the must-do sections of the 1200-year-old Kumano Kodo trail over 5 days.  It traverses the sacred Kii mountain range through villages and forests to extraordinary ancient shrines and waterfalls. You get to walk in the footsteps of imperial and aristocratic families who walked this track as far back as 794AD.

The Kumano Kodo is one of only two world heritage-listed walks, with unmissable views over the 3600 peaks and the mountaintop sanctuary of Nachisan. At night, soak in an onsen while staying in traditional Japanese accommodation, savouring elaborate traditional Japanese multi-course dinners and breakfasts.

Highlights

  • A trip for those who want a taste of the Kumano Kodo experience but don't have the time to do the whole thing
  • An ancient hike through Buddhist and Shinto history together with an immersive Japanese cultural experience
  • Walk pack free on well-graded trails with wondrous views, and bathe in onsens
  • Marvel at the incredible Grand Shrines at Hongu and Nachi-san
  • The beautiful spectacle of Nachi waterfall, the tallest in Japan
  • Options to vary the lengths of walks on most days should you prefer

WALK OVERVIEW

TYPE OF WALK
SELF GUIDED
TRIP LENGTH
5 DAYS
WALK GRADE
Moderate to Challenging

Grade 4 - Moderate to Challenging

Longer walking distances, up to 20km +. Steep hill sections and rough terrain. Walking experience and active lifestyle necessary.

PRICE FROM
$ 2090

per person twin/double share

SINGLE OCCUPANCY
$ 260

Accommodations charge the same price per room regardless of whether there are one or two people occupying it. To cover the cost of the accommodation when occupied by one person we need to charge the single occupancy fee.

per person

Book now
Itinerary

ITINERARY

  • Day 1
  • Day 2
  • Day 3
  • Day 4
  • Day 5

DAY 1
Osaka/Kyoto via Kii-Tanabe to Hongu

Travel by train to the small coastal village of Kii-Tanabe, the gateway to the Kumano Kodo via the picturesque coastline and onto Hongu from Osaka or Kyoto. Explore the Shrine, the heritage centre and the area that surrounds the shrine including the magnificent Tori shrine gate.

Accommodation: Small family-run Minshuku or Ryokkan in either Kawayu, Wataze or Yunomine Onsens
Meals: Dinner

DAY 2
Hosshinmon-oji or Doyukawa-bashi to Hongu Taisha

You’ll hike the sacred Kii Mountains today, said to be the entrance to the land of Yomi, in mythological terms the Shinto underworld. Walk through the thick green forest, aside cascading streams, passing shrine after shrine, arriving at Hongu Taisha where you can explore the stunning shrine. Before dinner take a dip in either your accommodation’s onsen or one of the many ancient public onsens that dot the area. Dress in your Yukata (best described as a formal Japanese bathrobe that’s provided at each of the accommodations) and enjoy a traditional multi-course Japanese dinner. Today’s hike can be either 16 km or 8km depending on your choice.

Accommodation: Small family-run Minshuku or Ryokkan in either Kawayu, Wataze or Yunomine Onsens
Meals: Breakfast, Lunch and dinner

Walking: Challenging / 16kms or 8kms / 2-6hrs
Elevation: Approx +450 / -700

DAY 3
Ukegawa to Koguchi

The Nakahechi continues on the Kogumotori-goe path, one of the best walks the region has to offer. Starting alongside the Kumano river the walk ventures up the mountain through forest and back down again to the small village of Koguchi. Highlights include views from Hyakken -gura over the 3600 peaks of Kumano.

Accommodation: Small family-run Minshuku in Koguchi
Meals: Breakfast, lunch and dinner
Walking: Easy to moderate / 12.8kms / 4.5-5.5 hrs
Elevation: +670 / -690

DAY 4
Koguchi to Nachi-san

The start of today’s walk is as challenging as you can get, but it’s our favourite on the Nakahechi, so you’re in for a real treat.  There’s a fair bit of elevation, but the views out over the Pacific, and the glimpses of mountains as you traverse through the forest make it worth all the effort. The highlight is the walk into Nachi Taisha over the ancient Ogumotori-goe path travelled by thousands of pilgrims and then walking into the magnificent shrine. The panoramic scene of the superb orange Seiganto-ji Temple against the backdrop of the sacred Nachi waterfall, the biggest in Japan, is certainly one of the most beautiful spectacles in all of Japan.

Accommodation: Small family-run Minshuku or Hotel in Nachisan or Kii-Katsuura
Meals:
Breakfast, lunch and dinner
Walking: Moderate to challenging / 14.2kms / 5.5-7 hrs
Elevation: +1260 / -930

DAY 5
Onward to your next destination

After your last traditional Japanese breakfast farewell the walk by exploring the temple complex further and make your way onwards to a destination of your choice. There are many options to further explore in Wakayama. Stay in a beautiful seaside village like Shirahama along the Shihara coast or visit Koyasan the spiritual capital of Japan. If you want even more of a laid back experience, the Yuasa or Hidaka areas haven’t changed much for 100’s of years and are a good place to head.

Meals: Breakfast

What’s Included

WHAT’S INCLUDED

  • Pack-free walking

  • 25+ years experience

  • Customised

  • Eco Travel

  • Walk our favourite walks on the Kumano Kodo Nakahechi over 4 days via the magnificent shrines of Hongu and the much-celebrated Nachi waterfall and shrine complex
  • Stay 4 nights in an intimate family-run or small traditional Japanese lodgings, some with in-house onsens
  • Walk pack free with luggage transfers from accommodation to accommodation
  • Superb traditional multi-course meals for breakfast and dinner each day on the walk. Plus 3 walkers lunches
  • Itineraries can be flexible to shorten the walking or slow the trip down by adding rest days
  • Enjoy worry-free navigation with Auswalk’s comprehensive track notes and maps
  • 24/7 support from our representatives on the ground
Videos

VIDEOS

Accommodation & Dining

ACCOMMODATION & DINING

OVERVIEW

Each night you will be staying in a lovely Ryokan or Minshuku.

Ryokans are Japanese guest houses that come in a variety of styles, from traditional wooden structures to more of a modern hybrid hotel.

Ryokans have Japanese style rooms with tatami mats, shoji sliding doors, and futons for sleeping on. Few Ryokan Hotels have rooms with actual beds. The rooms may or may not have ensuites, but prepare for a little luxury when it comes to the heated toilet seats. The bathing area is often the pride of the Ryokan, especially when they’re located in an onsen area. These are usually communal and separated by the 2 genders.

Meals are elaborate affairs from a western point of view served in a traditional dining area. A traditional Kaiseki set meal is what is usually offered. Sometimes there is the option of a buffet at the larger Ryokans.

Minshukus are family-run accommodations that are often found in rural Japan. There is a fine line between a Minshuku and some smaller Ryokans, making it hard to distinguish between the two. Most Minshukus are very small with only a few Japanese style rooms a bit like a Bed and Breakfast Japanese style. Staying at a Minshuku has its advantages as it is a good chance to meet the local people and get right up close to the Japanese culture.  The atmosphere is often like that of a home with traditional meals served much like at a Ryokan but with even more intimacy. Be prepared as baths and toilets are often shared.

Fitness Guide

FITNESS GUIDE

It’s well worth investing some time and effort preparing for your walking holiday. The graph shows the average daily distance, elevation and terrain difficulty for your hike. The dotted line indicates the average across all our walks, which will give you a feel for how challenging your walk is compared to all – and the recommended type, and amount, of preparation needed.  Of course, you can adapt this according to your existing fitness levels and lifestyle.

The graph and the information below can be used in conjunction with the fitness guide to help you prepare for your walking adventure. Across all walks, average daily distance is 16.8km, average daily elevation is 448m, average terrain difficulty is 5/10.

ngraph

DISTANCE - ~AVERAGE

Distance training should be a consideration in your overall training program, so take every opportunity you can to walk. As you progress, incorporate longer walks into your training plan.

Schedule one or two long walks each week, gradually increasing the distance until you can comfortably cover 16km in a single day. Also include walks on consecutive days to help your body adapt to the demands of walking for multiple days in a row.

Ensure you can comfortably walk the average distance per day displayed in the graph, at least one month before you undertake your hike.

ELEVATION - ABOVE AVERAGE

Elevation training is a major consideration in your overall training program. You must include walks with serious hill climbs.

If you do not have access to hills, it is essential to replicate the elevation level you will be undertaking in any way possible such as on a treadmill or stair climber. Walking up and down stairs at work, at a local oval with a grandstand, or up and down small hills is incredibly useful. Also, prioritising resistance weight training will help you develop overall muscle strength.  Elevation is often where walkers encounter problems, opposed to distance, as it uses an entirely different set of muscles to everyday flat walking.

If high altitude is a factor, incorporate sessions at a higher altitude to acclimatise your body to reduced oxygen levels if you are able to. Ensure you can comfortably walk the average elevation per day displayed in the graph, at least one month before you undertake your hike.

MOUNTAINOUS / UNDULATING TERRAIN

As terrain associated with mountain climbs is often somewhat uneven and rocky, balancing and core exercises are vital.

Try to also include some form of elevation in more than 50% of your walking and prioritise resistance training, whilst incorporating stairs anytime you can. Walking up mountains or hills, up and down stairs at work, or up and down at a local oval with a grandstand is incredibly useful. Elevation is often where walkers encounter problems not distance, as it uses an entirely different set of muscles to everyday flat walking. Concentrate on doing lots of squats and lunges to build your glute muscles.

UNEVEN TERRAIN

Preparation for hiking on uneven terrain demands a blend of physical and mental readiness.

Begin with balance-enhancing exercises, such as one-legged stands and stability ball workouts, laying a groundwork for stability and coordination. Strengthening the lower body is especially important, achieved through the incorporation of squats, lunges, and step-ups. Gradually increase the complexity of the terrain on which you walk, moving from gravel paths to rocky trails. Cultivate mindfulness during your practice, directing focused attention to both your immediate surroundings and precise foot placement.

The importance of suitable footwear cannot be overstated; prioritise options that offer robust support and reliable grip to navigate varying terrains with confidence. Build endurance through consistent hikes, progressively increasing distance and difficulty.

General Info

GENERAL INFO

HIGH SEASON CHARGES

In Japan, there are some periods when locals travel en masse as they are on holiday. These times are best avoided as the accommodation costs escalate considerably (more than double). It would make a lot of sense if you could avoid these times. Otherwise, see below for high-season periods. This could lead to the cost of the trip increasing by 30% or more.

NEW YEAR PERIOD – 30TH DECEMBER TO 4TH OF JANUARY 

GOLDEN WEEK – GENERALLY BETWEEN 29TH APRIL TO 5TH MAY

OBON PERIOD – MID-AUGUST ( BETWEEN THE 10TH TO 20TH OF AUGUST)

Please speak to the office to get a quote for the above times

AVAILABILITY

This walk is available all year round, but you may encounter some snow from December to February. Many people prefer to walk in spring to see the cherry blossoms and in autumn because of the change of seasons and the good weather.

HOW TO GET THERE AND AWAY

Travelling to the Start of the walk

This walk starts in the Hongu region (train to Tanabe from Osaka and bus to either Yunomine, Kawayu or Wataze Onsen) and ends in Nachi-san or Nachi-Katsuura. 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 Hongu and then onwards from your last accommodation). 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 Kii-Tanabe (train station).  Take a local train for a few stops and then hop on the Kii Peninsula JR West train. The train station is at the airport, and there are English speaking staff at the ticket office. 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 and bus: 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.

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.

The journey from Osaka to Tanabe takes about 1 – 2 hours and costs about $40. You can take the train direct from Osaka Kansai Airport to Kii-Tanabe (train station).  Take a local train to Hineno station then hop on the Kii Peninsula JR West train. The train station is at the airport, and there are English-speaking staff at the ticket office.

If you stay in Osaka then you’ll need to catch the Subway (Osaka Metro Midosuji) to Tennoji station. The tickets can be purchased locally. From Tennoji it’s a JR train service to Kii-Tanabe bound for Shirahama.

The bus station for you onward journey to the Hongu region is located in front of the Kii-Tanabe train station, the ticket can be bought at the Visitors Information centre next to the train station. The buses depart every 30 minutes or so and take about 1.5 – 2 hours and costs about $29 – $45 depending on the service. All details will be made available in your notes and during your briefing session with a local representative in Tanabe.

Travelling from the end of the walk

By rail: The train from Kii-Katsuura (train station a short distance from Nachisan by bus) 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

WALKING

This 43km walk is moderate to moderate to challenging with some long days if you wish. Full day walks average about 15 km with 5 –7 hours walking each day. The walking is over well-maintained paths but expect each day to start with some reasonable elevation gains.

This historic route has stacks of small temples (Oji) and statues to admire along the way. For much of the time, you are walking under a forest canopy which makes for mild conditions, other than in the height of summer.

For what to bring, please refer to Gear Advice on our FAQ section.

WEATHER

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 an 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.

INSURANCE

We require that you have adequate travel insurance against potential losses, damage or injury, including cancellation costs and loss of luggage.

For all trips that require international travel, you must have purchased travel insurance that also includes medical evacuation coverage.

We also charge a cancellation fee if you cancel your walking holiday after we have confirmed it to cover costs incurred from our suppliers and in the office.  See the FAQ section for more information.

INFORMATION PACK

For nearly 30 years we have taken pride in providing seamlessly organised walking holidays, but we know, even with that in mind, that you’ll have many more questions. You will receive a very detailed information pack and itinerary approximately 6 weeks out from departure outlining all the fine detail and much more.

CONTACT

If you have any questions, feel free to ask one of our destination consultants, or if you have specific track-related questions ask Magnus, Brett or Tash who have all walked the track. You can get in touch with us via our contact form, email us at info@auswalk.com.au, or call us on +61 3 9597 9767.

Map

MAP

Departure Dates

DEPARTURE DATES

  • DATES
    AVAILABILITY
    PRICE
    PER PERSON
    Single Occupancy
    DETAILS
  • 1 Jan 2024 - 31 Dec 2024
    AVAILABLE
    Details
    from

    $2090

    SINGLE OCCUPANCY
    $260
  • 1 Jan 2025 - 31 Dec 2025
    AVAILABLE
    Details
    from

    $2175

    SINGLE OCCUPANCY
    $265
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