KUMANO ANCIENT TRAIL

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This 9 day small group tour explores the Kumano Kodo, a network of pilgrimage routes through the southern Kansai region. Only one of two UNESCO World Heritage Listed Pilgrimage Routes besides the Camino de Santiago, the kodo ‘old ways’, have been in use for over 1,000 years. Part of the mountainous Kii Peninsula stretching south from the cities of Osaka, Nara and Kyoto, the well-maintained trail meanders through deep valleys, mountains and small villages to offer a pleasantly-varied hike. Stay at comfortable family-run inns, soak in natural hot springs and visit quaint shrines. Begin and end in the city of Kyoto, travel south by train along the coast and spend four days hiking the Nakahechi, one of the trails. Midway, enjoy a ride along the Kumano River, before crossing the peninsula on foot to its eastern coast.

Includes:

8 nights accommodation

Breakfast daily, 8x dinners

All transportation with air-conditioned vehicles

Sightseeing and entrance fees

Services of a local English-speaking guide

Excludes:

International flights are additional

Itinerary

Day 1: Kyoto
This evening, meet your group and guide with a welcome dinner at a local restaurant.

Day 2: Kyoto – Kii Peninsula
Today, travel south by train to Takijiri, the beginning of the Nakahechi route, part of the network of ancient pilgrimage trails. The Kii Peninsula has long been considered sacred in Japan, the entrance to the land of Yomi, the mythical after world. It is also the site of the three sacred shrines of Kumano, the Kumano Sanzan. Ease into your adventure with a two hour hike to the small mountain-top village of Takahara.

Day 3: Takahara – Chikatsuyu
Continue eastwards along the Nakahechi pilgrimage trail. Along the path you pass small jizo bodhisattva statues along with sites of old cha-ya (tea houses). Descend to the village of Chikatsuyu where you will stay in a family run guest house.

Day 4: Chikatsuyu – Yunomine Onsen
Take a local bus to Kobiro-oji, one of the many small shrines along the route. Continue on to hike one of the most scenic sections to Hongu Grand Shrine, passing via ridge-top villages along the way. After visiting the shrine, transfer to Yunomine Hot Spring, one of the oldest in Japan.

Day 5: Chikatsuyu – Yunomine Onsen
Transfer by local bus to the Kumano River, where you’ll enjoy a traditional-style boat ride along the river to Hayatama Taisha Shrine. After which, travel back to Yunomine Onsen.

Day 6: Yunomine Onsen – Katsura
Transfer to Koguchi and hike the final trail over the Ogumotorigoe Pass – glimpse at the Pacific Ocean and then descend to Nachi Taisha (Grand Shrine) and Nachi-taki (waterfalls), one of the three ‘Grand Shrines of Kumano’. From here, transfer to the fishing port of Katsuura.

Day 7: Katsuura
Choose between a hike along a coastal part of the Kumano Kodo, or, enjoy a day to relax.

Day 8: Katsuura
Leave the Kii Peninsula this morning, travelling on the coastal rail line to Kyoto, where you’ll enjoy a farewell dinner with your guide.

Day 9: Kyoto
Upon check out of your hotel, tour arrangements end.

TERMS & CONDITIONS

Valid for new bookings only. Valid for travel 01 October 2019 – 30 September 2020 or as otherwise specified and for sales to 30 September 2020. Prices are per person in New Zealand dollars. International airfares are additional. A non-refundable deposit of NZD250 per person is required at the time of reservation. With full payment required no later than 42 days prior to departure. Prices are correct as at 12 September 2019 but may vary due to currency fluctuations and are subject to change without notice due to unforeseen circumstances until paid in full. Packages are subject to availability. Close-outs may apply. Surcharges may apply during festivals, events and public holidays – please enquire about dates. Cancellation and amendment fees apply. Airfares, Vietnam visa, travel insurance, departure taxes, personal expenses and gratuities are at passenger’s own expense. For full terms and conditions please click here.